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Site created 12/15/97.




page updated: 10/6/98



My Two Cents
(Archived Posts 9/30/98 - 9/9/98)


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9/30/98

Good news - it turns out Reel.com is NOT selling Divx now, or at any time in the future. Upon sending e-mail to the on-line retailer regarding the Divx issue, readers have been receiving the following response:

Dear Reel.com Customer,

Thank you for your note and we would like to apologize for this misunderstanding. To dispel the rumor, Reel.com does not sell DIVX. It was a simple mistake made by Discover Card and they have now fixed the mistake:

http://www.discovercard.com/discover/data/reel.htm

Please visit our site if you still don't believe us. Again, we apologize for this confusion.

Reel.com, Inc.


I've personally spoken with the folks over at Reel.com, who say they have no intention of supporting Divx. They understand how the statement on the Discover web site could have caused confusion, and regret any misunderstanding. I think they deserve credit for correcting the misleading information promptly (and for their stance against carrying Divx software).

I have confirmed (by examining the box art anyway) that Logan's Run, Lord of Illusions and Westworld are all in anamorphic widescreen. I haven't seen Leviathan yet, but I've been told its anamorphic as well. What a nice surprise! I definitely have to give MGM some credit for this. Hopefully, they will continue adding anamorphic to all of their widescreen releases, as Columbia TriStar currently does (or at least to the big titles). Now if we could just get them to release Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Kingpin and Fish Called Wanda in widescreen...

Finally today, it looks as if DTS may finally have gotten themselves together on the DVD front. You'll find the complete comments by DTS CEO Dan Slusser on the DTS page in the Studio & DVD News section.

9/29/98

Well, there's not a whole lot going on DVD-wise today. This is, of course, new release Tuesday, and there are a ton of good new DVD titles in stores today. I'm working on a number of stories, and a host of new reviews for the near future. In the meantime, there's a couple of interesting items of note to be found on the Net.

First of all, you can read a couple of articles over at the Washington Post. The first is called Video Discontent, and the next is What DVD Releases Do for For Collectors. They run down some the differences between DVD and Divx, and the features found on DVD releases.

There's a newswire story over at Yahoo on the future of the financially beleaguered Polygram. It seems that Seagram may end merging the studio into MGM.

Speaking of MGM, I've been hearing that some of the new titles out today from the studio are SURPRISE... in anamorphic widescreen. Titles in question are Logan's Run, Westworld and Leviathan (but not Carrie). I have yet to confirm this, but if true, it would be major points with me. None of these titles were originally due to be so enhanced. Maybe MGM has gotten the message DVD fans have been sending about anamorphic widescreen? One can hope...

Finally, it looks like Reel.com has had the poor taste to decide to carry Divx movies... but they're not exactly going out of their way to advertise the fact, probably fearing the public outcry among those on the Net. But check out this page (at Discover Card) and you'll see what I mean. Here's a list of Reel.com e-mail addresses... do DVD a favor and let 'em know EXACTLY what you think about Divx.

More tomorrow...

LATE UPDATE (9/28/98 - 12 PM PST)

OK, a bit of news and a couple of rants...

First of all, there's something of a mystery over some new Titanic DVD information, which you can read in today's Rumor Mill.

Rant Number One - I've just learned something that will likely make you angry (I'm pretty steamed over it). Buena Vista DVD titles are now available in Region 2, and guess what... they are ALL ANAMORPHIC! Currently available are 101 Dalmatians (live action), Nothing to Loose, Phenomenon, Ransom, Metro, While You Were Sleeping, and Crimson Tide. Many others are on the way.

I've already been flooded with angry e-mails from readers regarding this issue. Why Buena Vista would choose to withhold one of DVD's most important features from consumers in Region 1 is a complete mystery. The studio has been releasing over-priced, under-featured DVD product from day one. What's worse, it has come to my attention, that their new line of Miramax Special Edition DVDs will also eschew anamorphic enhancement. Reportedly, Miramax wanted very badly to include this feature, but Buena Vista overruled them. This is very disappointing. I have invited a spokesperson for Buena Vista Home Video to comment officially here on the Bits. In the meantime, I'd like to ask everyone to use the contact information in my Studio Links section to let Buena Vista know exactly how you feel about this problem.

