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March 05, 2004

Table of Contents

Univenture Presents The New UniKeep Disc 5
Toshiba Introduces TLP-S70U Projector
CyberLink Introduces Power2Go Data and Music Burning Application
Alias Reduces Educational Pricing on Alias SketchBook Pro
eWAN 1, Cocom Announce Digital Media Centre Products
Low-Pin, Hi-Speed USB Interface Endorsed By Connectivity Providers
Cinram Signs Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Agreement
New Video Compression Encoder Now on Texas Instruments Digital Media Processor
Welcome to the Heyday of 8X DVD Recording… Sort of

Univenture Presents The New UniKeep Disc 5

Univenture, Inc., the award-winning inventor and manufacturer of a wide array of media packaging solutions, announces the addition of the UniKeep Disc 5 to its product line. Since its introduction, the UniKeep Disc 10 has gained worldwide acceptance and popularity. Building on this success, Univenture's product development team responded to customer needs by developing the UniKeep Disc 5. The new, affordable, disc wallet has the capacity to house up to 5 discs and graphics while incorporating all the hallmark features that have made the UniKeep Disc Wallets such a success: integrated interlocking rings, durable polypropylene construction and stackable bookshelf design.

The UniKeep Disc 5 is perfect for packaging, archiving and transporting multidisc sets. Along with the Disc 5, Univenture offers a wide range of other UniKeep based storage solutions in a variety of sizes including 10, 40 and 80 discs. All UniKeep disc storage products are compatible with Univenture's own Safety-sleeve disc storage products and can flexibly accommodate varying quantities of discs.

www.univenture.com

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Toshiba Introduces TLP-S70U Projector

Toshiba's Digital Products Division has announced the latest addition to its projector family, the TLP-S70U. Toshiba's newest projector fills out the company's line-up of high performance projectors, offering ultra brightness in an SVGA image format. Designed with educators and business professionals in mind, the TLP-S70U projects a radiant 2,000 ANSI lumens and is priced at just $1,399.

The Toshiba TLP-S70U includes a host of multimedia features such as composite and S-video inputs, audio in, and an internal speaker that enable users to liven up any presentation. The TLP-S70U also can be enjoyed away from the office or classroom. With a 4:3 aspect ratio--the same as any game console--the projector creates an entire new experience for watching sports or playing video games on the weekends. Ready to go out of the box, the TLP-S70U also comes with a standard remote and one touch auto set-up to get your presentation started quickly and easily. Additionally, a special monitor output connector allows users to view presentations from both the projected image and an external display, convenient for teachers who need to keep an eye on students while presenting.

The Toshiba TLP-S70U will be available in April for $1,399 and comes standard with a two-year warranty and soft carrying case. All Toshiba projectors are available through Toshiba's enterprise sales team and authorized distributors, dealers, VARs, retailers or mail-order outlets.

www.toshibadirect.com

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CyberLink Introduces Power2Go Data and Music Burning Application

CyberLink Corp.announced the availability of Power2Go. CyberLink Power2Go enables users to copy discs and burn data, music, and files on a range of disc media, including CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs. Music tracks can be ripped from CDs onto a hard drive, either as WAV, MP3, or WMA files. The software also includes built-in disc authoring letting users edit their movies and personalize their discs with menus and chapters.

Power2Go delivers convenient functionality via two independent interfaces. The first, called Power2Go Express, allows users to simply drag-n-drop data, music and movie files for burning and double-click an icon for easy disc copying. Each of these four functions is represented by a cube-like icon on the desktop, which can be moved independently around the screen, and will cling to each other-as if magnetized, for easy grouping on the desktop. Visible changes to their operation status also appear on the icons for added convenience. If users are seeking more advanced functionality, the choice of a full-featured power mode offering configurable settings is available too, letting users access utilities for actions such as ripping files and erasing discs.

www.gocyberlink.com

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Alias Reduces Educational Pricing on Alias SketchBook Pro

Alias, a Silicon Graphics Inc. company, announced special educational pricing for Alias SketchBook Pro, the sketching, annotation and presentation software for Tablet PCs and Wacom tablets. Following a restructuring of its education program in July 2003 to provide affordable and accessible Maya and StudioTools learning packages, Alias is now expanding the program to include reduced pricing on Alias SketchBook Pro for both students and faculty.

Alias SketchBook Pro provides the latest in accurate digital sketching technology for industries such as industrial and product design, architecture, computer graphics, animation, game development and fashion design. Students looking to break into these industries can benefit from combining tools like Alias SketchBook Pro and a Tablet PC or Wacom tablet to hone their skills and develop a portfolio of exceptional creative work.

