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1999 NEWS TIDBITS

January 1999 Headlines 

01/31/99

The Digital Bits as well as several other web sites are reporting that Buena Vista will be releasing Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE on DVD in full frame and wide screen versions.  A BUG'S LIFE will be transferred from the original computer imagery and not film insuring optimal quality.  Unfortunately, the wide screen presentation will not include the anamorphic enhancement.  Also being reported is the fact that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will be issuing the entire four film ALIEN saga in June.  DVD Review has gotten word that ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3 and ALIEN RESURRECTION will be issued individually at $29.95, as well as in a boxed set at $129.95.  ALIENS will be the 154 minute director's cut version of the film.  At present there is no mention if these DVDs will contain the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions.   Let's hope they do.

01/26/99

Jeff McNeal of The Big Picture recently spent some time with the those great DVD folks over at Laser Pacific and New Line Home Video.  Jeff goes on behind-the-scenes and gives you a look at the companies producing some of the finest DVDs on the market.  You can read the full text of his special report HERE.

01/25/99

According to a report on The Digital Bits the folks at Buena Vista have confirmed that Divx has the rights to release Disney animated classics on Divx-Gold.   However, Divx has no specific plans to release any of these titles at present.   Until Divx makes a firm announcement, Buena Vista will make no other statements about Disney classics on Divx or "OPEN DVD".  It seems that Buena Vista presently remains committed to their policy of non-commitment for animated classics on DVD.  In related reports, Disney/Pixar's A BUG'S LIFE will be announced for release on DVD quite soon.

01/21/99

PROGENY to be released as the second title in the newly launched Sterling Home Entertainment DVD Millennium Series.

(Studio City, CA) - Sterling Home Entertainment, the premier independent home video distributor for the motion picture production companies Lions Gate Films and Imperial Entertainment, presents the home video release of the science- fiction thriller PROGENY, debuting nationwide on March 30, 1999 at a SRP of $29.95.

From acclaimed sci-fi/horror genre director Brian Yuzna (The Dentist, Return of the Living Dead III, Necronomicon), writer Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, Robot Jox, From Beyond) and special effects designer Screaming Mad George (Star Kid, Children of the Corn III), PROGENY is a shocking cross between Rosemary's Baby and Alien. This "out of this world" sci-fi thriller features a talented cast including Academy-Award nominees Lindsay Crouse (Places in the Heart, The Juror) and Brad Dourif (Bride of Chucky, Alien Resurrection, Urban Legend), along with Wilford Brimley (Cocoon, The Firm, In & Out), Arnold Vosloo (Darkman II & III, Hard Target) and Jillian McWhirter (The Dentist II, Strangeland, After Midnight).

After hoping and praying, Craig (Vosloo) and Sherry Burton's (McWhirter) dream of having a baby just came true. But it's nothing like they expected - because this baby is definitely not of this world. Fearing the worst, Craig teams up with alien abduction expert Bert Clavell (Dourif) to unravel the truth. Through hypnosis, they discover in horrific detail that Sherry was impregnated by aliens. Determined to remove the alien fetus from his wife, Craig and Clavell sneak into her hospital room to perform an irregular operation - where the wrong move could end Sherry's life! Now the only way to save themselves is to face the terror within. The impossible cannot be denied when you feel it inside you!

PROGENY will also be released as the second title in the newly launched Sterling Home Entertainment DVD Millennium Series. This deluxe edition of the film will feature a widescreen presentation (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with an additional Spanish-subtitled format, audio commentary, scene index & interactive menus, detailed production notes with cast & crew interviews and biographies, and theatrical trailer; along with enhanced DVD-ROM content including complete screenplay with script interaction, exclusive stories from actual alien abductees, trivia games, and internet connection to exciting websites.

For more information on this or additional titles, please visit
http://www.sterling-video.com .

01/20/99

The DVD File is reporting that THE LEGEND OF MULAN and one other Disney animated title possibly 101 DALMATIANS will be released on the DIVX GOLD format in April.  If this happen without a corresponding release on "OPEN DVD", look for one million plus pissed off DVD collectors to storm Castle Disney.


Rykodisc Presents MICKEY HART * PLANET DRUM DVD Single

Rykodisc leaps into the future with the release of Mickey Hart * Planet Drum's INDOSCRUB, an audiophile two-song, two-video DVD multimedia single. Featuring the DVD's title track and "Endless River" from the album Supralingua (released on Rykodisc on August 4, 1998), this debut DVD single is available for the affordable list price of $7.98. The DVD single ventures beyond the CD single in that it offers visuals in addition to the audio tracks - a technology that can be played on home systems, as well as DVD-ready computers.

INDOSCRUB is a state-of-the-art audiophile release, featuring Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, DTS 5.1 surround sound, and a 24-bit/96kHz stereo mix. The DVD includes a video interview with Mickey Hart, as well as a web link to Rykodisc's site and bonus material hidden within the release. The visual component was constructed from time-lapse filming and found footage by filmmaker Chuck Fishbein. Combined with 21st Century recording technology, the video collage makes INDOSCRUB the ultimate - and most cost-effective - home theater experience for Mickey Hart fans.


Pushing the technological envelope, MGM Home Entertainment is the first studio To Merge The Advancements Of DVD, DVD-ROM, and the Internet with the release of RONIN  Available On February 23, Disc’s Unique DVD-ROM Capabilities Enable Users To Participate In An Exclusive Live Online Event Hosted By Director John Frankenheimer On March 14 Priced At $24.98, Disc also contains compelling DVD features, including never-before-seen alternate ending and director’s commentary

SANTA MONICA, CA -- MGM Home Entertainment takes the DVD movie experience to a brand new interactive level with its February 23 release of RONIN. Taking advantage of the DVD-ROM capabilities of the platform, the disc offers PC users a unique opportunity to participate in an exclusive online event, hosted by John Frankenheimer on March 14. Using state-of-the-art technology to integrate DVD-ROM and Internet capabilities, the RONIN event invites users to partake in an online presentation with Frankenheimer about the making-of the 1998 action thriller. A 20-minute multimedia behind-the-scenes tour by Frankenheimer, illustrated by storyboards, behind-the-scenes footage, and film action sequences played directly from the RONIN DVD in the user’s DVD-ROM drive, will precede a live chat session with Frankenheimer. Available for $24.98, the disc also features such added-value DVD elements as an alternate never-before-seen ending and a director’s commentary.

"We are always looking for new ways to leverage our filmed equities and to differentiate MGM products from other competitive offerings in the marketplace," said Blake Thomas, senior vice-president of marketing, MGM Home Entertainment. "To accomplish this, we developed an on-line event that includes exclusive audio and video interactivity to bring PC users and film buffs all the benefits of the technological advancements of the format."

To participate in the DVD-ROM online event, the user system requirements consist of Windows 95" or 98", a DVD-ROM drive, a minimum 28.8 KB internet connection speed, and the RONIN DVD. Upon insertion of the RONIN DVD, the system directs the user to select the hyperlink, which connects directly to the dedicated RONIN event website (www.mgm.com/dvd/ronin). The website asks users to register for the event and submit questions for John Frankenheimer, many of which will be included in the event.

On March 14, when registered guests log on to the website, the system will verify that the RONIN DVD is present in the user’s DVD-ROM drive and all system requirements are met. The event will begin at exactly 8:00 p.m. (EST). Presented in conjunction with Microsoft’s NetShow/Windows, the event will begin with a discussion the making-of the film, illustrated by specific scenes, as well as storyboards, and behind-the-scenes footage and stills sent to the user via the Internet. A live 30-minute chat session will precede the discussion. To ensure that current and future owners of the RONIN DVD can re-experience the event and print out the transcript to the online chat session, the entire RONIN online event will be cached onto MGM’s network server through December 1999.

Additional Elements Included On The RONIN DVD

Presented in Dolby Digital" Surround Sound and available in both widescreen and pan&scan versions, the RONIN DVD also features such added-value elements as an alternate never-before-seen ending and a director’s commentary by Frankenheimer. Packaged in Amaray Keepcase packaging, the title also includes an eight-page booklet that showcases behind-the-scenes information, trivia, and production notes, as well as the theatrical trailer.

Film Synopsis

In this gritty, international action caper, an undercover group of covert operatives, lead by Sam (DeNiro), an American, must recover a top-secret briefcase that every underworld group will stop at nothing to get. With international tensions relaxed, their destinies are uncertain and their loyalties up for grabs to the highest bidder. None of them knows the identity of their employer, the true motives of anyone else in their group, or the contents of the briefcase. The one thing that is clear is that some will die for it and they will all kill for it.

MGM Home Entertainment controls the home video rights to one of the largest libraries of filmed entertainment in the world. In addition to the new Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists theatrical releases, the company controls worldwide home video distribution rights to over 6,700 films. For more information about MGM Home Entertainment, its products and services, access MGM Online at http://www.mgmhomevideo.com.

RONIN
Price: $24.98
Pre-Order Date: 2/2/99
Street Date: 2/23/99
Running Time: 120 minutes
Catalog Number: M907439
Formats: Standard & Widescreen
Languages: English French
MPAA Rating: R
Closed Caption

01/15/99

Get the lowdown on DVD from the WCES.  Check here for The Digital Bits complete coverage of the 1999 Winter Consumer Electronics Show.

