Tech Briefs

Mar 8, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Hewlett-Packard Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina will keynote the opening session at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas in April. The selection of Ms. Fiorina is noteworthy as Hewlett-Packard and other computer and consumer electronics companies, including Microsoft, Intel and Dell, are increasingly looking to play a role in the evolution of television with the PC as the entertainment hub.

Rainbow Expands VOOM Lineup

Rainbow Media’s satellite system VOOM has expanded its channel lineup, which now includes four HBO and Cinemax channels in high definition in addition to 14 in standard definition. VOOM plans to add CNN, TNT and TBS in SD. Other Turner networks to be added are CNNfn, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN Headline News and Turner Classic Movies. The deal will allow VOOM to offer more than 30 HD channels and more than 70 channels in SD.

Cable Trails in DVR Awareness

Cable operators lag far behind satellite in consumer awareness of digital video recorders, according to the annual State of Cable & Broadband Study released late last month by Horowitz Associates. About 38 percent of cable subscribers are aware that they can get DVR service from their cable operators, compared with 78 percent of satellite customers.

Gemstar, Pioneer Bury Hatchet

Gemstar-TV Guide and Pioneer have resolved their litigation and signed long-term licensing agreements for Pioneer to incorporate Gemstar-TV Guide’s interactive program into its TVs and digital recorders. Pioneer will pay license fees to Gemstar-TV Guide.

Thomson to Buy Video Division

Thomson has announced that it will acquire the video division of ParkerVision, which provides systems for broadcasters to automate the production of their newscasts. The deal is valued at about $14 million in cash and should close by midyear. The acquisition allows Thomson to extend its line of broadcast equipment from news production to also include news automation. ParkerVision will be integrated with Thomson’s Grass Valley digital news equipment.

Multitasking During the Oscars

According to an independent survey, about 31 percent of Internet users were simultaneously online and watching the Academy Awards during the Feb. 29 telecast. The study, conducted by the Claria Corp., shows an 11 percent increase in Oscar-online multitasking from last year.

James Hibberd contributed to this report.