Rant Number Two - It is being reported that DTS has threatened to sue the DVD Forum over what they feel is a lack of consideration for the DTS format in the new DVD-Audio specifications. You can read at least one story on this over at Twice. Does anybody else wish DTS would pull themselves together, and just start releasing those DVDs we've been expecting FOR OVER A YEAR NOW? Again, I've invited a DTS spokesperson to comment. Stay tuned.

OK, I'm calm.... I'm calm...

EARLY UPDATE (9/28/98 - 1 AM PST)

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I've got a couple more new DVD reviews up, including Thunderheart and another of the new Paramount titles, Kiss the Girls. The last two will be up soon. I've also posted a list of the extras you'll find on HBO's upcoming From the Earth to the Moon DVD set.

In case you hadn't heard, there's big news for Star Wars fans. Word from the official Star Wars web site is that old George has finally decided on the name for the new film (see the production update section). Try this one on for size: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Scratching your head yet? Me too. I must say, however, that I am intrigued...

Finally today, a word of congratulations to our sponsor NetFlix. They are now officially the largest DVD rental store in the world, with more than 2,000 available titles. You can read the press release to prove it. Take that Divx!

More tomorrow!

9/26/98

So... anybody in the mood to read reviews of some Paramount DVDs? They are, in a word... impressive. Paramount is really going to make a nice splash with their first batch of titles (street date October 6th). I've had a chance to review two of them so far: Star Trek: First Contact and Face/Off. I'm working on reviews of Kiss the Girls, Twilight and The Saint for later this weekend.

Some initial observations on the video quality - all of the first batch are very dark films, but the encoding is nicely done (not too much artifacting). All of the first batch except Twilight are anamorphic widescreen (Twilight is non-anamorphic). As for the audio, all of the Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes are very good, and First Contact, in particular, is fantastic.

Overall, Paramount's done a nice job, and has managed to really impress me with their premiere DVD offering. If this is any indication of their future commitment to the format... well, let's just say I can't wait to see Braveheart and Titanic. I'd say Paramount has gotten themselves off to the best running start of any major studio thus far. I hope a few people over at Buena Vista and Fox take notice - THIS is how you do DVDs.

In other news, the new CEMA numbers are in: 11,426 DVD players sold to retailers for the week ending September 18. The running total is now up to 818,613. I've also updated the Canadian numbers, and the VideoScan Top Ten DVDs as well.

Be sure to check out Andy Patrizio's latest DVD article over at TechWeb. This one deals with the DreamWorks announcement, Divx and a host of other DVD topics.

Finally, get those Trivia Contest entries in for your chance to win The Blues Brothers on DVD - just a few more days left. And after seeing the disc first-hand, I've decided that Star Trek: First Contact will be the prize for next month's contest.

Now get out there and enjoy the weekend!

9/25/98

OK, today in the Rumor Mill, you will find a complete list of Paramount's November DVDs, including release dates and disc features for each. Not a bad way to follow a day that gave us DreamWorks...

Around the Net today, you can find Divx's official national launch press release on all the wire services, including Yahoo. It includes a full list of titles Divx expects to have available soon. Who cares is what I want to know. Also, C-Net's News.com has yet another story on Divx being carried at those Future Shop stores.

Finally today, HBO has a spanking new DVD site, which is currently featuring a detailed look at their upcoming From the Earth to the Moon, including a look at the packaging and a very cool preview trailer which plays via QuickTime. Dig the music! "Come and take a trip on my rocket ship... we'll have a lovely afternoon. Kiss the world goodbye and away we'll fly... destination Moon..."

All right, folks... this is you mission should you choose to accept it: go out and have yourself a great weekend! And if you're just dying to see a good flick, I hear De Niro's Ronin is nothing to sneeze at...

LATE UPDATE (9/24/98 - 2 PM PST)

Well, by now you've probably heard the news... DreamWorks is in. I'm sure all of us know how important this is for the DVD format. But let's take a moment to examine exactly what it means in the larger scheme of things.

First of all, if you are a consumer, who has delayed purchasing a DVD player in the fear that your favorite film may not appear on the format, you need no longer worry. Today's announcement by DreamWorks SKG (along with DVD release announcements by Paramount and Fox, and Amblin's recent decision to allow The Mask of Zorro on DVD), means that you can now reasonably expect that all of your favorites will eventually make their way to the format. As the DVD market continues to grow, it seems only a matter of time until such films as Braveheart, Star Wars, Aliens, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park and many others are released on DVD.

It also means that consumers no longer have to fear the threat of Divx. Prior to these announcements, there was legitimate reason to believe that certain titles would only be made available on Divx, and not on open DVD. This is no longer the case. In fact, given Divx's recent financial disclosures, it seems unlikely that the pay-per-view format can viably compete with DVD.

For video retailers, the picture is now that much clearer. As more and more consumers adopt the format, the market for sales and rentals of DVD software will only increase. And the best way to end the Divx threat to the existing video distribution model, is to start renting DVD titles in your stores now. With a tremendous array of new hits and quality catalog titles appearing on the format during the 4th quarter, and with DVD players selling like hotcakes (according to CEMA numbers), there will be more demand than ever for DVD this fall.

In short, my advice to everyone who would like to see Divx go the way of the dodo, is to jump on the DVD bandwagon now. Whether you are a consumer or a retailer, there are simply no longer any good reasons to wait.

Now... to the folks at DreamWorks, here's what it takes to do right by DVD: anamorphic widescreen (and preferably all-digital) film transfers, film-themed menu screens, theatrical trailers, Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (whenever possible), Closed Captioning, and the full range of Region-determined language and subtitles choices (in Region 1, that means English, French and Spanish). Packaging should be Amaray keep case, period. Use RSDL dual-layered discs whenever necessary, to prevent disc flipping, and to include additional materials. Whenever possible, include a full-frame or pan & scan version for those who prefer it, but ALWAYS include anamorphic widescreen, so that your consumers will continue to enjoy the best viewing quality in the future, when widescreen TVs become more common. Provide commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and the like for at least your major titles, to maximize value. And please don't get greedy - keep disc prices to $29.99 and under (with $24.99 being ideal).

Now, all that said... I can't wait to spin The Peacemaker in my player. Bravo to DreamWorks and Spielberg, for making the jump to DVD (it's about damn time)!

EARLY UPDATE (9/24/98 - 8:30 AM PST)

And then there were none.

I have just confirmed that DreamWorks SKG has officially announced their DVD support this morning. You can find the full transcribed text of their press release by checking the DreamWorks SKG page in my Studio & DVD News section (click here). There will be three titles from the studio on DVD in December, with more coming next year.

I'll post more later. Stay tuned...!

9/23/98

Well folks, today is a bit light on the hardcore DVD news, and most of the special feature stuff we're working on here at the Bits is still not-ready-for-primetime. So I'm just gonna give you a rundown of what's up DVD-wise around the Net.

First of all, in what must qualify as the single oddest DVD release yet, NetFlix is exclusively offering the Clinton Grand Jury testimony on DVD, for .02 cents plus shipping (read the official press release here). Talk about bizarre. OK, I suppose the Pamela and Tommy Lee sex DVD makes for some pretty weird viewing too. But hey... at least the Clinton thing is only .02 cents, right? And no, I will NOT be reviewing this DVD anytime soon (although I do not rule out April Fools Day). Now if we can just get that Roswell Alien Autopsy film on DVD, we'd have quite the trailer trash triple feature!

Actually, regarding the Clinton DVD, there's an amusing side note to report (related to Divx) in today's Rumor Mill, so be sure to check that out.

In other news, there's a good DVD/home theater article over at Business Week, called Building a Bijou in your Basement. The San Francisco Chronicle has a report on Blockbuster's travelling roadshow, to promote the launch of DVD rental in their stores.

And finally today, Peter Bracke has written a nice article over at DVD File, called DVD Today & Tomorrow: A Prognosis. It's all about the future of DVD, and why some of the studios are making the decisions they are with regards to the format - good reading (by the way, Happy B-Day Peter!).

All right, I'm sure there will be lots more interesting DVD news tomorrow, so stay tuned...!

[Editor's Note: Some of today's comments were tongue-in-cheek. No slight of any kind is intended towards Pamela and Tommy Lee, President Clinton, anyone who lives in a trailer, or Grey alien life forms.] ;-)

LATE UPDATE (9/22/98 - 2:45 PM PST)

Just a quick update: Divx has announced officially that Future Shop will be carrying Divx players and movies at their whopping 23 U.S. stores (don't mind the sarcasm). You can read the press release at Yahoo.

EARLY UPDATE (9/22/98 - 9 AM PST)

For over a month now, I've been reporting in the Rumor Mill, that my sources were telling me that Steven Spielberg was finally moving to embrace open DVD, and that his DreamWorks SKG was close to announcing DVD support. Sure enough, Spielberg gave Columbia TriStar the go ahead to release the Amblin-produced title The Mask of Zorro day-and-date on DVD, on Dec 1. Now comes confirmation from Video Business magazine, that the director is green-lighting DVD on a wider basis.

In the latest issue of the trade publication (Sept. 21), an article by Brett Sporich reveals, "DreamWorks SKG, another Spielberg company, is expected to announce "any day now" that it will release its first titles on open DVD, according to company officials." With regards to the Zorro decision, Amblin spokesman Martin Levy is quoted as saying, "We're still looking at DVD releases on a case-by-case basis, but this certainly shows that we've taken a first step." Levy also says that the Zorro decision "opens the door" to other Amblin titles. The article also reveals that Paramount and Amblin officials have confirmed that they are negotiating a DVD release of Deep Impact, one of the summer's only major box-office hits.

It looks as though the day that every Hollywood studio supports open DVD, is finally close at hand. I think we all recognize how important that will be for the format.

In other news, if you check the HBO page in my Studio & DVD News section, you'll get a first look at HBO's upcoming 4 disc release of From the Earth to the Moon. Finally today, a reader has informed me that film critic Roger Ebert has responded (in his column in the Chicago Sun-Times) to a reader's question about MGMs recent move to release pan and scan only versions of their popular films on DVD. I think most of you will agree with his comments (look about halfway down the page to find them).

Stay tuned...!

9/21/98

Well, I hope everyone had a great weekend. Sorry for the lack of updates, but there were some family things going on here, and frankly, I needed a bit of a break. My wife and I attended Taste of Newport (a music and food festival in Newport Beach, CA this weekend), and my wife got the chance to meet Rick Springfield (yes, THAT Rick Springfield), who was playing there. She was thrilled. I come to found out, after 10 years together, that she had a major thing for old Rick in high school (you learn something new every day). Sing it with me now: "Jessie was a friend, yeah you know he was a good friend of mine..."

On to DVD... there's a bevy of new DVD articles out in the press this weekend. First of all, if you pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (Sept. 25 - with Calista Flockhart and Dylan McDermott on the cover), you'll find a three page article on DVD, entitled Move Over, VCR. The gist is that the folks over at EW feel DVD is here to stay, and provide a rundown of facts and features. Unfortunately, I do not believe the article is available on the EW web site, so you'll have to read the magazine itself.

There's another good Andy Patrizio article on Divx over at TechWeb. Popular Science magazine has a brief article on DVD recording formats which is interesting, including pricing and features. There a couple of different formats in development. The article is available on-line, by clicking here. Finally, the San Jose Mercury News has an article on the advantages of DVD, with it's Dolby Digital surround sound. It makes for interesting reading.

There's a rumor buzzing around the Net, that a retailer called Future Shop has decided to carry Divx. More on this as it emerges.

Finally, in some non-DVD related news, check out the always excellent Cinescape web site, for some interesting news on X-Files creator Chris Carter's latest project in development for Fox - a new series called Harsh Realm.

More tomorrow...!

9/18/98

New CEMA numbers are in for the week ending September 11th: 6,173 DVD players sold to retail. The tracking numbers (above) have been updated accordingly.

There's new information on upcoming DVD titles in today's Rumor Mill. You'll find information on Buena Vista, Fox and Paramount.

Be sure to check out an interesting article on Divx over at ABCNews.com. And there's a bit of news over at Yahoo, on how Matsushita is marketing a car navigation system that uses DVD discs.

Finally, I've got a couple of thanks to send out today. First to Bruce Tannehill, for his much appreciated help in locating a hard-to-find item for a gift I'm giving. And second, to Jeremy Moore, for taking the time (while on a recent visit to Richmond, VA) to snap a shot of the Divx HQ for all of you to see. My thanks to both of you!

Divx's Richmond, VA Headquarters

Have a great weekend everyone!

