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January 30, 2008

Sharp, Panasonic Slashing Flat Panel Prices...In Taiwan

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Two Chinese-language newspapers, Economic Daily News (EDN) and Commercial Times, are reporting that international HDTV manufacturers such as Sharp and Panasonic will slash LCD TV prices by 7-20%. Even some plasma prices have been slashed including Panasonic's 103-inch monster plasma set, price reduced to NT$2 million ($62, 072 US), and Kolin's 65-inch LCD set, down to NT$298, 000. While these price reductions apply to the Taiwanese market, it's reasonable to assume these price cuts will eventually make their way over to the United States in the near future.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 27, 2008

DTV 2009: Best Buy To Have Analog-To-Digital Converter Boxes By February 18

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Best Buy has announced that they will have analog-to-digital converter boxes on their shelves February 18 in the US, in preparation for next year's big digital TV switch when those with analog-only television sets not hooked up to cable or satellite service will need a converter to receive over-the-air signals.

917 stores in 49 states will carry the Insignia brand of converters, expected to be priced in the $50-$70 range. Wyoming residents, who don't have access to a Best Buy outlet in-state, will be able to get their hands on a converter box via a special 800 number.

Remember that all US households are eligible for two $40 coupons to be used for the purchase of analog-to-digital converter boxes through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's TV Converter Box Coupon Program. You can apply for yours here or call 1-888-DTV-2009 to apply over the telephone.

Via Broadcasting & Cable

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Animation Innovation: Disney-Pixar Planning 3D Toy Story Trilogy

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Walt Disney Studios has big plans for it's Toy Story animated movie series, releasing new Disney Digital 3-D versions of Toy Story on October 2, 2009 and Toy Story 2 on February 12, 2010 according to Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

The 3D releases will lead up to the release of Toy Story 3, Disney-Pixar produced and to be released in 3D in movie theaters June 18, 2010. The Toy Story 3 theatrical release will be a first-of-a-kind in the animation world, and will be directed by Pixar filmmaker Lee Unkrich.

Via Dark Horizons

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 21, 2008

iTunes Movies: Apple To Face Big Challenges Moving iTunes Movie Rentals Into EU

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Apple's Steve Jobs expects that the Apple iTunes movie rental service will expand internationally later this year, but realizes that the European Union may pose a challenge. Cross-border regulatory issues, staggered film releases, and anti-competitive behavior are just some of the challenges Apple will face as it tries to move into the 27 European Union countries. Rather than a single market, the European Union is "a patchwork of individual countries", says the New York Times, and most likely the iTunes movie rental service will only enter a few countries at a time. Apple didn't comment on its timetable for entering the European market.

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 17, 2008

iTunes Movie Rentals May Worry Netflix, But Not DVDPlay

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DVD rental kiosk operator DVDPlay doesn't seem to be worried about iTunes, video-on-demand, or any other digital content provider on the market. The company achieved ten-fold growth in 2007 and just celebrated their 13 millionth DVD rental through the use of 1400 kiosks in the United States. They plan to install another 1800 kiosks by the end of this year.

"The DVD is very much alive and will continue to be a dominant home entertainment medium for the foreseeable future," said Chuck Berger, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of DVDPlay. "Video on demand is still an emerging market given the significant technology obstacles and other barriers that have yet to be overcome."

While much of the focus in the past year has been on digital content, US consumers purchased 33 million DVD players in 2007 bringing the total number of players in US homes to 230 million. Berger also pointed out that DVD resolution is 3 times the quality of any downloadable content and the success of DVDPlay indicates that consumers still prefer DVD's to another other video format.

Via Business Wire

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January 15, 2008

Can Steve Jobs End The Hollywood Writer's Strike?

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If Steve Jobs announces an iTunes movie deal today at MacWorld, the Writer's Guild of America believes their argument will be validated and it could push the writer's strike to a quicker finale.

"It could validate everything that we've been saying," says WGA Assistant Executive Director Charles Slocum. "If he also announces that it will be in high-definition and you can order from the TV, it will mean the creation of a whole new market."

Basically the WGA feels that an announcement of an iTunes movie deal would be one of great enough significance that the studios would no longer be able to argue that the online market isn't big enough for them to bump up the amount of money they pay writer's for downloads.

With with some of the biggest companies in the world including Microsoft and TiVo signing deals with studios lately, it appears that the studios may be losing the argument. It's just a question of whether or not they'll lose the fight.

Via Business Week

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January 14, 2008

MacWorld Looking To Be Rather Average: Could It Be Apple's Incredibly Deceptive Master Plan To Lower Consumer Expectations?

