Audio Video News

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Dan Yakir  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

T<I>oshiro Mifune, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Tatsuya Mihashi, Takashi Shimura. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (letterbox). Mono. 143 minutes. 1963. The Criterion Collection 24. NR. $39.95.</I>

Jon Iverson  |  May 21, 2000  |  0 comments

It would appear inevitable that digital video recorders are going mainstream when one of the largest manufacturers of conventional taped-based VCRs leaps into the market with a competitive product. This is exactly what was announced last week, when <A HREF="http://www.sony.com">Sony Corp.</A> revealed that it has released the SVR-2000 Digital Network Recorder, based on the <A HREF="http://www.tivo.com">TiVo</A> Personal TV Service.

 |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

Power struggles among media companies can erode public and regulatory trust in the cable industry, <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> chairman William Kennard warned attendees at the <A HREF="http://www.ncta.org/">National Cable Television Association</A>'s annual convention in New Orleans last week. Kennard referred specifically to the recent squabble between Disney Corporation and Time Warner, which led to a blackout of Disney's ABC network in key markets earlier this month. Such actions call into question the ability of the industry to police itself, Kennard told cable executives.

Barry Willis  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

The business world has a strange way of making putative adversaries into the best of friends. <A HREF="http://www.blockbuster.com/">Blockbuster Inc.</A>, the nation's largest video rental chain, has struck a sweetheart deal with <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>, the nation's largest direct-broadcast satellite service. The two businesses have long been viewed as competitors for the same customers.

 |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

The sky will become a bit more crowded next year as <A HREF="http://www.bellsouth.com/">BellSouth Corporation</A> debuts a new direct-broadcast satellite service. The Atlanta-based telecommunications company announced May 8 that it will launch the new service in 2001 in the hope of expanding its communications and programming services.

Barry Willis  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

It's been decades since Hollywood produced a topnotch Roman epic. A staple of the film industry through the mid-1960s, sword'n'sandal extravaganzas fell out of favor with both film studios and audiences with the cultural and political upheavals of the late 1960s.

Paula Nechak  |  May 14, 2000  |  0 comments

T<I>oni Collette, Bill Hunter, Rachel Griffiths, Matt Day. Directed by P.J. Hogan. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (widescreen). Dolby Digital Surround. 105 minutes. 1994. Miramax Home Entertainment 16542. R. $29.95.</I>

 |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

The month of March was the best ever for factory-to-dealer sales of digital television sets and displays, reported the <A HREF="http://www.cea.org/">Consumer Electronics Association</A> on April 27. Unit sales totaled 24,332&mdash;a 7% increase over February sales, and 343% over March 1999. Since the introduction of DTV in August 1998, a total of 202,586 DTV units has been sold to dealers, according to the CEA's latest figures.

 |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

Bigger is better, according to <A HREF="http://www.hitachi.com/">Hitachi</A>. The Japanese manufacturing giant has announced a 65"-diagonal rear-projection HDTV, its display illuminated by a <A HREF="http://www.ti.com/">Texas Instruments</A> digital light processing (DLP) unit with 8" optics. DLP technology creates a high-definition image using almost one million micromirrors on a chip to switch red, green, and blue light to form an image. When incorporated into a television with an HDTV receiver, display of both HDTV and high-resolution computer graphics is possible without any of the normal compromises found in traditional display technology.

Barry Willis  |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

Video-on-demand (VOD) is coming soon to more than 1.2 million homes in Los Angeles, courtesy of <A HREF="http://www.chartercom.com/">Charter Communications, Inc.</A>, the fourth-largest cable operator in the US. Charter has completed an agreement with Redwood City, CA&ndash;based <A HREF="http://www.divatv.com/">DIVA Systems Corporation</A> to provide VOD software and hardware for customers in Long Beach, Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Glendale, and Burbank.

Barry Willis  |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

The <A HREF="http://www.fcc.gov/">Federal Communications Commission</A> has approved the merger of media conglomerate <A HREF="http://www.viacom.com/">Viacom Inc.</A> and <A HREF="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS Corporation</A>, one of the "Big Three" television networks. Viacom will acquire CBS in a stock swap; the resulting entity will have one year to unload enough stations to bring it into compliance with regulations limiting its share of the television viewing audience to 35% of the total market. Stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas&ndash;Ft. Worth, Baltimore, and Sacramento may be sold to comply with the restriction. The approval was granted Tuesday, May 2.

Michael Metzger  |  May 07, 2000  |  0 comments

R<I>obert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Allan Hubbard, Wilford Brimley, Ellen Barkin. Directed by Bruce Beresford. Aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (widescreen), 16:9 (anamorphic). Dolby 2.0. 92 minutes. 1983. Republic Pictures/Artisan 11191. PG. $24.95.</I>

Barry Willis  |  Apr 30, 2000  |  0 comments

When the retransmission of local TV signals by direct satellite broadcasters became legal, analysts and industry insiders expected an increase in business. They did not expect the surge in new subscribers that came in the wake of the decision. <A HREF="http://www.echostar.com/">EchoStar</A>, the perpetual runner-up to dominant DBSer <A HREF="http://www.directv.com/">DirecTV</A>, added 455,000 new subscribers to its DISH network in the first quarter of this year, bringing its total customer base to more than 4 million as of the end of April.

Jon Iverson  |  Apr 30, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.panasonic.co.jp/">Matsushita Electric Industrial</A> and <A HREF="http://www.quantum.com">Quantum Corporation</A>'s Hard Disk Drive Group announced that they have developed what they describe as the world's first audio/video hard-drive subsystem that records and plays back digital content with random-access digital video recording (DVR) functionality over IEEE1394 (aka FireWire).

 |  Apr 30, 2000  |  0 comments

Last week, <A HREF="http://www.tvguideinc.com"><I>TV Guide</I></A> announced that it has partnered with <A HREF="http://www.seachangeinternational.com">SeaChange International</A> to bring to market a version of the TV Guide Interactive electronic program guide with a video-on-demand (VOD) service. The companies say that the collaboration will combine the TV Guide Interactive application with SeaChange's ITV system, and that this is the first major deal for TV Guide Interactive in the VOD area and will be the market's first fully integrated interactive program guide/VOD offering.

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