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News in Brief

PARAMOUNT Home Entertainment has aqreed to license Macrovision’s content protection products, ACP and RipGuard, which provide protection against unauthorised copying of content across packaged media such as DVD as well as electronic channels such as the Internet, cable and DBS. The license also grants Paramount the right to use Macrovision’s advanced Blu-ray protection technology, BD+.

“FRIDAY THE 13TH” fans who want both a digital and physical copy of the 2009 remake will pay extra for the DVD version, but not for Blu-ray. Warner Home Video will sell a digital version of the movie for $1.99 along with the DVD, while Blu-ray buyers will get the digital copy for free. The extra charge, plus $28.99 for the DVD, comes within $5 of the Blu-ray and digital combination.

SONY DADC Americas has been recognised by the US Environmental Protection Agency as being among the nation's leading 'green power purchasers'. According to the EPA, Sony DADC's green power purchase of more than 72 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of nearly 11,000 passenger vehicles per year, or is the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power more than 8,000 average American homes annually.

IN A SURVEY of more than 30 UK TV and film directors, the Industry Trust found that 94% believe the damage caused by illegal downloading cannot be repaired without stronger support from government. The proportion of illegal film and TV content distributed globally online is heading towards 90% of the total, as experienced by the music industry. In 2007, 95m films were downloaded illegally in the UK, compared with just 158,000 legally, according to the trust.

WHEN asked by if Blu-ray can eventually replace DVD, Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Lynton said: “The question is whether people will really replace their libraries. Plus it would appear there’s already price erosion in Blu-ray, so we’re not making the price point we originally hoped for.” “The entertainment industry at large has pretty much given away high definition to consumers,” he continued. “They haven’t really charged a premium for it on television. That makes consumers more likely to buy Blu-ray but less likely to pay a premium for it.”

APPLE said Thursday it has extended the movie downloads service of iTunes to Germany, with about 500 titles from Paramount, Warner Bros., Disney, Sony Pictures and other US studios initially available. To date, the video component of iTunes in Germany has consisted mainly of German television series. The service aims to offer specific movies date-date with high-street DVD releases. Movies for purchase will start at €8 (inc. tax), and rentals (for two days) will be priced from €3.

PANASONIC has announced the release date and the prices of its range of Blu-ray, Freesat+ recorders for the UK. The top of the range DMR-BS850, which comes with a 500GB hard disk drive will cost £999 while the BS75 model which comes with 250GB hard drive can be purchased for £100 less. All models come with two Freesat tuners, which allow you to watch one channel and record on the other one.

NINETY-NINE percent of UK consumers are aware of High Definition TV but only one in ten (11%) is looking to buy a HD television in 2009, according to figures released by Buckingham Research. The online panel survey asked a total of 695 respondents a series of questions regarding their awareness of and feelings towards HDTV and its associated products. Some 85% of those asked said that they were aware of it, while a further 14% said they were aware but did not understand it. Only 1% responded that they were unaware of the offering.

AN ONLINE counter indicates how quickly the popular Apple App store is ticking towards 1 billion total application downloads through, with the company expecting to reach the impressive milestone within 10 days. On average, according to the numbers, there are around 8.6 million apps being downloaded per day, which makes Apple's online store clearly the most dominant store available to consumers.

MOVIE and DVD counterfeiting cost entertainment companies, including studios, cinemas and video stores, at least $18 billion a year, according to a 2005 survey commissioned by the industry. That includes about $11.1 billion from illegal sales of DVDs and $7.1 billion in Internet sales, said John Malcolm, head of the MPAA’s anti-piracy effort.

KANGURU Solutions has updated its popular DVD Duplicators, giving them faster recording speeds, larger buffers and more features. The new Kanguru DVD Duplicators have the fastest DVD recording technology on the market today. They use 22x recording speeds and SATA drives, giving them ultra fast data transfer and duplication speeds, enabling them to copy a full 4.7GB single layer DVD in under 5 minutes.

THE DRAFT of French law "Création et Internet" aimed at clamping down on illegal downloads suffered a temporary setback when the Assemblée Nationale's multi-party commission (Commission paritaire mixte) rejected the details of the law, adopted last week by the deputies. In a poorly-attended National Assembly session, ten opposition party members tactically arrived shortly before the vote, thus leading to a rejection 21 v 15. Culture Minister Christine Albanel has committed to bring back the text for a vote at the end of the month. The Sénat (High Chamber) has already given the green light.

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) will organise a BD technical seminar at MEDIA-TECH Europe 2009 in Frankfurt. The seminar will include in-depth information pertaining to converting a DVD business to BD, audio/video encoding, licensing, testing, as well as mastering and replication. Presenting companies and associations will include BDA, DTS, MTA, Sofatronic and Sonic Solutions.

RECENT data from the MAVISE TV database, developed for the DG Communication of the European Commission by the European Audiovisual Observatory, shows the continued expansion of television channels in the European (EU 27 + Croatia and Turkey) television market. More than 200 new TV channels were launched in 2008. There are now a total of 5587 channels (plus 412 non-European channels) available in the 29 countries.

FROM 3 April, only TV sets with integrated digital terrestrial television decoders will be on sale in Italy. The move is the result of the law passed in October 2007 which represents one of the key steps in the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial. Italian TV viewers currently receive a total of 27 free-to-air channels on digital terrestrial (compared to 9 on analogue terrestrial) plus numerous pay-TV channels aired by Mediaset and Dahlia TV.

INTERNET traffic in Sweden fell by 33% as the country's new anti-piracy law came into effect. Sweden's new policy - the implementation of the EU Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) - allows copyright holders to force internet service providers to reveal details of users sharing files. Sweden is home to popular BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay, currently fighting a court case on copyright infringement.