9/17/98

I've been doing some more housekeeping work around the Bits today. First of all, I've archived both the Rumor Mill, and my recent daily columns (see the link at the bottom of this page), so that the pages will load faster. I've also updated Jim Taylor's Official DVD FAQ, to the most recent version (Sept. 11), so be sure to check that out.

In today's Rumor Mill, you'll find a couple of new tidbits about a pair of upcoming DVD titles I've just learned are in the works. You will also find some new DTS information, as well.

Around the Net, be sure to check out DVD File's well done look at DVD Pricing, which will help explain just what MSRP (also abbreviated SRP) and MAP stand for. Hollywood Online has a look at MGM and Polygram's current financial woes (see link here). The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article on Divx's money problems as well.

Finally today, as many of you know, in addition to my work here at the Digital Bits, I also write reviews of new DVD titles (and the occasional article) for Video Store magazine. Video Store is an excellent industry news weekly, but unfortunately, it isn't available to the public at large. I'm pleased to say, however, that my writing will now be accessible to a wider audience than just those on the Internet, or involved in the film industry. Starting with the new Laser Magic 1998 special edition issue, I am now a contributing editor for Widescreen Review magazine. My new column, Inside DVD, will appear regularly in future issues. I'm very proud to be working with the folks at Widescreen Review. Anyone who has read this bimonthly publication, knows the high level of quality and detail editor Gary Reber and his staff work to achieve. I am particularly happy that my first column appears in the Laser Magic 1998 issue (on page 146).

WSR's Laser Magic 1998 This massive tome, which is arriving on newsstands now, weighs in (literally) at an impressive 498 pages. In it, you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about DVD and Laserdisc, including a history of the optical disc, an interview with its inventor, discographies of THX and widescreen releases (in both formats), the print version of Jim Taylor's DVD FAQ, a digital sound filmography, a lesson in how to read film credits, a studio executives forum on DVD, a look at special editions and boxed sets, articles on interactive annotated releases and roadshow movies, 2,000+ DVD and Laserdisc reviews, and more. As an extra perk, there's even a mail-in coupon inside, for a FREE (while supplies last) copy of DTS's Demonstration DVD #3, which features clips from Titanic and Apollo 13 (you must have an outboard DTS decoder, and a DVD player equipped with the DTS Digital Out feature). Not too bad for just $9.95 U.S. (new subscribers get the issue free).

My goal with Inside DVD, is to provide readers of WSR with a look at what's in-store for DVD in the months ahead. You'll find information about the latest DVD titles in production, or in the planning stages, interesting news, commentary and more. Those of you who read my Rumor Mill section here at the Bits, will no doubt find the column familiar - they cover much of the same territory. What I can finally tell you, is that the majority of what you read in the Rumor Mill (and will find in Inside DVD) comes directly from authorized studio sources. I choose to categorize it as rumor however, because it is unofficial (meaning that it's not yet announced, or involves plans that are still tentative, or otherwise subject to change). In other cases, one of my sources (a studio or industry insider) will send me a tip (about a particular title in the works, for example), and I'll check with other sources to corroborate it. I am by no means perfect, but rest assured that I work very hard to ensure the quality of the information. In any case, I think you'll find Inside DVD worth a read.

Well, that's about it (and I'd say that's enough for one day!). As always, best wishes until tomorrow...

9/16/98

I've posted some interesting information I've heard the last few days in today's Rumor Mill, pertaining to DreamWorks, new Paramount DVDs and those upcoming Fox titles. Also found there, are some interesting details sent to me by a couple of none-too-happy consumers who made the mistake of actually trying Divx first-hand.

You'll find the officially announced list of titles from Fox by checking their page in the Studio & DVD News section (click here).

Todd has been working hard on those John Carpenter DVD reviews, which should be ready over the next few days. Also, we're getting ready to debut Todd's new column here on the Bits... Doogan's Views. You'll find interviews with actors, directors and lots of other interesting things there. Check back for that soon.

Finally, over at E-Town, you'll find an interesting report (see part 1 and part 2) on the recent CEDIA '98 show in New Orleans (CEDIA stands for Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association... home theater experts in other words). Also, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater has an interesting article on the sinking Divx ship, so be sure to check that out.

Have a great day! More tomorrow...

