January 7, 11am Using a new 61" ProScan HDTV, Thomson Consumer Electronics demonstrated a high-definition DVD that uses Divx technology to decode the fully encrypted digital signal coming from a special ProScan Divx-compatible DVD player. According to Thomson's Larry Pesce, "The beauty of our high-definition process is that the HD signal is never sent unencrypted to the display device."
1999 started off in fine detail for the thousands of early adopters who have picked up a high-definition television. January 1, the 110th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, was broadcast to digital-television viewers for the first time in full 1920x1080 HDTV. Tribune Broadcasting's KTLA-DT transmitted this year's parade in hi-def using a National Mobile Television (NMT) remote broadcast truck, known as the HD-2.
We knew it had to happen---it was merely a matter of who and when. Sony or Pioneer seemed likely candidates to first blaze the multi-DVD trail, maybe with a five-disc changer to ease us into the concept, but high-end video-projection company Runco has gotten a jump on both of those giants.
It's extremely rare for low-budget foreign films to catch on with American audiences. Most that are lucky enough to get distribution in the States spend a few poorly attended weeks in the art houses, then quietly disappear. The Full Monty, a British film about a group of unemployed Sheffield steel workers putting together a "Chippendales"-type revue, has done just the opposite.
In installment one and two of this series, we presaged the crawl of HDTV, the rise of the flat-panel TV, and the demise of Divx. For our final set of guesses---er, prescient opinions, we tackle four more topics.
Movie fans the world over are mourning the passing of Toshiro Mifune, Japan's greatest film actor. Mifune died December 24 at a hospital in Mitaka, Japan, not far from his home in Tokyo. The cause of death was an unspecified "organ failure." Mifune was 77.
Director James Cameron's Titanic is not only afloat but appears to be eminently seaworthy. The epic disaster drama's three-hour-and15-minute length is apparently no drawback for film fans, who packed theaters to the tune of a $51.9 million gross in the first week following the film's release, according to Exhibitor Relations Company, which tracks box-office results.
The Associated Press reported Dec. 22 that Japanese film director Juzo Itami died after jumping from the top of an eight-storey building that housed his office. Itami was director of the international hit film Tampopo.
Everyone with a TV has seen the traditional winter holiday fare: Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and any one of a dozen versions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. If you're not totally burned out on the subject, there are less-well-known films with Christmas (and other) themes that are worth seeking out. Here's a short list of recommendations from the staff that might round out your holiday viewing: