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Hollywood's New Year predictions for 2006.

 
 
Allan
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      12-27-2005
http://www.slate.com/id/2133291/

Hollywood's New Year
My predictions for 2006.
By Edward Jay Epstein
Posted Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, at 7:48 AM ET

One doesn't need a crystal ball to see that Hollywood's future is now
inexorably tied to the small screen. Just look at the studios' own
internal revenue numbers. Before the invasion of television, the big
screen (aka movie theaters) provided 100 percent of the studios'
revenues. Now it accounts for less than 15 percent. The small
screen—which includes computers, portable DVD players, and iPods as
well as televisions—provides 85.6 percent. To be sure, much of
Hollywood's celebrity culture, and the entertainment media that feeds
off it, remains rooted in nostalgia for the big screen. Meanwhile, the
MBAs that run the studios—and their corporate owners—have come to
grips with the cruel reality that the movie business is no longer
primarily about movies, it's about creating intellectual
properties—the current term of art for a movie, TV series, or
game—that can be sold or licensed for personal entertainment in a raft
of different forms and markets. According to my crystal ball, the
further migration of Hollywood—even with its sticky celebrity
culture—into home entertainment will be greatly accelerated in 2006 by
the following five events:

1. The success of Google's Wi-Fi experiment in San Francisco.

In October 2005, Google offered to provide a Wi-Fi service that would
enable anyone in San Francisco to connect without charge to the
Internet. Google would make its profit not from an access charge, but
from the ad revenue an entire broadband-wired city would provide. If
the experiment proves successful—and Google's Wi-Fi platform proves
stable—nothing will stop the company from rapidly extending this
concept to other cities. Reportedly, Google has already lined up
unused fiber-optic cable that spans the country. Such a free Wi-Fi
network would mean that the Hollywood studios would no longer need to
rely on cable operators—or even telephone companies—to have a two-way
pipeline into homes. They could directly rent any movie to consumers
and bill their credit card (like everything else is billed on the
Internet) without paying a cut to cable operators or local televisions
stations.

Continue Article

2. The further collapse of the video window.

Up until recently, the studios gave theater owners a five- to
six-month window before a movie was released in video stores. But now
with mass merchandisers selling most of Hollywood's DVDs—Wal-Mart
alone accounts for over 30 percent of DVD sales—the pressure on the
studios to time their release in accordance with retail selling
seasons, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, is becoming nearly
irresistible. After all, a single Wal-Mart order can amount to $100
million. So, as the studios dance to Wal-Mart's tune, the window
between the theatrical release and the DVD release can be expected to
further shrink, if not disappear entirely. As a result, more and more
people will choose to wait for the DVD instead of going to the
theatre. The resulting loss of audience will then further speed the
death spiral, which will eventually drive many theaters into
bankruptcy.

3. The proliferation of digital video recorders.

The digital video recorder has a variety of flavors—stand-alone DVRs
such as TiVo, portable DVRs such as the iPod, and integrated DVRs such
as those offered by Time Warner—that allow consumers to easily capture
movies and TV programs and then watch them when it is convenient. As
the universe of digital channels continues to expand—the telecom
giants Verizon and AT&T plan to pipe thousands of channels through
telephone lines—the DVR will be the ultimate enabler of home
entertainment. Only 9 percent of households in America now have DVRs,
but as the cable and satellite providers replace their customers'
cable boxes with integrated DVRs in the next three years, that number
will mushroom to over 40 percent. Such a plethora of personal
entertainment (including news) that can be watched whenever the viewer
wants to, without commercial interruptions, will take a huge chunk out
of the "clock" of potential movie-goers. The studios depend upon a
large number of people to turn up at theaters on opening weekends, but
soon these moviegoers will have the alternative of watching a
downloaded movie or TV program.

4. The Blu-Ray DVD.

When the Blu-Ray DVD is introduced in 2006, it will have the backing
of all six Hollywood studios as well as all the major computer
manufacturers. Its virtue for Hollywood is that, although it is the
same size as the present DVD, the Blu-Ray can hold six times as much
data on multiple layers. This immense storage capacity will allow
studios not only to re-release their libraries in the high-definition
format, but to add whole new products to the package. For example,
Sony, which has helped pioneer the Blu-Ray and will equip its
PlayStation 3 with it, is considering adding 3-D versions of movies.
Since some of the multiple layers can also be used to record material
downloaded from the Internet, the Blu-Ray will also allow studios to
sell consumers add-on interactive games, musical videos, and even
sequels to the movie.