9/15/98

Major News: Columbia TriStar has finally announced that Mask of Zorro DVD, that I've been telling you about for weeks. I reported yesterday morning in the Rumor Mill that this was about to happen, and was pleased to see the announcement made. You can read the official press release here. This of course, means that Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment is finally starting to re-enter the DVD market. There's more interesting information on this in today's Rumor Mill update, plus new word on DTS DVDs. You will also find the relevant James Cameron comments from the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, as pertains to Titanic on DVD.

The CEMA numbers are in for week 35 (ending September 4): 9,811 DVD players sold to retailers. That means that the number sold to retail since the format was launched is now up to 801,014. It also means that the oft-mentioned one million players goal is definitely within reach by the end of 1998. I've also updated the Videoscan Top 10 DVDs chart as well.

I've put together a report of my experience at a local Good Guys store this weekend, which now has Divx on display. I think you'll find it interesting and amusing.

Also, I've spoke yesterday with an executive at Columbia TriStar Home Video, who confirms that Godzilla is being price-reduced to an MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $19.95 for DVD. This does not mark a new price point for the studio however. Similar price reductions will be considered in the future on a title by title basis.

Finally today, the Trivia Contest for September is now up and running. This month, we're giving away 5 copies of Universal's The Blues Brothers: Collector's Edition on DVD. One grand prize winner will also win a CD PlayRight Trio for DVD kit, and copy of the Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack on CD. One of the runner's up will also win a copy of the CD. So get those entries in!

Stay tuned...

9/14/98

OK, I've got that Divx information I mentioned this weekend ready. This is some great stuff. First of all, in today's Rumor Mill, I have some very trustworthy information about the total number of Divx players sold by The Good Guys from the start of the test run, through to this past Saturday. And, here's the best part: this weekend, a would-be Deep Throat anonymously sent me a copy of the video Divx is giving to their retailers to train their sales people. You'll find a transcript of it here, and I think you'll get a huge kick out of it. Wanna know how Divx is coaching its sales people to answer those tough consumer questions? Look no further. I'm also working on a report of my first-hand experience, seeing Divx displayed at a local store. Yes indeed, Divx is starting to rollout nationwide...

Over at the Image site, Laserviews announced a number of titles on Friday, including Casablanca and those South Park DVDs I told you about. But I'm told more big announcements may be made in the next few days - check the Rumor Mill for the details.

Finally, there are a number of good new DVD articles on the Internet. Over at Techweb, you'll find: It's Not Too Late For Circuit City to Forestall Its Divx 'Experiment', Brief Past Clouds Divx's Future -- Lackluster Sales Test, DVD's Strength Foretells Rough Road, and How Circuit City Can Fix What Ails Divx. You'll also find an article entitled DVD Video Comes Thundering Back over at Postnet, the St. Louis Post Dispatch's on-line site. Thanks to all the readers who notified me of the articles.

Stay tuned...!

9/12/98

As reported by Yahoo, Spelling Entertainment has folded its Republic Entertainment subsidiary and is licensing its library to Artisan Entertainment. This means that eventual DVD release of the entire Republic catalog of films will now be controlled by Artisan, which has done admirably with DVD thus far. You can read the official press release here.

I'm (at last) catching up on posting DVD title information from studio press release materials that I've received, but which have been piling up lately. You can read the latest on upcoming Artisan and Columbia TriStar. You can also access it in the Studio & DVD News section.

Finally today, I've been made aware of some very interesting Divx information, which will require some work to prepare for the Bits today and tomorrow. But this is some great inside stuff, so it should be well worth the wait. I'll post it as early as possible - late Sunday or Monday morning latest. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

9/11/98

Well, yesterday's John Carpenter signing at Dave's Video: The Laser Place was absolutely fascinating. It was great to meet the folks at Dave's, a host of readers who attended the event, and of course, to have a chance to chat with the man himself. You can see some pictures of the event by clicking here. It was also great to meet Peter Bracke from DVD File, who was also in attendance. I can now tell you from first-hand experience that Peter's a great guy, and I've long been impressed with his writing. So be sure to stop his site, check out his fine work, and say hello.

In other interesting news, Peter and I were privy of a piece of very intereting Spielberg information at last night's event. It definitely belongs in today's Rumor Mill, but I think you'll find it interesting.

