TV Networks: Digital Recorders Boost Viewership

“Advertisers and investors have watched the entry of DVRs into the mass market, led by TiVo, with a wary eye for several years. Some predicted the features that let viewers skip ads and watch programs at their convenience would spell the death of ad-supported broadcast TV and its prime-time programming schedule. But in their research on the use of DVRs, the television networks said the technology offered an opportunity to attract viewers who might otherwise miss shows when they first air.”

Scary! Big Brother To Monitor Every Car In UK

British police have been building a system of cameras and license plate recognition software that will monitor every road in the UK and deploy “what promises to be one the most pervasive surveillance systems on earth.” The system will be able to determine the whereabouts of every vehicle in the UK and where it goes. “The control centre is intended to go live in April of next year, and is intended to be processing 50 million number plates a day by year end.”

Sony Agrees To Recall Of CD’s

Under intense media and consumer pressure, Sony has agreed to recall 2 million CD’s bacuse of a malicious software anti-piracy measure. “Sony BMG has used the XCP copy-protection software on 49 titles from artists such as Celine Dion and Sarah McLachlan and produced an estimated 4.7 million music CDs. Around 2.1 million units have been sold on to consumers. The software, developed by a British firm, First4Internet, installs itself on a personal computer used to play the CD in order to guard against copying, but it leaves the back door open for malicious hackers.”

Pretend Reading (It’s All The Rage)

“This holiday season, a new and perverse variation on this age-old standby is making the rounds at Manhattan soirées. Instead of ‘Read any good books lately?’, you are far more likely to hear: ‘Pretended to read any good books lately?’ Yes, this season it’s all about faking it—i.e., carrying around the ‘It’ book but not actually bothering to read it.”

CPB Inspector General Blasts Tomlinson

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting inspector General says that he found no criminal violations by Kenneth Tomlinson. “His report, however, documented a series of Tomlinson-led initiatives that were undertaken without the knowledge of CPB’s board or that directly violated the agency’s statutes and procedures. Tomlinson, the former chairman threatened to withhold federal funds if PBS refused to ‘balance’ its programming with more conservatives and he hired lobbyists, consultants and two ombudsmen without the board’s knowledge or approval, according to a five-month investigation and report by the CPB’s inspector general, Kenneth A. Konz.”

Ambitious Conservation Project Aims To Restore Enormous Painting

A 365-foot-long painting depicting the battle at Gettysburg is being restored in a mammoth conservation effort. “One part art and one part commercial venture when it opened in Boston in 1884, this colossal canvas, now in Gettysburg, has become as ragged as an old Army tent – worn, torn, sagging and covered in grime. Art conservators here are embarking on a $9 million federally financed project to restore vigor to a painting that has lost its visceral power. On Sunday the cyclorama and the sound-and-light show that brings it to life will close to visitors at the Gettysburg National Military Park for two years of renewal.”

Italy’s Big Art Show Trial Begins

The trial of former Getty curator Marion True opens in Italy Wednesday. American museums are anxiously watching the proceedings. “Making an example of the Getty trial will signal that ‘the age of trafficking in art pieces is over,’ the Italian culture minister, Rocco Buttiglione, said in an interview. ‘This isn’t about seeking revenge for the past. It’s about reclaiming property rights for Italy’.”