5. The mandated digital conversion of television.

Congress passed legislation in December requiring that all television
signals be converted from analog to digital by Feb. 17, 2009. This
means that Americans who don't want to buy a converter box will need a
digital television set. Nowadays, most digital TVs sold are equipped
for high-definition. So, in the next few years, a huge part of the
population will be able to watch a picture at home—whether it is a
football game, a made-for-TV series, or a reality show—that approaches
in visual quality the fare in movie theaters. As a result, digital HD
television will deprive theaters of a significant part of their
audience. The Hollywood studios, as the kings of content, will profit
the most from the transformation of the entertainment economy. The
theaters and cable operators (unless they can acquire their own
content), on the other hand, will have a much more difficult time
surviving the increased competition for the clock and wallet of the
audience. And the couch potato will have many more, though not
necessarily better, reasons for staying home.

Happy New Year.

http://www.slate.com/id/2133291/






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lorincantrell@yahoo.com
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      12-28-2005
I went to see Narnia over the weekend with family, and I commented to
my father that the handwriting is on the wall for the movie theatres.
I used to want nothing more than to own my own cinema, but now I don't
see how they make much money at all, except by raising prices through
the roof. Narnia was a good movie, and the presentation was excellent
(clean print, good focus, perfect framing), but I still had to share
the theatre with a bunch of loud and obnoxious people and pay $7.50 for
the privelige.

I predict that in less than 5 years you'll be able to buy a 60 inch HD
TV (of whatever type) for less than $1000 at Wal-Mart. Congress goes
on and on about subsidizing digital tuners for poor people, and it's
the biggest load of horseshit I've ever seen. Drive through a crappy
neighborhood and count all the dishes mounted to the sides of ghetto
houses. Poor people are not known for being great decision makers.
They'll buy the new TV's, just as they pay for Dish while skimping on
necesities. By then, movie theatres will be so expensive nobody will
want to go. Some luxury cinemas might survive in the big cities, much
as the stage thrives in limited amounts today, but the days of regional
chains being able to make it are finished. Add to that the
overcapacity created in the building boom of the late 90's and
somethings got to give.

-beaumon

 
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Biz
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      12-28-2005

<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) ups.com...
but I still had to share
> the theatre with a bunch of loud and obnoxious people and pay $7.50 for
> the privelige.


Fix this and everything will be good again. WTF is wrong with people that
they cant just sit quietly and watch a movie?


 
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Jim Burgan
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      12-28-2005
>> but I still had to share
>> the theatre with a bunch of loud and obnoxious people and pay $7.50 for
>> the privelige.
>>

>
> Fix this and everything will be good again. WTF is wrong with people that
> they cant just sit quietly and watch a movie?


Theatre viewing has been shrinking for the last 10 years (or longer).
Witness the death of Megaplex owners such as General Cinema who wound up in
Chapter 13.
It is extremely difficult for a Cineplex to make money, even the newer ones
with 25 screens staffed with 10 people.
The extra screens were necessary to book the blockbusters. Companies like
Fox made theatre owners promise to give them a couple of other screens for
displaying lower priority files in order to get the blockbuster. I
understand Fox required multiplex theatres to give up one extra screen to
Fox for each print of Star Wars III they rented, and Fox/Lucasfilm
prohibited theatres from 'racking' the movie (feeding one print thru a
series of pulleys and sprockets to they can show the same print on two
screens at the same time). If the theater wanted to show Revenge of the
Sith on 4 screens, they had to rent 4 prints of the film and surrender an
additional 4 screens to Fox (at Fox's discretion).
2005 was not a great year for theatres... There were a few quasi
blockbusters : Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Star Wars Episode III-Revenge Of The Sith
and War Of The Worlds, but the number of films that grossed at least double
their budget (generally considered to be what it takes to be profitable)
were few and far between. The improvements in home theatre hardware and
software will continue to cause decline. The theatres are doing the right
thing by building the 20+ screen Megaplex with stadium-type seating and
Dolby Digital 51. ES or DTS ES audio, but the only thing they can offer is
the bigger screen and (for now) high-def pictures. When the dust settles on
Blue Ray or HD-DVD, and High Def copies of movies are released with HD
equipment, theatres will lose the high def aspect, leaving only screen-size
as the remaining draw. Yet an 8 foot screen with a DLP High Deff Projector
will replicate the exact image you would see at the theatre, and since you
don't have to put up with noisy, obnoxious, demon-children who are intent on
ruining it for everyone, the home theatre will continue to erode the
multiplex market share.
I will have my home theatre completed in June... It will have a 12 foot
(diagonal) glass bead screen, with black matting/edging. The screen will be
about 4 feet above the platform floor. The center and front/left and
front/right speakers will be mounted 4 feet off the floor (at the same
height as the screen, except the dialog channel (center speaker) will be
just below the screen in dead center. The surround speakers will be in the
rear on this 16 foot room. The DLP Projector (with 3500 lumens) and 1400 x
1050 lines of resolution, plus true 16X9 anamorphic widescreen (depending on
recorded content), with 2 incredible 500 watt powered sub woofers to fill
any 15 X 20 home studio.
I will have 3 sofas, each one 10 inches higher than the one in front,
guaranteeing a clear shot to the screen from any seat. And my couches will
be reclining/rocking sofas, thus comfort will not be a problem. I am
insulating the walls with 2" bats of Styrofoam, cut to fit between my firing
strips. Then it will be covered with a dark brown fabric. The three small
windows will have a tight fitting lid which secures sunlight from getting
in. Finally, there will be a curtain covering the outside door (fitting
tightly over a fake frame inside door that seals the opening. There will be
no outside light in my home theater. I will then add 2 Lazy-Boy recliners
on each of the outside perimeter for premium enjoyment.
All cabling will be inside the walls, floors etc, and none will be viewable
to the naked eye.
My tentative Grand Opening Date will be Tuesday June 13, 2006... The first
feature to play will be announced at a later time (when there is actually
High Def product available).
Everyone here is invited
-Jim-


 
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Bob
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      12-28-2005
On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 04:46:09 GMT, "Biz" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> WTF is wrong with people that
>they cant just sit quietly and watch a movie?


Drugs.


--

Merry Christmas!

http://www.illwillpress.com/xmas.html

 
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lorincantrell@yahoo.com
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      12-28-2005
Sounds like you're going to have a sweet setup. Just how good are the
DLP projectors these days? I've yet to see a video projector that I
thought had anywhere near the punch of a CRT or Plasma TV, but then
I've never seen a DLP in action either. LCD projectors due nothing for
me.

-beaumon

 
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Frank Malczewski
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      12-31-2005
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Sounds like you're going to have a sweet setup. Just how good are the
> DLP projectors these days? I've yet to see a video projector that I
> thought had anywhere near the punch of a CRT or Plasma TV, but then
> I've never seen a DLP in action either. LCD projectors due nothing for
> me.
>
> -beaumon



Me neither. Can't understand why anyone would go to such expense and
not get a 1920 x 1080 setup though...
 
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Goro
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      12-31-2005

Bob wrote:
> On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 04:46:09 GMT, "Biz" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > WTF is wrong with people that
> >they cant just sit quietly and watch a movie?

>
> Drugs.


or lack thereof (ritalin)

-goro-

 
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Goro
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      12-31-2005

Frank Malczewski wrote:
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > Sounds like you're going to have a sweet setup. Just how good are the
> > DLP projectors these days? I've yet to see a video projector that I
> > thought had anywhere near the punch of a CRT or Plasma TV, but then
> > I've never seen a DLP in action either. LCD projectors due nothing for
> > me.
> >
> > -beaumon

>
>
> Me neither. Can't understand why anyone would go to such expense and
> not get a 1920 x 1080 setup though...


I've noticed that even with the 1080p sets, they generally do not have
1080p INPUTS.

*sigh*

-goro-

 
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Goro
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      12-31-2005

Allan wrote:
> http://www.slate.com/id/2133291/
>
> Hollywood's New Year
> My predictions for 2006.
> By Edward Jay Epstein
> Posted Monday, Dec. 26, 2005, at 7:48 AM ET



> 1. The success of Google's Wi-Fi experiment in San Francisco.


i thot that SF already declined this offer. Google has instead focused
on their home city (Mountain View?).

as to the main pt, bandwidth is increasing rapidly! Comcast offers
6Mbps up to around 9 Mbps. Cox just upped from 4Mbps to 6Mbps and
upgrading to 9Mbps is only $15 per month. I wouldn't be surprised to
see bandwidth double in the next year.

> 3. The proliferation of digital video recorders.


Should also mention a new brand of DVR that is becoming quite popular:
the home computer/mediacenterPC/XBox Mediacenter.

HD Tuner cards are getting cheaper and with the proliferation of HD
vids on the internet...

THere's now a alt.binaries.hdtv that has stuff like 1080i SLEEPER CELLs
and 720p FINDING NEMO.

As more people sample these, they will find it more and more difficult
to watch 480p material anymore.

Of course these .ts files are pretty damb huge. It's over 10GBs for
NEMO, which might not seem big compared to 480p DVDs (9GBs), but it's
substantially bigger than 480p Xvids or even 720p Xvids and h.264s.

Hardware h.264 vid cards are out, allowing for 720p files that are
about the same size as old SD Xvids.

Quicktime HD is becoming the de facto standard for movie trailers.
They look good, too.

>
> 4. The Blu-Ray DVD.
>

.... and HD-DVD,too, right?


> 5. The mandated digital conversion of television.
>
> Congress passed legislation in December requiring that all television
> signals be converted from analog to digital by Feb. 17, 2009.

... OR until a large percentage (75%?) own Digital TVs.

They also passed (proposed?) a bill to spend something liek $4B (from
teh $10B made from auctioning the analog current cable bandwidth) to
BUY people digital cable converter boxes... uhmmm....


-goro-

 
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