01/13/99

DVD Review has reported that A&E Home Video will be releasing episodes of The Avengers- the cult British television series. The DVDs will begin with episodes from the 1967 season featuring Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel, the most popular partner of gentleman spy John Steed (Patrick Macnee).  Episodes will be released in sets of six episodes that mirror A&E's VHS collections.  Set one and set two will be available March 16th, either together for $39.95 or singularly at $19.95.

Visit http://www.OriginalAvengers.com for further details about the series, as well as which episodes are contained in the collections released on VHS by A&E.

01/12/99

DVD Review has word that James Cameron's Titanic will be coming to DVD in 1999, however no exact date or specifications for the DVD has been given.  Well, at least its coming.   Let's hope that James Cameron will insist that Titanic is made available with the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions.

01/10/99

NetFlix announces The Top Ten DVD Movies Rented on the Internet for 1998:
1. Six Days And Seven Nights
2. The Mask Of Zorro
3. Godzilla
4. Lost In Space
5. The Horse Whisperer
6. Lethal Weapon 4
7. Mercury Rising
8. City Of Angels Special Edition
9. Wild Things
10. Deep Impact

01/08/99

Pioneer demonstrates prototype DVD-RW recorder at the Consumer Electronics Show and claims the unit could come to market six months after copy protection issues are resolved.  Although discs recorded in DVD-RW aren't compatible with current DVD players, compatibility would be built into future DVD players.  Pioneer envisions DVD-RW as the perfect format for time-shifting or home video editing.  Pioneer's prototype records up to 1.5 hours at full DVD resolution, however Pioneer plans to up the recording time to a full two hours for production units. 

01/07/99

DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA BUNDLES VERSADISC DVD WITH MONSTER SOUND MX300 AUDIO ACCELERATOR

Each VersaDisc Issue Contains A Free Full-Length Feature Film And More

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 7, 1999) Versatile Media One (VM1) announced today at the Consumer Electronics Show that Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: DIMD) is bundling VM1’s new VersaDisc DVD magazine with its Monster Sound MX300 audio accelerators. Journalists attending CES may pick up a copy of VersaDisc at the Diamond Multimedia booth, #4124 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. VersaDisc is the first DVD magazine of its kind, providing consumers with a free full-length feature film on each issue, plus news, reviews, game demos, music videos and more. Featuring the superior image and audio quality, storage capacity and interactivity of DVD with the real-time interaction made possible by the Internet, VersaDisc keeps consumers informed about the latest entertainment content available on DVD. Diamond has already taken delivery of its first shipments of VersaDisc and expects to continue bundling the latest monthly issues of the disc throughout 1999. "The same audience who appreciates the superior quality of the Monster Sound MX300 is likely to be among the early adopters of DVD technology," said Giovanni D’Andrea, president of Versatile Media One. "With the credibility of the Diamond Multimedia brand and its leading edge customers behind us, we are off to a great start in our quest to become the definitive provider of DVD information to consumers."

Viewing VersaDisc or any DVD with the power of the Monster Sound MX300 audio accelerator will create the most advanced multimedia experience available on the PC. Featuring Aureal Semiconductor’s VortexTM 2 processor and A3D 2.0 positional 3D audio support, Diamond’s Monster Sound MX300 is the ideal solution for PC entertainment enthusiasts who demand a sound card with the latest advancements, including Dolby DigitalTM support and interactive positional 3D audio rendering technology. Versatile Media One is a privately held corporation based in Glendale, California. In addition to publishing VersaDisc, VM1 is a comprehensive DVD studio, providing DVD authoring, encoding and graphic production. For more information about VM1 and a free subscription to VersaDisc, visit http://www.DVD4U.com, call (818) 550-5880 or mailto:info@dvd4u.com. Diamond Multimedia is a leader in multimedia solutions and emerging technologies for the home and business markets, providing advanced products that enable desktop computer users to create, access and experience compelling new media content from their PC's and through the Internet. Products include the Rio series of Internet audio appliances; the Stealth, ViperŽ and SpeedStar series of video accelerators; the Monster series of 3D gaming accelerators; the Fire series of professional graphics accelerators; the Micronics series of system boards; the SupraŽ series of modems; and the HomeFree line of home networking products. Diamond’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol DIMD, and its web site address is http://www.diamondmm.com.

01/06/99

From the latest Laserviews update comes word that Anchor Bay Entertainment will be releasing Dario Argento titles Phenomena and Tenebre on DVD in the coming months.  Disney titles The Black Hole and  The Cat From Outer Space will also be coming from Anchor Bay.   Additional Anchor Bay titles announced at the same time will include Demons, Demons 2, Fantastic Planet, Girl On A Motorcycle, Heathers, Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, Nosferatu The Vampire and Time Bandits.   

January 1999 Headlines


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