In news that is sure to strike fear in the hearts of videophiles everywhere, Macrovision announced last week the implementation of its copy protection technology for higher resolution DVD playback on players with 525p progressive scan outputs. The company says that 525p copy protection has now been licensed to Genesis Microchip, JVC, Matsushita, Oak Technology, and Pioneer.
Information and entertainment technologists have long predicted that reels of films will eventually disappear, replaced by digital datastreams delivered straight to theaters. On June 6, the first such event took place---from Los Angeles to a theater in the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.
A "new breed of Digital High-Definition Television Receivers" is about to be unleashed by Thomson Electronics, manufacturer and marketer of RCA and Proscan. According to the company, four new HDTV models are now in pilot production in Thomson's facilities, including the "world's largest direct-view widescreen HDTV" intended to dramatically reduce consumer prices for HDTV products.
Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Johnny Murphy, Andrew Strong, Colm Meany. Directed by Alan Parker. Aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (pan&scan). Dolby Digital 2.0. 119 minutes. 1991. 20th Century Fox 112892. R. $28.99.
Like the 1959 Cadillac convertible, Cinerama was one of the peak expressions of 1950s excess. With three synchronized projectors casting overlapping images on a curved screen 96 feet wide, the format was the era's ultimate form of cinematic entertainment and the precursor to today's IMAX.
According to the results of the "PVR and Enhanced TV Potential" study, released last week by eBrain Market Research in cooperation with the Consumer Electronics Association, despite the continuing popularity of videocassette recorders in the US, the number of Americans who own hard-disk–based personal video recording devices (PVRs) is likely to increase significantly in the next 12 months.
Last week, Lucasfilm THX announced a new DVD software feature that they claim will allow the performance of a home-theater system to be optimized for individual DVD releases. The process, called THX Optimode, consists of a series of tests "that make it easy for consumers to fine-tune the audio and video performance of their home components."
Home-theater equipment continues to be one of the fastest-selling segments of the consumer electronics market, according to the most recent figures from the Consumer Electronics Association. How good is it? Try $2 billion in factory-to-dealer sales of video equipment in the first quarter of this year. That's a 20% increase over the first three months of 1999, according to the May 31 report. The figure is even more astounding in light of 1999's growth, in which home theater revenues increased by 11% over 1998's totals.
Rumors of network television's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Despite a declining viewership—several studies have shown that a smaller proportion of the population than ever is watching network TV—the networks are pulling in a record amount of money from advertising. Total "upfront" ad sales—those sold in the spring, before Memorial Day, for the following season—for all six broadcast networks will reach $8 billion, according to several news reports the last week in May. The networks have already sold about 80% of available prime-time advertising slots.