What's an American industrial icon worth? Try 200 million bucks. That's what LG Electronics paid when it acquired Zenith in a bankruptcy settlement completed November 8 in a Federal court in Glenview, Illinois. As Zenith's largest creditor, LG electronics agreed to accept 100% of Zenith's assets in exchange for $200 million in claims against the former consumer-electronics giant.
Flat-panel displays are moving up to the next level of performance, thanks to International Business Machines. On Wednesday, November 10, the company announced what observers called an "eye-popping" LCD screen with an astounding 123 pixels (picture elements) per square inch—more than twice the typical 55-per-square-inch pixel count of high-definition television screens. The almost-21-inch-diagonal screen, dubbed the QX20, is capable of resolutions as high as 2048x1536.
Children's programming seems to fill a huge number of time slots on television these days. What once was a minor business in the broadcasting industry has become a giant in its own right. The industry is throwing increasing amounts of capital at developers of children's programming in the hope of creating brand loyalty and thereby pulling in lucrative advertising dollars.
Here's proof that the early adopter plays a dangerous game: Less than a year after the official release of their hard-disk-based video recording system, RePlay Networks announced last week that it is releasing a major upgrade to its system. RePlay says the new device, named the RePlayTV 2020, is a personal video recorder with twice as much storage capacity as the company's current best-selling model, and—here's the part that tweaks early adopters—at no increase in price: 20 hours of storage for $699.
In recent months, Fujitsu has steadily lowered the prices for its groundbreaking 42" plasma display (see previous story), while steadily improving the basic design's performance. Last week, the company announced that the newest models will be jumping back up in price with the latest additions to their Plasmavision product line, the PDS4221 and PDS4222. These two new models increase the number of current Plasmavision offerings to seven.
Hackers have succeeded in defeating the Digital Versatile Disc's copy-protection encryption, according to several reports that popped up in late October and early November. Source code for decrypting entire movies is now circulating on the Internet, and an underground trade in illicit copies has arisen.
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts. Directed by Ivan Reitman. Aspect ratio: 2:35:1 (anamorphic). Dolby Digital 5.1. 107 minutes. 1984. Columbia/TriStar COL04139DVD. PG. $29.98
The world's largest Internet service provider is teaming up with the world's largest video rental chain to deliver movies and as-yet-unspecified content over broadband connections. America Online is pumping $30 million into a three-year joint venture with Blockbuster Video, with the intent of leveraging the two companies' huge customer bases for mutual benefit. AOL members will have access to Blockbuster's enormous library of discs and tapes, and Blockbuster will promote AOL by giving away CD-ROMs of AOL version 5.0 at its more than 4000 outlets in the US.
Put DreamWorks SKG and Imagine Entertainment together and what do you have? POP.com, a joint effort by the two of the film industry's most innovative and highly regarded companies. On Monday, October 25, film director Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan), actor/producer/director Ron Howard (Apollo 13), and their associates announced a new joint venture to bring professionally produced short videos to the Internet. The videos will incorporate both live action and animation, with an emphasis on comedy.