Telecom headlines last coupla weeks

Gary Handman (ghandman@library.berkeley.edu)
Thu, 6 Apr 2000 11:49:20 -0700 (PDT)

HIGH-BANDWIDTH STANDARDS BEING CRAFTED
Issue: Broadband
More than 30 telecommunications and Internet companies are expected to
announce plans to establish industry standards for sending video, phone
calls and other data-intensive traffic through communications networks.
The companies are seeking to accelerate a change in the way computers
access the Internet, partly by storing high-bandwidth data content in
so-called co-location centers near Internet service providers. Nortel
Networks, AT&T's Broadband & Internet unit, NBC Internet, Qwest
Communications, Sun Microsystems, and British Telecommunications,
Akamai Technologies, Bertelsmann, and Hewlett-Packard, among other
companies, are members. The group is called the Broadband Content
Delivery Forum and will hold its first formal meeting in Orlando,
Florida next month.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B10), AUTHOR: Mark Heinzl]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB954797033296523157.htm)

COLUMBIA IN WEB VENTURE TO SHARE LEARNING FOR PROFIT
Issue: Intellectual Property
Columbia University, the New York Public Library, the British Library, the
Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, the London
School of Economics and Political Science and Cambridge University Press are
set to announce a for-profit venture (Fathom.com) to provide knowledge in
its broadest forms -- classes taught by prominent academics, reference
books, interviews and documents -- using new media technologies. "We want to
make sure that our core intellectual capital is not picked off by outside
for-profit vendors," said George E. Rupp, Columbia's president. "But for
that, we have to be able to say to our faculty that we will devise ways they
can communicate with a wider audience, which many of them would like." "The
idea of bringing together universities, libraries and museums -- the
cultural repositories of the world -- and making them available through the
Internet is important," said Gene DeRose, chairman of Jupiter
Communications, an Internet research company based in New York. "I have not
seen anything like it."
[SOURCE: New York Times (A22), AUTHOR: Karen Arenson]
(http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/04/biztech/articles/03web.html)

DTV

FCC COMMENCES PERIODIC REVIEW OF DIGITAL TELEVISION CONVERSION
Issue:
The FCC today began its first periodic review of the progress of
conversion of the U.S. television system from analog technology to
digital television (DTV). The Commission noted that broadcast stations
are facing relatively few technical problems in building digital
facilities, and that problems encountered by some stations with tower
availability and/or local zoning issues do not seem to be widespread.
[SOURCE: FCC]
(http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Mass_Media/News_Releases/2000/nrmm0005.html
)

MEDIA VIOLENCE - THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
Issue: Media & Society
Text of Commissioner Gloria Tristani's remarks at Emory University.
Commissioner Tristani spoke government response to media violence.
[SOURCE: FCC]
(http://www.fcc.gov/Speeches/Tristani/2000/spgt004.html)

COALITION OF MARKETERS PUSH FOR 'FAMILY FRIENDLY' PRIME-TIME TV
Issue: Advertising
A coalition of marketers known as the Family Friendly Programming
Forum is attempting to generate more "family friendly" programming
during prime-time on television said representatives of the companies
involved. The coalition include such advertising
giants as AT&T, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor, General
Motors, Gillette, I.B.M., Kellogg, McDonald's, and Procter & Gamble.
"We're not saying everything should be sweet all the time," said J.
Andrea Alstrup, vice president for advertising at Johnson & Johnson.
"We're saying that in the early hours of prime-time, up to 10 o'clock,
there's a need for entertainment that people can enjoy together,
intergenerationally." Some, however, question whether the programs
produced under the collation's auspices may be more suitable for
viewers of the 20th century than the 21st.
[SOURCE: New York Times (C6), AUTHOR: New York Times Staff]
(http://www.nytimes.com/library/financial/columns/033100tv-adcol.html)

DIGITAL-TV PANEL SHOWS WILLINGNESS TO ALTER INDUSTRY TECHNICAL STANDARD
Issue: DTV
In a win for the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the Advanced Television
Systems Committee (ATSC) has agreed to form a task force to review the
technical standards involved in the reception of digital signals.
Sinclair Broadcasting has complained for over a year to the ATSC and
FCC that the existing digital transmission standard can't be received
in dense urban areas and in moving vehicles. This disappoints the many
TV stations that are looking to offer mobile data services after they
convert to digital signals. If the digital TV technical rules change,
the 10,000 consumers who have already purchased digital TV receivers,
and the broadcasters who have started transmitting digital signals,
may be forced to replace or supplement their equipment. General Electric's
NBC and Walt Disney's ABC recently joined Sinclair in urging the ATSC
for a technical review. A review doesn't guarantee that a change in
technical standards will take place. It's the Federal Communications
Commission that ultimately decides digital TV technical rules. The
FCC adopted the current standard based on ATSC's recommendations in 1996.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B2), AUTHOR: Evan Ramstad]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB95436949566992861.htm)

