Entertainment Section

Cool Pick Hotel

That's Entertainment

Cool Pick Hotel Written by William R. Stanek

Whether you are looking for the latest best seller to curl up with, the hottest movie to watch this weekend, the stats on your favorite team, or hit singles off the billboard charts, the Web is the place to go to find it all. At times, it seems the entire entertainment industry is online doing business in cyberspace. Hundreds of traditional publishers from major conglomerates to small presses have a presence on the Web, along with every major movie, television, and recording studio.

Books, Magazines & More

This tour of entertainment sites starts with the mainstay of the publishing business: books. If you are awed by the superstores, wait till you see the Web's superstores. The largest bookstore on the Web is undoubtedly BookStacks Unlimited. At the Book Stacks Unlimited Web site (www.books.com) you can search, browse, and place orders for any of more than 330,000 books. If that's not enough, you can send e-mail to featured authors at the Book Cafe or get a glimpse of upcoming releases in Fresh Ink.

A Web superstore for magazines and newspapers is the Electronic Newsstand. At the Electronic Newsstand's Web site (www.enews.com) you can browse the current editions of over 300 magazines and newspapers. Publishers that participate in the Electronic Newsstand provide the table of contents and several articles from the current editions of their publications. You can read these articles free, search through archives of previous editions, and place an order for publications--all online.

While superstores for books, magazines, and newspapers are plentiful on the Web, you can also find sites maintained by the publishers themselves. If you are looking for financial information on the Web, the place to go is the Money and Investing Update (update.wsj.com). Money and Investing Update is the electronic version of The Wall Street Journal. Not only does the magazine cover financial news, its does so better than anyone else. You can access Money and Investing Update any time of the business day and find current financial news and analysis as the market is shifting. You can also find articles from the Dow Jones Newswire, The Asian Wall Street Journal, and The Wall Street Journal Europe.

The place to find news about the United States on the Web is USA Today's Web site (www.usatoday.com). At the site, you can find the complete text of articles featured in the current edition of USA Today. The weather page for USA Today has a clickable map that you can use to find weather forecasts for your area. Undoubtedly one of the hottest publisher sites on the Web is Time-Warner's Pathfinder site (www.pathfinder.com). You can spend days wandering through gigabyte after gigabyte of the useful and dazzling information Time-Warner has to offer at the site. Time-Warner publishes an amazing number of books and magazines.

One of my favorite places at Pathfinder is the Time Life Photo Site. The Time Life Photo Site features samples from the 20 million photographs gathered or taken on assignment by Time Inc. photographers. The gallery contains a rotating collection of pictures you can view online. When last I visited, featured categories of photographs included animals, space, the 50s, WWII, and celebrities. The photo collection is a must-see.

Wonderful photography is at the core of the Conde Nast Traveler site as well. If you've ever dreamed of traveling the world or are planning a dream vacation, the Conde Nast Traveler Web site (www.cntraveler.com) is a must see. You will find breathtaking photography combined with terrific articles that will make yearn to get away from it all. The site features a searchable database of vacation paradises that you can wander for hours. You can search the database by keyword or interactively using an atlas with clickable hot spots that can transport you to any resort location in the world.

Movies, Television & Music

The heart of the entertainment industry is in movies, television, and music. The Web is the place to find information on the latest releases, the classic oldies, and new work by hopefuls. Movie producers go all out when it comes to producing Web sites. Time-Warner created an entire site just to promote Batman Forever (www.batmanforever.com). And that's just the beginning. You can visit all the studios in Hollywood without ever leaving the comfort of your easy chair.

The Lion's Den at Metro Goldwyn Mayer United Artists Studios features the latest hits from MGM/UA movies, television, home video, and interactive entertainment. At the Lion's Den site (www.mgmua.com) you can find much more than sneak previews and movie information. MGM/UA has made the site a feast for the eyes and ears. In the multimedia room, you will find dozens of movie clips and hundreds of digitized photographs and sound clips that you can download. For the latest news in the entertainment industry, head off to the Executive Suite. To order souvenirs and memorabilia, visit the MGM/UA Studio Store.

Buena Vista is Disney's production company and as you can imagine, the Buena Vista Web site (www.disney.com) is one of the best sites on the Web. You can browse the site in text-only mode or in living color by turning the graphic features on or off. I highly recommend turning on the graphics if you have a high-speed modem or the patience to wait for images to download. The site contains a wealth of information on Buena Vista's movie studios, including Hollywood Pictures Productions, Touchstone Productions, and Buena Vista International. The site is also the home of Buena Vista Television and Touchstone Television, where you can find the latest information on hit television series like "Nowhere Man."

The Buena Vista site has regular events as well. But the reason you should visit Buena Vista's site isn't for the hundreds of image-laden pages of previews alone, it is for the multimedia you will find there. Featured movies have video clips, still photographs, and trailers that you can access online. Buena Vista's movie clips in QuickTime format are some of the best I've seen anywhere--the best except for those of its parent corporation, Disney.

Sci-fi fans everywhere will want to visit Dominion, the Sci-Fi Channel's presence on the Web (www.scifi.com). If you have a browser that is client-push/server-pull enabled, you'll see flashing lights, moving objects, and an up-to-date program schedule that scrolls across the middle of your screen. The site features much more than programming information for the Sci-Fi channel. You'll find news and reviews on current TV shows, movies, and anything else related to science fiction.

An area of the site you won't want to miss is the Free Zone. At the Free Zone, you will find digitized videos in the increasingly popular QuickTime format, sound files in Sun's AU format, and images in GIF/JPEG formats.

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