Reduced from $199.00 US ($179.00 for a downloaded version), Alias SketchBook Pro can now be purchased by students and educators at the following prices: · Single seats: $149.00 US per seat · 10 to 50 seats: $129.00 US per seat · 51 to 99 seats: $99.00 US per seat · 100+ seats: $79.00 US per seat

www.alias.com
www.journeyed.com

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eWAN 1, Cocom Announce Digital Media Centre Products

eWAN 1 Inc. and Cocom have announced the release of the DMC (Digital Media Centre) Family of products. The DMC is a new generation of media system -- combining the functions of set-top box, personal computer, home audio, media storage, DVD player, on line gaming, residential gateway, personal video recorder and telephone in a single platform. The DMC 200 is a new generation of media system -- combining the functions of set-top box, personal computer, home audio player, media storage, residential gateway and telephone in a single, easy to use, platform.

The DMC product range is a family of five products, starting with an IP STB (Set Top Box) device extender, the DMC-50, the DMC-100 DSL ready STB, and the DMC-200 multi content MPEG-2 and Windows Media-ready digital video broadcast platform, that enables digital entertainment that consumers can enjoy when and how they want. Cocom's Digital Media Center (DMC) is a managed home entertainment system that enables the delivery of new services over cable, satellite, digital terrestrial and broadband networks. The DMC delivers to stores and distributes all forms of multimedia content. Combining the functions of set top box, personal video recorder, home audio player, PC, media storage, DVD player, residential gateway, personal organizer and telephone in a single, low cost, easy to use, platform.

The DMC 100 is the entry level Digital Media Center, designed as a thin client designed for media applications -- combining the functions of personal computer, home audio player and residential gateway in a single, easy to use, platform. The DMC 100 is positioned to work in hostile environments where silent operation, lower power utilization and small footprint are requirements.

www.cocomgroup.com

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Low-Pin, Hi-Speed USB Interface Endorsed By Connectivity Providers

Leading universal serial bus (USB) connectivity providers--including ARC International, Conexant, Mentor Graphics, Philips, Standard Microsystems Corporation (SMSC), and TransDimension Inc.--developed and announced a new USB transceiver interface called UTMI+ Low Pin Interface (ULPI). These companies are the founding members of the ULPI working group. In addition, Cypress, Synopsys, and Motorola have recently verified the specification and joined the group. ULPI allows chip and system designers to connect a Hi-Speed USB transceiver to USB core logic embedded in application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and systems-on-chip (SoCs).

The ULPI specification covers USB host, device and On-the-Go (OTG) implementations. Today, USB is the most widely deployed connection interface for quick transfers of information on PCs, printers, digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), MP3 players, cell phones, monitors, and other digital consumer electronics products. USB allows consumers to easily establish high-speed connections between products to transfer digital files such as pictures, multimedia content and data. By using the ULPI standard interface instead of proprietary interfaces, ASIC and SoC designers will reduce design time, simplify testing and ensure interoperability with USB transceivers. ULPI specifies a 12-pin interface between host, device and OTG functionality on an ASIC or SoC and an external USB transceiver. As a result, more USB functionality can be integrated, leading to a reduction in the pin-count of the transceiver from 100 pins to approximately 30.

www.philips.com

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Cinram Signs Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Agreement

Cinram International Inc. announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. for DVD and VHS manufacturing and distribution in the United States and Canada. With more than 4,000 movies, MGM boasts the world's largest library of modern films, including the James Bond, Rocky, Pink Panther and Legally Blonde franchises and award-winning works by prominent directors such as Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman.

In 2003, MGM commanded 17 percent of domestic library DVD market share, second among all studios. Upcoming features from MGM and its specialty subsidiary United Artists include Barbershop 2, Walking Tall, De-lovely, Golden Globe winner Osama, and Be Cool.

www.cinram.com

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New Video Compression Encoder Now on Texas Instruments Digital Media Processor

WWComs, Inc., a leader in quality and efficiency for video codecs based on Texas Instruments (TI) digital media processors, announced the availability of its codec, the BC-264, running the H.264 baseline profile video encoder on a single TI TMS320DM642 digital media processor. Benefits of using H.264 video codec technology over H.261 and H.263 are numerous and include up to 65 percent decreased bandwidth at exceptional picture quality. T

he announcement of the BC-264 codec for H.264 baseline encoding on a single digital media processor strengthens the business case for customers migrating to this technology for IP-based video telephony applications. The BC-264 codec was developed for IP-based video conferencing, IP-based video phone, mobile devices and live streaming applications, where latency and exceptional video quality are major factors. Current implementation will run at full D1 resolution with a constant or variable bit rate range of 64kbs to 4 Mbps. The BC-264 has full support for NTSC and PAL with a frame rate of 30fps and 25fps respectively. WWcoms H.264 main profile codec for the broadcasting industry will be available in the near future.

www.wwcoms.com
www.ti.com/3p

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Welcome to the Heyday of 8X DVD Recording… Sort of

The CES 2004 show in January saw the announcement of several brands of 8X DVD recording media from such giants in the field as Verbatim, Sony, and Memorex. The Verbatim announcement was already a couple months old; Ricoh, too, had "introduced" 8X DVD+R media in Q2 2003. But could you buy it anywhere in North America?

