Laserdisc. Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts, Patrick Stewart. Directed by Richard Donner. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1. Dolby Digital. 3 sides. 135 minutes. 1997. CLV/CAV. Warner Bros./Image Entertainment Widescreen Edition WB 115091. $39.95.
According to statistics released January 20 by the Arlington, Virginia-based Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA), sales to dealers of projection televisions, TV/VCR combinations, VCRs, and camcorders each climbed in 1997 to record-setting levels. The new Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) players also showed well, selling nearly 350,000 units since the product's inception in April.
January 27, Lumivision Corporation, released what it claims is the first film on DVD that uses all eight available audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Lumivision was also one of the first companies to release DVDs for sale in the Western Hemisphere.
In a move intended to broaden its home theater product line, Projectavision, Inc. of New York announced January 21 that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase substantially all of the assets of Vidikron Industries, S.p.A., including its US subsidiary, Vidikron of America. Vidikron, a privately held company founded 18 years ago and headquartered in Milan, Italy, is a manufacturer and marketer of high-end projection systems for the home-theater consumer and commercial markets, and serves customers in over 30 countries worldwide.
Just in case you were planning to use your computer for watching and possibly copying DVD movies in the near future, Compaq Computer Corporation, Gateway 2000 Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, Micron Electronics, Inc., and Packard Bell/NEC are now licensed to incorporate Macrovision's DVD analog copy-protection technology in their personal-computer products.
In an effort to dominate the potentially huge set-top box market, both Sun Microsystems and Microsoft announced deals with cable provider TCI at the recent CES in Las Vegas. Coming within one day of each other, the two announcements illuminate the struggle about to take place between rivals Sun and Microsoft to place their operating systems in consumers' homes.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Laserdisc. Mike Meyers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Mimi Rogers. Directed by Jay Roach. Aspect ratio: 2:1. Dolby Digital. Two sides. 90 minutes. 1997. New Line Home Video/Image Entertainment 3965LI. PG -13. $39.95.
Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Lesley-Anne Down. Directed by Michael Crichton. Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 (letterbox). Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, monaural). 111 minutes. 1979. MGM Home Entertainment 907149. PG. $24.98.
The holiday season was a big one for the Digital Versatile Disc. VideoScan, which tracks the sales of more than 16,000 video retail businesses, reports that almost three million DVDs were sold in the five weeks leading up to the New Year, accompanied by equally brisk sales of players. The new format entered its second official year as the fastest-growing new medium in history.
Panasonic AVC American Laboratories, Inc. (PAVCAL) announced December 18th that it has completed development of the world's first single-chip device that will be able to decode digital television video signals and format them for display when America's new, all-digital broadcasting service begins in the fall of 1998.
DVD Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Aspect ratio 4:3. Dolby Digital. Two sides: Side A, Hollywood Version, 101 minutes; Side B, British Version, 103 minutes. 1951. Warner Home Video 15324. Hollywood version: not rated; British version: PG. $24.98.