COALITION CALLS FOR FCC RULES ON EDUCATIONAL OBLIGATIONS, ADVERTISING
SAFEGUARDS, IN DIGITAL TELEVISION
Issue: Digital Television
A coalition of child advocacy, health, and education groups called on the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today to develop rules designed to
ensure that digital broadcasters serve the needs of children. The Center for
Media Education (CME), the National PTA, the National Education Association
(NEA), Peggy Charren (founder of Action for Children's Television), and six
other organizations, filed formal comments with the FCC calling for a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on public interest obligations for digital
broadcasters. The groups asked the Commission to develop clear, quantifiable
guidelines on how digital TV (DTV) broadcasters can meet the educational and
informational needs of children, as well as new rules on digital
advertising, marketing, and data collection directed at children.
Specifically, CME's comments proposed that digital broadcasters use their
digital capacity to serve children's educational and informational needs in
a variety of ways, including: 1) Airing additional "core" educational and
informational (E/I) programming. 2) Providing broadband or datacasting
services to local schools, libraries or community centers that serve
children. 3) Supporting the production of children's educational programming
by local public stations or other noncommercial program producers. 4)
Develop children's advertising safeguards for digital television.
The full comments submitted to the FCC are available in PDF format at
(http://www.cme.org/press/000327_comments.pdf)
[SOURCE: Center For Media Education]
(http://www.cme.org/press/000327pr.html)

VIDEO NETWORK COMING TO NET
Issue: Broadband
A group of telecommunications and broadcasting companies are creating a
video network for the Internet, promising to deliver cinema-quality pictures
to office computers and, eventually, the home. The new venture, GeoVideo
Networks, will use fiber-optic lines to transmit video without the quality
problems that plague typical Internet broadcasts. Video images don't travel
well over the Internet because of the amount of data needed to produce
smooth, full-screen images. GeoVideo hopes to solve those problems by
providing fiber-optics connection from the source of the video all the way
to the recipient. Currently, fiber lines don't generally reach single-family
homes. Consumers' first taste of the network could come in a movie theaters.
Company officials are talking to movie studios about using the network to
transmit high-definition films directly to screens.
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Jon Healey]
(http://www.mercurycenter.com/svtech/news/indepth/docs/geovid032900.htm)

HOLLYWOOD GREETS ONLINE ENTREPRENEURS
Issue: Broadband
For two days last week, the Yahoo Internet Life Online Film Festival sought
to bring Hollywood together with the Internet industry in a bizarre mix of
traditional entertainment companies and online upstarts. While it is not the
first, or only festival dedicated to online filmmaking and distribution, the
Yahoo festival, provided a venue for the two industries to come together,
get to know each other, and, most importantly, make deals. For example,
Shockwave announced that the director David Lynch would join "South Park
creators," Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and the filmmakers Tim Burton and
James L. Brooks in creating films exclusively for its site. Also, Universal
Pictures announced that it would invest in Reelshort.com in hopes of
"providing an online exhibition platform for cutting-edge creative work."
"All revolutions are great unless they kill you," Peter Guber of Mandalay
Films, said. "This is a potentially lethal time. But daring times require
bold actions. Blazing a trail to the future is hazardous duty."
[SOURCE: New York Times (C13), AUTHOR: Rick Lyman]
(http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/03/biztech/articles/27yaho.html)

A BETTER, CHEAPER WAY TO BRING YOUR TV SET INTO THE DIGITAL AGE
Issue: Digital Television
Ok, here goes. We've seen the potential for digital television service
expressed in three ways: satellite TV that is comparable or better than
cable; Internet services delivered to your TV, often marketed as a personal
computer alternative; and the new personal TV services that would make your
television operate like a VCR -- without the VCR. While these are all very
exciting, they can also require installation, hook-up costs, and expensive
hardware purchases. A new technology may be a better, cheaper way to get all
of the digital TV enhancements in one package: the DishPlayer 500. The
DishPlayer 500, a joint product of EchoStar and WebTV, combines a satellite
receiver with a harddisk, modem and Internet capacities. Glitches with the
hard drive and viewing TV programs and their Web links simultaneously still
need to be worked out. The service pricing varies by options.
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal (B1), AUTHOR: Walter S. Mossberg]
(http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB953766914306110447.htm)

Gary Handman
Director
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000
http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC

"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)