Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Charlie Chaplin Makes History on the Internet

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Charlie Chaplin Makes History on the Internet

Article excerpt

Need another reason never to log off the Internet? Here's one: an on-line movie theater.

Last week, the American Film Institute inaugurated the era of movies on the Internet when it began showing The Rink, a 20-minute 1916 Charlie Chaplin film, on its Web site at www.afionline.org/cinema/olcwin.html

By teaming up with Palo Alto's VDOnet Corp., the institute is able to "stream" the video directly to your computer. There's no time lost to downloading, and you don't have to worry about modem speed, VDOnet says. Eventually, experts predict, consumers will be able to view any film, old or new, any time they want in big-screen glory with full digital sound with a simple click of the mouse. Right now, however, we're still in the stone age of this new technology, and it shows. The picture is tiny, grainy and a bit jerky. But you can see it and hear the accompanying music. (There is no dialogue because it was a silent film.) And it's in real time. "This is the first time a full-length Hollywood movie has been shown on the Internet," says Dan Harries, AFI's director of on-line media. "There have been small, little personal films, experimental ones, but this is the first time classic Hollywood movies have been shown on the Net." Harries admits that "the quality of the film doesn't compare to television or a real theater." But the point is not to offer a commercial alternative to going to the movies. Rather, "the institute's purpose is to educate the country on our film heritage," he says VDOnet's President Asaf Mohr agrees that the technology is inferior when compared with TV, but it is improving quickly. He says the next step is to take advantage of faster Internet delivery systems, such as cable modems, which would enable bigger, sharper pictures. Harries agrees. "One of the next points will be the widespread use of cable modems. They will allow a more integrated delivery system of different media, including Internet, television and on-demand movies. …

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