Comcast Considering Sports Network to Challenge ESPN

Comcast Corp. may mount a challenge toWalt Disney Co.'s ESPN, The Wall Street Journal reported. To compete, the cable-television company would upgrade its Outdoor Life Network, best known for its coverage of the Tour de France cycle race. Comcast is talking to the National Hockey League and the National Football League about broadcasting games, and may be considering trying to land auto racing as well. ESPN carries nearly every major college or professional U.S. sport, generating about $1 billion in cash flow annually for Disney. Comcast failed in a bid to buy Disney last year.

Studios Settle on Technical Standards for Digital Shift
Hollywood studios hammered out technical standards for digital movies, capping a three-year effort intended to save millions in distribution costs, enhance picture quality and increase anti-piracy protections, the Los Angeles Times reported. The agreement, announced today in Beverly Hills by a consortium of seven studios, does not detail who will pick up the tab for changing from film to digital projection. Several financing plans have been discussed as the studios and theater operators wrestle with who should foot the bill for digital projectors and computer equipment. By converting to digital, studios could save hundreds of millions of dollars each year on printing and distributing film.

LAX-Area Cities Propose Deal With L.A.
Cities near Los Angeles International Airport want Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to limit the number of passengers who use the airport and cancel plans for an off-site check-in center in exchange for dropping their lawsuits against the city, the Los Angeles Times reported. A 15-point settlement proposal also asks the mayor to take more steps to lessen the effects of noise, pollution and traffic; spread flights to other airports; and pay legal costs. The cities of Inglewood, Culver City and El Segundo, Los Angeles County and the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion have sued alleging that the environmental studies for the LAX modernization plan understate the effects of noise, air pollution and traffic.

Supervisors OK Development Despite Contaminated Well
Over environmentalists' objections, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to a 2,500-home development in the Santa Clarita Valley despite the recent discovery of underground pollutants in a nearby water well. Heeding the recommendation of county planning officials, supervisors voted to approve the West Creek project after the well's owner pledged to clean up ammonium perchlorate found at the site, the Los Angeles Times reported. Environmentalists expressed concern that an underground plume of ammonium perchlorate will spread to other water wells and could interfere with early childhood development in people who drink the water.

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