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Judging by the leaked MacWorld keynote crib notes supposedly belonging to Steve Jobs, it doesn't look like tomorrow's going to be a particularly exciting day for Apple fans. Although there have been rumors of an iTunes movie service announcement and a new and improved Apple TV, the two announcements of particular importance to TV fans are missing from the crib notes. The only things worth getting semi-excited about this year are a new MacBook Air, suitable for high-def television viewing, a 16GB iPod meaning a little more storage room for digital content, and of all things, YouTube video integration with iTunes. Wow, that sounds useless!

Of course, there's always the possibility that the leaked crib notes are a complete hoax, but as Valleywag points out, a hoax would probably include mention of the iTunes movie service as it's been such a rumored and anticipated announcement. Here's a thought: What if Apple posted the fake crib notes to lower expectations for the keynote where they'll actually unveil something amazing?! That would be just like Jobs. See the crib notes after the jump.

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ArrowContinue reading: "MacWorld Looking To Be Rather Average: Could It Be Apple's Incredibly Deceptive Master Plan To Lower Consumer Expectations?"

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Hollywood's Obsession With Video Games "Stupid", Says Actor John Rhys-Davies

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John Rhys-Davies seems conflicted. The former Lord of the Rings actor discussed his role in his latest film, In the Name of the King, with Game Daily and says the whole concept of converting video games into Hollywood movies is a "disaster"...not to mention "stupid". The irony in this is that In the Name of the King is a film based on Dungeon Siege, a video game from Gas Powered Games. But then again, the only reason he took the job was because he was tired of waiting for his house to be built and felt he should get away for a while. So what exactly did he have to say about video game-movie conversions?

"You really want me to answer that? It's a disaster. It's a disaster. One or two may succeed, and I hope this is one of them, but the structure of a game is completely unlike the structure of a film. And it shows the despair of the studios and producers that these movies even get a look at. If we had good writing, it would not happen. I think that right at the moment, the film industry in Hollywood is in a crisis because we have successfully excluded young and able talent for so long that now there is nothing left. There are only remakes and adaptations. There's this mentality of "oh my god. lets try to find another genre and see if we can invigorative that." When you look at the fact that only one in 10 films makes its money back, or makes enough money to keep the rest going, of these 40-odd films from games, are you going to see four successes out of that? I doubt it. If you see one or two, that will be good. It's dumb. It's stupid. But then who ever said the film industry was being controlled by smart people?"

Hilarious! We also like the fact that he called Uwe Boll a great producer, despite the fact that he's known as one of the worst in the industry!

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Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 11, 2008

Blockbuster Going Digital, Developing Flash Drive

Despite popular opinion forecasting an upcoming bankruptcy, Blockbuster is determined to move ahead in the world of movie rentals and is revamping their business model to eventually morph into a digital download giant.

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Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes outlined the plan at the Citigroup 2008 Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference on Tuesday, stating that in the first two quarters of this year we'll beginning seeing kiosks in Blockbuster stores that will allow movie downloads. The will be the first step in Keyes' plan to turn Blockbuster into "an entertainment convenience store." The kiosks will likely be a stepping stone on Blockbuster's way to offering a digital movie download service on the web.

Interestingly, when responding to a question about the potential of flash drives in movie download distribution, Keyes said "we are working on a flash drive ourselves...a micro SD chip for side-load capabilities into portable devices, and we’re working on direct download to a device itself.” We'll have to keep our eyes out for the Blockbuster flash drive in the future.

Keyes was bullish about Blockbuster's financial potential this year, citing high gas prices, the turning of the tides in the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war, the downfall of competitor Movie Gallery, and the lack of fresh television content thanks to the Hollywood Writer's Strike.

Via Video Business

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves Says Internet, DVR's Good For TV

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CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said their interactive business is leading all CBS departments in terms of growth at Citi's 18th Annual Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference. He also said that the internet is a friend to TV citing traffic spikes on the Grey's Anatomy website during the TV broadcasts commercial breaks. With this knowledge, Moonves says we can expect to see digital and content acquisitions in the near future as the network moves to integrate traditional television with the web. Interestingly, Moonves believes that in the long term digital video recorders will be a benefit to networks and their advertisers by encouraging people to watch more television. He believes that a 35% DVR penetration will offset commercial viewing and expects this to happen by the end of 2008. Should we expect major networks to start manufacturing and distributing their own DVR's with advertiser integration? Would they be able compete with the likes of TiVo? We doubt it, but it's an intriguing idea nonetheless.

Via PaidContent
Image Credit: New York Times

Justin Davey at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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