In the film industry as elsewhere, digital technology marches on. Eventually, movies will be downloaded to theaters by satellite, as they are now to many private homes. Film reels delivered by truck will become as anachronistic as excursions through the countryside on steam locomotives. Now, one of Hollywood's oldest and most important film studios has seen the light and formed a division to steer it in this direction.
Industry leaders met in Virginia last week to discuss convergence trends in the consumer-electronics, telecommunications, and computing industries, and how these trends are affecting manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. The Convergence Forum, hosted by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association's Communication and Information Technology (CIT) and Integrated Home Systems (IHS) divisions, took place at the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) Spring Conference.
Money changes everything. Circuit City, parent company of Divx, has enjoyed a stock run-up recently due to rumors of a possible equity partnership deal with video-rental chain Blockbuster. In the deal, Viacom-owned Blockbuster would buy into Divx, considerably strengthening the pay-per-view startup's financial footing and giving it instant credibility in the video-rental market. Blockbuster has more than 600 stores nationwide.
Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt LeBlanc, Mimi Rogers, Heather Graham, Lacey Chabert. Directed by Stephen Hopkins. Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic, 16:9 enhanced). Dolby Digital 5.1. 139 minutes. 1998. New Line Cinema N4667. Rated PG-13. $24.99.
The staff of SGHT would like to thank reader David Henderson, who provided this spreadsheet file in response to an article about room acoustics written by Russ Herschelmann in the March/April 1999 issue. Below are Mr. Henderson's notes for using the file.
The legal wrangling over television broadcasting got much more complicated last week with the introduction of a bill to the US House of Representatives that would allow direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services to beam local TV stations' signals into the stations' own territories. The practice is currently banned by Federal Communications Commission regulations, despite the fact that cable companies have carried local signals since the beginning of the cable industry.
Last week, Platinum Entertainment and Pioneer Entertainment announced plans to jointly develop and create Animetronic, a series of multiple-format music and video releases that combine Japanese animation with original, new electronic-music compositions. Terms of the partnership were finalized at the Winter Music Conference in Miami by Steve Devick, Platinum president and CEO, and Yosuke "James" Kobayashi, president of Pioneer Entertainment.
Keir Dullea, William Sylvester, Gary Lockwood, Daniel Richter, Daniel Rain as the voice of HAL. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Aspect ratio: N/A widescreen. 5.1-channel Dolby Digital. Two layers. 139 minutes. 1968. MGM Home Entertainment 906309. Not rated. $29.95.
Eventually, a few multinational conglomerates will own 90% of the world's businesses. Case in point: Cable companies Comcast and MediaOne, already among the largest in their field, made a move in that direction last week when they announced a merger valued at between $53 and $60 billion. Comcast will acquire MediaOne, described by the New York Times as "the sole surviving independent cable company." The resulting company will be the nation's third largest.
In an effort to regain full control of its video library worldwide, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with Warner Bros. for an early termination of its existing video-distribution agreement with Warner Home Video. The original agreement with WHV was to end in May 2003.