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Streaming Media
The Persistence of Memory
Posted Apr 1, 2002 Print Version     « previous Page 2of 3 next »

Kahn envisions a "world of opportunity" that Memory Stick will enable. "Imagine," he says, "you are on remote location in a jungle somewhere. You are taking shots of a white Bengal tiger and you want to get that information to your editor in a studio in New York. You shoot with an MPEG movie mode-equipped camera. It allows you to go back, rewind the tape to the point you want to start your MPEG movie, and hit record. It will take the clip from the DV file and on-the-fly record it to memory stick. It captures that MPEG-1 coding, stores it on the Memory Stick." He continues, "Then it pops out, goes into a laptop, which has a wireless modem, and you can attach the file directly from the Memory Stick and email it to the editor in New York." The whole process, he says, would take about a minute and provide an editor with a valuable head start in developing the project.

While on a vastly different scale, in making Mesopotamia, I was impressed with the ease and interoperability of Memory Stick. Periodically, during the day while shooting, I transferred all of my files from Memory Stick to a Vaio laptop, which recognizes it as "removable media." On the Vaio, I chose the final files that would go into my short film and made my first foray into video editing using MGI Video Wave, a drag-and-drop easy program bundled with Sony's still and video cameras. Video Wave allowed me to edit, touch-up, and order my clips and stills, which I could run with the native audio or theme-appropriate music tracks. Finally, I tossed my MPEG movie back onto the Memory Stick and transferred the film to my Dell PC via a freshly installed Sony's Memory Stick slot-equipped 24x10x40 CD-R/RW drive. Sony bundles B's Recorder Gold with its CD-R/RW drives, and B's offers a VideoCD option, which allows me to burn a disc of Mesopotamia for the archives (and playback on a VideoCD-capable DVD player).

Kahn says the CDMavica does have the advantage of immediate archiving, but says that even with the use of 8cm discs, the size of the cameras remained quite large compared to the Memory Stick alternatives. SanDisk's Lewis thinks that Memory Stick could, eventually, serve as an archival media, but believes that the price point would have to come down significantly (prices range from about $25 for an 8MB stick to about $90 for a 128MB stick). Besides, he also believes that storage is just a starting point for Memory Stick capability and that its small size and extensive interoperability are key to its success.

Memory Stick is more than memory, according to Kahn. "It is a communication protocol," he says, that works under the USB 1.1 spec, which provides max write speeds of 1.8Mbps. and 2.45Mbps max read speed. He says, "It is a means to communicate data as well as to allow peripheral devices to communicate via the 10-pin connection the Memory Stick employs." While it is not, in fact, a port, he says, it does offer "port-like connectivity."

Currently, Sony's Memory Stick devices include laptops, PCs, projectors, mice, televisions, cellular phones, digital music players, printers, PDAs, cameras, and its robotic dog, AIBO. Other companies employ Memory Stick for kiosks, stereos, televisions, DVD players, and car navigation systems.

Memory StickSmartMediaCompactFlashMultiMedia CardSD Memory Card
Weight (g)428-151.52
DeveloperSony ('98)Toshiba ('95)SanDisk ('94)Siemens SanDisk('97)

SanDisk ('00)

No. of pins10225079
Storage Capacity (MB)8-128MB4-128MB4-512MB (1GB type II)4-256MB8-256MB
Copyright ProtectionAdherence to SDMI (MagicGate)IDIDIDAdherence to SDMI
Data Transfer Rate1.8Mbps (Max)
N/A2Mbps burst (R)
1Mbps brst (W)
1.2Mbps burst (R)
800Kbps burst (W)
2.4Mbps burst (R)
2.0Mbps burst (W)

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