Audio Video News

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Jon Iverson  |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A> and Britain's <A HREF="http://www.sky.com">Sky Broadcasting Group</A> (BSkyB) announced an alliance that the companies claim marks the introduction of personal television to the United Kingdom. According to TiVo, "state-of-the-art personal video recorders similar in size and shape to VCRs and digital set-top boxes will deliver the personal television service, which will be co-branded by TiVo and Sky." The companies say that products and services are expected to be available in retail outlets this fall, with pricing and distribution to be announced shortly.

Jon Iverson  |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

Home networking is getting hot, and the last few months have seen numerous announcements of new technologies and proprietary standards. To help sort out the confusion, last week the Technology and Standards Department of the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) said it has reorganized its standards-setting committees to "reflect the changing home-networking industry." According to the CEA, the R-7 Home Networking Committee, created in May 1999, will now oversee and coordinate the work of the integrated home systems and home automation standards committees, which previously worked within specific product categories.

Barry Willis  |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

As of March 1, <A HREF="http://www.sony.com/sel/">Sony Electronics</A> is offering a nice inducement to home-theater fans: a 30% reduction in the suggested retail prices of 53" and 61" high-definition rear-projection television sets. 1999 list prices for 53" and 61" HDTV RPTV models were $4499 and $5499, respectively. The equivalent models for the year 2000, the KP-53HS10 and KP-61HS10, will be priced at $3199 and $3699&mdash;a discount of approximately 30% from the previous year. Both sets are capable of displaying pictures at 1080i, the highest quality of all varieties of digital video. The price reductions are encouraging news for broadcasters as well as for consumers, as more than 120 stations nationwide now offer HD programming.

 |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA) reported that in January 2000, for the fourth consecutive month, factory-to-dealer (not through to consumers) sales of digital television (DTV) products surpassed the 20,000-unit mark. The CEA's figures reveal that January's total of 21,008 units brings the total sales since the introduction of DTV in August 1998 to 155,410 units.

Barry Willis  |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

Net loss: Video vendor Hollywood Entertainment Corporation would be doing well if it weren't for its publicly traded online operation <A HREF="http://www.reel.com/">Reel.com</A>, which just can't make a profit no matter how hard it tries. The nation's second-largest video rental chain, <A HREF="http://www.hollywoodvideo.com/">Hollywood Video</A> enjoyed strong growth last year but was driven into the red by losses incurred by the Internet business, which reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $21.7 million.

Barry Willis  |  Mar 05, 2000  |  0 comments

Back in the good old days of video rentals, you just popped the tape in the player and started watching the movie. Then film studios figured out that they could add "trailers"&mdash;short ads for other movies&mdash;to the beginning of tapes in the hope of getting a little more exposure for their products&mdash;just like in the theater.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

Television viewers in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida now have a real choice between their local cable system and direct broadcast satellite services. On February 21, <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A> announced that its <A HREF="http://www.dishnetwork.com/">DISH Network</A> had begun offering local WFTS-ABC (Channel 28), WTSP-CBS (Ch. 10), WFLA-NBC (Ch. 8), and WTVT-Fox (Ch. 13) by satellite television to 10 counties in the region.

 |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

In a unique collaboration, <A HREF="http://www.hp.com">Hewlett-Packard</A>, <A HREF="www.news.philips.com">Philips</A>, <A HREF="http://www.ricoh.com">Ricoh</A>, <A HREF="http://www.sony.co.jp">Sony</A>, and <A HREF="http://www.yamaha.com">Yamaha</A> took part in a demonstration at last week's CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, intended to publicly reinforce their commitment to 4.7 Gigabyte DVD+RW technology. Thomson Multimedia also revealed its support of DVD+RW technology at CeBIT.

Jon Iverson  |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

Most of us have had to return videos to the rental store, sometimes making a mad dash late at night while still in our loungewear or worse. But if you thought nobody was noticing, think again.

Jon Iverson  |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.sageinc.com/">Sage</A> (a supplier of digital display processors) and <A HREF="http://www.faroudja.com">Faroudja</A> (a developer of video processing technologies) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Faroudja to merge into a wholly owned subsidiary of Sage in a stock-for-stock transaction. The stockholders of Faroudja will receive approximately 3.9 million shares of Sage common stock, valued at approximately $155 million. The transaction, which will be accounted for as a purchase by Sage, has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the quarter ending June 30, 2000, subject to approval by each company's shareholders.

 |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

More than two-thirds of American television viewers get their programming by cable. They may soon be able to receive digital television signals over their existing systems, if all goes according to an agreement signed February 23 by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> and the <A HREF="http://ncta.org/">National Cable Television Association</A>.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 27, 2000  |  0 comments

Versatile, low-cost set-top boxes are coming soon, thanks to a joint venture announced February 23 by digital television software developer <A HREF="http://www.opentv.com/">OpenTV</A> and direct-broadcast satellite service <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar Communications Corporation</A>. The device will incorporate both interactive features and a hard-disk recorder, and may be rolled out by EchoStar's DISH Network by the end of the year.

Jon Iverson  |  Feb 20, 2000  |  0 comments

Late last week, <A HREF="http://www.intel.com">Intel</A> and <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony</A> announced that they intend to collaborate in an effort to give consumers the ability to share electronic content between PCs and various consumer electronic devices, including home entertainment systems (digital televisions, set-top boxes), digital cameras, digital camcorders, and portable music players. Intel says that the effort is part of the companies' vision of the "e-Home" of the future, in which the Internet will be available throughout a range of devices.

 |  Feb 20, 2000  |  0 comments

According to new statistics released by the <A HREF="http://www.ce.org">Consumer Electronics Association</A> (CEA), manufacturer-to-dealer sales of video products in January grew by 8% over the first month of 1999 and totaled nearly 3.5 million units. Sales of DVD players, projection televisions, and camcorders were the major factors contributing to this growth, according to the trade organization.

Barry Willis  |  Feb 20, 2000  |  0 comments

Welcome to <I>Mating Dance of the Giants</I>, brought to you by <A HREF="http://www.aol.com/">America Online</A> and <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Video</A>. The world's largest Internet service provider (soon to be AOL Time Warner) and the world's largest video sales-and-rental chain are expanding the symbiotic relationship begun a few months ago. The two behemoths announced February 17 that their multi-year alliance will grow in several directions, all of them intended to cement their already unshakable grip on the marketplace.

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