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Streaming Media
January 06, 2004

Table of Contents

Condre Debuts Stylus PC Publishing System
Plextor Adds MPEG-4 and DivX to ConvertX
Philips Launches New Miniature Audio Jukeboxes
BenQ Unveils New Desktop Displays and Digital Projectors
Cyberlink Adds Windows XP Embedded Support to PowerCinema 3
Vweb Debuts New Digital Home Applications
Ucentric Unveils Whole Home Hi-Def Software Suite
Lexar Introduces miniSD Portable Storage Card
Four Score: Director MX 2004 Delivers JavaScript, DVD

Condre Debuts Stylus PC Publishing System

Condre, Inc., a leading manufacturer of CD and DVD-Recordable duplication and publishing systems, has released the Stylus PC System, a PC-attached automated CD/DVD-R publishing solution. The Stylus PC System is designed with a low-cost, pick-and-place robotic system, Primera inkjet printer, and a customized, GUI software application supported by Windows. Featuring a 120-disc capacity and support for both CD and DVD-R formats, the Stylus PC is now shipping with an MSRP of $2995.

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Plextor Adds MPEG-4 and DivX to ConvertX

Plextor Corporation, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, has announced the next generation of the ConvertX Digital Video Converter, a real-time hardware digital video converter and editing device for personal computers. The Model PX-M402U now supports hardware DivX encoding, converting video to DivX in real time while the video is captured to the computer's hard disk.

This approach is less time-consuming than converting video to DivX after capture using a software encoding program, and allows users to store up to 10 hours of video on recordable DVD discs. The new ConvertX also allows users to edit MPEG-4 and DivX video content, which means users can cut unwanted scenes and add titles, transitions, and special effects.

Other new features include DVD-VR and Edit-on-Disc, which allow users to capture and burn video directly to writable DVD discs and then edit the content off the disc. Users can edit the interactive menus, change backgrounds, and add or delete video from the disc. Users connect a video source--such as an analog or digital camcorder, DVD player, VCR, or television--to one of ConvertX's AV connections, which include RCA Composite Audio/Video Input, S-Video Input. ConvertX automatically converts the analog video into a digital format for editing, authoring, and recording on media.

Video capture formats include MPEG-1 (VideoCD), MPEG-2, (DVD), MPEG-4, and DivX. ConvertX supports major international video broadcast standards, NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. ConvertX connects to host computers via USB 2.0 interface.

ConvertX software is based on InterVideo's popular WinDVD player and WinDVD Creator products. The software walks users through capturing video, editing it, adding titles, transitions, effects, music, and menus, and finally burning the finished product as a DVD (or VCD), mini-DVD, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 ASF, WMV or DivX movie.

The Plextor ConvertX is scheduled for shipment to distributors and resellers in January 2004 with an MSRP of $159. All product packages include unlimited toll-free technical support and one-year full warranty.

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Philips Launches New Miniature Audio Jukeboxes

Philips Electronics has announced two new audio jukeboxes, which it calls the world's smallest micro audio jukebox and lightest recording audio jukebox. The new products, hdd060 and hdd120, use Philips' miniaturized storage technology.

Philips' SuperScroll navigation interface enables fast and precise navigation to the exact music of your choice. The SuperScroll keys have two-level functionality; holding down either the "up" or "down" button activates a scroll accelerator that allows super-fast navigation through the list of stored songs. The user also can find tracks through any preset category: Playlists, Artists, Albums, Genres, All tracks and--with the hdd120--Recordings.

Each Philips portable hard disk audio jukebox features the Digital Music Manager, a PC-based software program that allows users to manage and transfer their music from their PC. For the hdd120, there is an additional feature called EQ Link, which enables users to change the equalizer settings and rename the presets to suit their listening preferences. These changes also will be transferred to the hdd120 at each PC connection.

Philips' new wearable hdd060, its smallest micro audio jukebox, features a 1.5GB (375 MP3 tracks) storage capacity. The hdd060 is 1.8cm thick, weighs less than 95 grams, and is the same length and width of a standard credit card, according to Philips. Users will be able to review track information on the device's 2-bit grey, 128x96 pixel LCD screen. Users also can store data files on the hdd060, making it a portable external drive as well.

Available in February, the hdd060 will have a suggested retail price of $199.99. Also available in February, the hdd120 will have a suggested retail price of $349.

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BenQ Unveils New Desktop Displays and Digital Projectors

BenQ is introducing several products designed "for today's `networked lifestyle'" at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show, January 8-11, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. New product highlights include LCD monitors in four sizes. The BenQ FP767-12 and the FP783 are new 17" LCD monitors that feature 12ms response time. Larger displays featured are BenQ's FP951 19" LCD monitor, the FP2091 20" LCD monitor, and the FP231W 23" widescreen LCD monitor.

BenQ has also extended its digital projector line with two new home theater projectors, as wel as a "crossover" $999 digital projector. BenQ's digital projectors use proprietary BenQ video-processing technology to support the latest DDR DLP chipsets from Texas Instruments. The BenQ PE8710 features the TI HD2+ chipset and PE7800 features the TI Matterhorn chipset, while the BenQ PB6100 is the latest entry into the sub-$1,000 digital projector line.

The BenQ DW800A 8X DVD+RW drive is also showcased at CES. The DW800A delivers 8X speed writing to DVD+R and 4X to DVD+RW.

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Cyberlink Adds Windows XP Embedded Support to PowerCinema 3

CyberLink Corporation, a leading developer of digital video/audio solutions, has announced that PowerCinema 3 now operates in conjunction with Windows XP Embedded, giving consumer device makers the means to develop feature-rich products more quickly. PowerCinema is an all-in-one media solution that adds value to products by providing integrated functionality for watching movies, viewing photo slideshows, ripping and managing music, and controlling digital video.

Time-shifted and scheduled TV and radio recordings will soon be available. Windows XP Embedded is a flexible platform allowing consumer electronics makers to create customized devices based on Windows XP Embedded. Windows XP Embedded reduces entry barriers by using mature PC hardware and software components, while delivering shorter booting and resuming times for end users.

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Vweb Debuts New Digital Home Applications

Vweb, a leading provider of MPEG video compression and broadband video networking technologies, has chosen this year's CES to announce a series of Digital Home applications with its partners, based on its VW2010, VW2005, and VW2002 devices. The VW2010 is an MPEG-1, 2 & 4 Audio/Video/System CODEC and Transcoder chip. VW2005 is an MPEG-1, 2 & 4 Audio/Video/System Encoder chip, while VW2002 is an MPEG-1, 2 & 4 Audio/Video/System Decoder chip.

Together with its customers and partners, Vweb will showcase many Digital Home applications based on Vweb's MPEG-1, 2 & 4 A/V CODEC solutions in the consumer, computer, communication, and industrial surveillance market segments. Vweb's MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 transcoding and transrating technologies enable end-to-end video distribution across wired and wireless networks, including Metro, Long-Haul, Last Mile Broadband and Digital Home wireless access networks.

Partnered with Denon, Vweb will demonstrate a digital entertainment system with Home Media Server and Clients. Coventive/Zao Networks, IP set-top box solution providers, and Alcatel, video-on-demand (VOD) video server and middleware provider, will jointly demonstrate the streaming of MPEG-2/4 bitstreams from Alcatel's OVS VOD server to Coventive/Zao Networks' IP set-top boxes based on Vweb's VW2010 MPEG-1, 2 & 4 A/V CODEC technology. The new IP set-top boxes offer many features, including PVR, Web browser, VOD, video conferencing, surveillance, and live broadcast with two-way, interactive communications.