Around the Net, you'll find yet another reprinting of that Wall Street Journal DVD article over at the Detroit News. Andy Patrizio over at TechWeb has written yet another fine article on how DVD is beginning to dominate, while Divx sinks into obscurity. Absolutely a must read. Also, the DVD Forum has apparently (finally) agreed on the specs for v1.0 of the DVD Audio format (read the press release here).

Finally, in the whole John Carpenter theme, Todd Doogan is working on reviews of every Carpenter film thus far released on DVD. So you can look forward to those over the next couple of weeks.

Have a great weekend!

9/10/98

There's a host of interesting DVD news on the Net today. First of all, the Kansas City Star has reprinted the Wall Street Journal DVD article from the other day. Also EMA Multimedia has been given an award for "most creative use of the DVD format" at the DiVi Awards, for the title Spawn (see the press release here). CD PlayRight has scored another major supporter in the DVD industry, namely Hewlett Packard. As you may recall, I reviewed their kit for protecting and repairing CD and DVD discs, and found it to be the real deal. Anyway, you can read their press release here. In the print realm, DVD fans should pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which has an interview with Titanic director James Cameron, in which he indicates that Titanic should be on DVD around Christmas.

The Bits own Todd Doogan has just finished a look at Basketball Diaries, so be sure to read his two cents.

Finally, I'll be dropping by the John Carpenter signing tonight at Dave's Video, The Laser Place in Studio City, CA. It runs from 6-8 PM, two items signed only (one of which must be a copy of The Thing on laser or DVD, purchased on site), and you have to be in line to get the autographs. The address is 12144 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, California 91604. So if you're in the neighborhood, I'll see you there...

PREVIOUS NEWS (9/9/98)

I'm very pleased to finally announce, on behalf of Image Entertainment, that their DVD version of Dance With Wolves will be released on November 18. As many of you know, I've been following the progress of this title since quite early in the DVD production process, and have been looking forward to it for some time. It promises to be worth the wait. You can read the full press release here. Thanks to Image's Garrett Lee for keeping me up to date, and for allowing me the pleasure (and honor) of helping to announce the title.

Speaking of Image, as of early this morning, the Laserviews web site is now a part of the Image Entertainment site. Garrett tells me that Image is very committed to maintaining the same high quality DVD release information you've always expected from Laserviews, including the invaluable DVD Calender. In fact, the Laserviews information will continue to be maintained by the same folks who have always done so. The only hitch? Garret tells me that readers should be patient for the next 48 to 72 hours, as they work out all the code bugs on the new site, and ensure that their server can handle all of the traffic. Here's a list of what you can find on their new site, by section:

New Releases - now includes both Image and non-Image DVD and Laserdisc information.
Image Preview - the same, on-line version of their monthly Preview magazine.
Catalog - this is where you'll find much of the Laserviews information, including listings of Dolby Digital 5.1 Laserdiscs, DTS Laserdiscs, DVDs, Dolby Digital 5.1 DVDs, Anamorphic DVDs, and DTS Compact Discs.
Retailers - a listing of Image's retail stores nationwide.
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Now... in other news, there's a good article on how the tides of the DVD vs. Divx format war seem to be shifting in favor of DVD, over at ZDNet. You can even post your own comments there. AOL and DVD Express have announced a new deal regarding DVD marketing (see the press release). Closer to home, I'm pleased to offer some more new DVD release information in today's Rumor Mill, including Universal's December release line-up. I've also updated the AFI Top 100 Films on DVD list, to include Birth of a Nation, which is coming from (appropriately) Image in November.

Finally, the day wouldn't be complete without acknowledging Mark McGwire as baseball's new 'king of swing'. Last night in St. Louis, he broke Roger Maris's single season home run record (which stood for 37 years) by hitting his 62nd homer of the year. Now, I know this isn't a sports site, and this isn't DVD news. But this was perhaps sports' greatest and most hallowed record. And originally coming from Fargo, ND myself (the town Maris claimed as his own, and where he is now buried), I can't help but feel a little bit in awe of the whole thing. In this time of salary holdouts and player strikes, it's nice to see that there are still a few decent guys like McGwire and Sosa in professional sports. Now, if they'd just vote Maris into the Hall of Fame, where he belongs, all would be right with the world.

OK, that and a Star Wars DVD, and life would be just grand. Stay tuned...!


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