Late February brought another wave of announcements, highlighted by original CD-R patentholder Taiyo Yuden weighing in with its own announcement of DVD-R and DVD+R discs certified for 8X recording. But availability was still suspect.

There's always been a time lag between announcements and availability, not to mention availability and availability in volume. Plextor tried to circumvent that problem with its first 8X recorder, the 708A, which wrote at 8X to 4X media, and a few other vendors promised the same. But that was a temporary solution at best. With NAB approaching, more than likely bringing announcements of other writable DVD innovations that will set media manufacturers a-scrambling—notably, new recorders offering "double-layer" DVD+R DL capability, and potentially others boasting 12X DVD+R—what's the real story for picking up 8X DVD media on the, uhh, street?

Again, if historically proven patterns hold, when 12X becomes the leading edge, 8X will become mainstream, specifically with drives offering 8X in both formats. Pioneer announced the first 8X DVD±R recorder with the A07, but other manufacturers soon followed suit, and Sony most recently chimed in with a downloadable firmware patch to its popular DRU-530 series (http://sony.storagesupport.com/dvdrw/dru530adwn.htm) that enables users to upgrade from 4X to 8X in the DVD-R department without having to buy a new drive. Seems like everybody's got one these days—a recorder boasting 8X capability in one format or both. But as we head into the (temporary) heyday of 8X DVD recording, how easy is it for users to acquire media that's actually certified to write at that speed?

The Taiyo Yuden announcement, heralding their new line of 8X DVD-R and DVD+R media, brought them into a group that includes, at this writing, Verbatim (DVD-R and DVD+R), Ricoh (DVD+R), Sony (both), Pioneer (DVD-R), Memorex (both), HP (DVD+R), and Ritek (DVD+R). According to some online listservs, several online vendors said they had Ritek DVD+R media in January, but their stock turned out to be mislabeled (or inaccurately advertised) 4X discs.

By early March, 8X DVD+R media wasn't quite so elusive, though 8X DVD-R still appeared to be fairly scarce. CDdimensions.com had Verbatim 8X DVD+R media available in bulk quantities of 100-500 and 600-1100. Pricing was still high—$2.28-2.32 per disc in those sizeable quantities, roughly 30 cents per disc higher than 4X discs from the same manufacturer. Another media distributor, www.cdrdvdrmedia.com, offered bulk Verbatim DVD+R media for comparable prices, as well as Ritek 8X DVD+R and PioData 8X DVD-R with pricing as low as $3.39 in quantities of 500. Meritline.com also stocks the 8X PioData DVD-Rs (again, $3.39 at max quantities), and several brands of DVD+R. Supermediastore.com, cdrom2go.com, , have nothing faster than 4X. Shop4tech.com has Ritek 8X DVD+R as low as $1.59 in bulk (500+), but nothing else faster than 4X. Cdrom2go.com offers a great deal of off-brand (USDM and Acme) DVD+R media for as low as $1.22 in bulk, several non-8X representatives of Verbatim's and Taiyo Yuden's lines, but nothing faster than 4X from name manufacturers or in the DVD-R format. Issidvds.com, an online media reseller specializing in bulk sales and supplying CD duplication and printing equipment, was the only online sales outfit I found stocking inkjet-printable 8X media; they had Verbatim 8X DVD+R printables for $2.34 in quantities of 50.

What conclusions we can draw from this survey are partly predictable and partly not: 8X DVD+R is farther advanced into the channel than 8X DVD-R (no surprise); online media vendors who also sell 8X DVD±R drives, by and large, aren't selling supporting media for the -R side; and whatever Memorex, Sony, Taiyo Yuden, HP, and Ricoh producing for 8X media, they aren't getting it into these Web sales channels, at least not yet. Memorex doesn't have 8X media on its own Web site yet. Sony as well has only 4X media at www.sonystyle.com. Taiyo Yuden still has its 2003 product catalog on www.taiyoyuden.com, so naturally there's no 8X media, DVD+R or DVD-R, in site.

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