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Ucentric Unveils Whole Home Hi-Def Software Suite

Ucentric Systems has released its Whole Home High Definition Digital Software Suite of products including the Whole Home high-definition photo application and its ATSC (local broadcast) off-air high definition multi-TV digital video recorder (HD DVR) application. They are showcasing the products along with the Ucentric multi-TV DVR and Whole Home Music 1.0 products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Ucentric's modular Digital Home Software Suite enables media centers, media gateways, multi-TV DVR, and whole home music software solutions. Ucentric works with CE manufacturers and service providers to create connected home products. The Ucentric ATSC off-air HDTV tuning capability gives consumers the ability to record, pause, instant replay, and rewind live local broadcast television with HD-quality programming using an ATSC tuner built into their media centers. The HD photo application provides the ability to download digital photos or access photos stored on PCs and watch them on a television in HD-quality resolution. All HD content is delivered via Ucentric's GUI. "

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Lexar Introduces miniSD Portable Storage Card

Lexar, a leading manufacturer and marketer of high-performance digital media and accessories, has introduced the Lexar Media miniSD card, and retail shipments are beginning in Japan. miniSD is an extension of the SecureDigital (SD) memory format designed to offer flash-based storage for devices with limited internal space for removable memory.

To meet these demands, miniSD occupies approximately 60 percent less area in a host device than the standard SecureDigital card. miniSD is specifically designed for the mobile phone market, which is increasingly adding storage intensive applications to phones including digital cameras, digital video, MP3 players, PDAs, games and email. miniSD is electrically compatible with the existing SD standard and includes the same security features for content protection.

The cards are 20mm wide x 21.5mm long x 1.4mm thick and Lexar's retail packaging will include a miniSD adaptor allowing miniSD cards to function in the broad base of existing SD-compatible host devices. Currently, Lexar Media is shipping 32MB and 64MB capacities, with estimated retail prices of 2,780 yen (US$25) and 4,680 yen (US$43), respectively. Lexar plans to ship 128MB miniSD to Japan shortly after the initial introduction.

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Four Score: Director MX 2004 Delivers JavaScript, DVD

More and more, studios are being asked to take content and produce it for delivery on a variety of platforms, and so DVD authors find themselves working on projects that will also require Web or kiosk interactivity. Macromedia's Director has long been at the forefront of helping studios create multi-format, multi-platform content delivery, and the new Director MX 2004 offers more capabilities than ever, including JavaScript and increased DVD compatibility.

"With the new version, we wanted to give more people access to Director's strengths," says senior product manager Miriam Geller. "With the addition of JavaScript, especially, developers who weren't comfortable with (Macromedia's proprietary) Lingo scripting can use something they're more familiar with." Lingo is still there, of course, but Director now offers full support for ECMAScript-compliant JavaScript syntax, and developers can use both languages within the same project.

Even if they don't use Java, DVD authors who've resisted using Director in the past just might be won over by MX 2004's ability to embed, control and play back DVD-Video format content; no longer must the video be converted to another codec. "We're hoping that DVD developers will find that to be a significant time and space saver," Geller says. DVD playback can be embedded inside Director projectors or in Web pages that use Macromedia's Shockwave player. Using Flash components, authors can choose from three different DVD controller styles as well s creating Web-based playlists for customized, non-linear playback.

Also available is the ability to combine DVD-Video and Web-based presentations. In an early demo shown to the press, Macromedia brought together footage from a Warren Miller ski film with links to current weather and snow conditions on the slopes that were being shown in the video. Other possibilities include synchronizing movie scripts and storyboards with DVD playback, Geller said. Those events can be triggered using Director's DVD Event Manager, a visual tool that eliminates the need for most DVD-related scripting. As far as the interface goes, the most notable addition to Director MX 2004 is the Projector Publishing Panel, with which authors can create and save multiple different settings to apply to various projects, eliminating the need to re-create those settings from scratch on each new project.

In addition to improved integration with Macromedia's own Flash, MX and Fireworks products, Director MX 2004 continues to support QuickTime, AVI, Windows Media, and RealMedia files. For the first time, developers also can also publish the same product for both Macintosh and Windows with a single button click. Finally, content also can be linked to Macromedia server technologies including Coldfusion MX and Macromedia Flash Communication Server for multi-user gaming and distance learning applications.

Available for Macintosh Jaguar or Panther and Windows 2000 or XP platforms, Director MX 2004 will hit the market in February. Prices are $1,199 for the full product and $399 for an upgrade from Director 8.5 or MX. Users who download the product instead of purchasing it on CD have to pay $15 for the manual and an extra copy of the program on disc.

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