Computers And TV
Computer technology: That\'s entertainment, 2000 VIDEO CNN NewsStand\'s James

Hattori finds out what entertainment might look like in the year 2010 December

31, 1999 Web posted at: 4:00 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) (CNN) -- As we reach the year

2000 and the next phase of the Information Age, it\'s easy to forget that just 10
years ago, the Information Age was stuck on its launching pad. The Internet was
unknown to nearly everyone except university researchers; TV was still patting
itself on the back over cable success; films were searching for the next big
thing; music was sold at record stores. Now, television and computers are
colliding and millions of channels are on the horizon; films are bigger, clearer
and cheaper to make; and music, more than any other industry, is using the

Internet to market itself HDTV will soon be rolling into homes, delivering a
wider screen and digital picture Lucy, where are you? Television is on the brink
of major changes that may forever alter the way we live. It should all happen
with the inevitable switch from analog to digital technology. Right now, most
homes are equipped with analog, the design of which has remained largely
unchanged since the invention of television. The new kid on the block is HD, or
high-definition television, with more than three times the resolution of a
standard analog set. Unfortunately, you can\'t see HDTV\'s higher quality on
regular TV. And for now, HDTV does come with high price tags and scarce
programming. But there\'s little doubt that television signals are going digital.
"I think the world of television and entertainment is poised for explosion,
and that explosion comes about because television becomes digital," says

Andy Lippman, associate director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology\'s
(MIT) Media Lab. It\'s one of the premiere technology think tanks in the world.
"When television becomes digital, it becomes a lot more like the Internet,
and that means that instead of a hundred or 500 or 1,000 channels, you have to
think of television in terms of 243 million channels and accessing channels from
all around the world." With a laser-pointer-like device, users can click on
images on a interactive TV to purchase clothing and objects used by the actors
on screen That new type of TV becomes interactive, too. For instance, you should
be able to watch a favorite sitcom, and shop at the same time. This, through
innovations like "hypersoap." With underwriting by the JCPenney
company, MIT professor Michael Bove along with a team of MIT students created
the idea. Using a clicker like a remote control, "hypersoap" viewers
can shop by highlighting any clothing or objects they see on the screen,
allowing viewers of to buy the outfits worn by their favorite actors -- if not
quite the shirts off their "Friends\'" backs. And shopping is just one
possibility. Interactive TV is also expected to allow viewers to gather
additional relevant information on programs. For example, if you\'re watching a
cooking program featuring chicken, you\'ll be able to click one part of the
screen and get the recipe. If you\'re watching a newscast on a Balkan uprising,
you can click the remote and learn the history of the conflict, along with
latest headlines and video. Your favorite TV show may soon follow you... from
your living room, to your car radio, to your office computer Save that VCR There
are also ideas in the works that can keep us from missing TV, even without using
the VCR. "It\'s always annoying when one is watching a television
program," says Bove, "and the telephone rings or one has to get into
the car and go drive to work. And it would be possible, using almost the
infrastructure we have right now, to make a television program that when I\'m
watching, if I go out in the car, maybe it follows me by means of my pager and
then my car, and when I get to work, it follows me up the steps and on to the
screen of my PC. In fact, it would be very nice to be able to follow your
program that way." And save that VCR. It\'ll be like the phonograph one day.

Your grandkids will laugh at it as they flip on their DVD players -- if DVD
players aren\'t outdated by then. George Lucas helped usher in the digital
projection film with "Star Wars, Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" Big
changes on big screen Movie makers are riding the digital wave, too. George

Lucas says he plans to lead the charge of high-budget filmmaking into digital
land,