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Streaming Media
October 15, 2004

Table of Contents

Sony DVDirect Combines Desktop and Standalone DVD Burning
NEC Solutions America Introduces DVD Recorder
Digitope Software Converts Analog Media To Digital
Sonic AuthorScript Licensed for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
K-Tek Expands line of Boom Poles
Discreet Ships Version 7 of 3ds max
Verbatim Shipping Certified 1-16x DVD+R Media
Panasonic to Manufacture DVD-RAM Discs in U.S.
Ulead and Leitch Collaborate on Non-Linear Editing System

Sony DVDirect Combines Desktop and Standalone DVD Burning

On October 12, Sony announced DVDirect, a groundbreaking DVD recorder that—if it performs as advertised—sets a new standard for versatility in a DVD recorder. The new drive, which features the same vertical configuration of most recent Sony external desktop drives, combines features of desktop and set-top burners in a single unit. In addition to state-of-the-art recording speed (16X DVD+R and 12X DVD-R with a forthcoming firmware update) and 4X DVD+R DL support, the DVDirect can also connect directly to a camcorder or VCR for on-the-fly DVD+VR burning, including both pre-recorded material and live streams.

"This product was picked and pieced together from technology developed a few years ago in San Jose for Video CD recording," says Robert DeMoulin, marketing manager for branded storage products in Sony Electronics' IT Products division. As the limited appeal of VideoCD-based products became evident, Sony "put it on the shelf," DeMoulin says, where it sat for some time before the company decided to "dust it off and update it for DVD."

For PC-based DVD recording, the DVDirect (model VRD-VC10) operates just like any other external USB 2.0 drive, and comes with Sony's now-standard Nero software bundle. In standalone mode, consumers should find much that's familiar as well. "For anyone who's ever dubbed a cassette tape," DeMoulin says, working with DVDirect will be "a very familiar experience." For real-time standalone recording, DVDirect uses DVD+VR mode, which allows DVD project parameters to be set on-the-fly. +VR recording limits standalone use of the drive to DVD+R media, which may confound some users who've grown accustomed to dual-format drives that will record to virtually any media you throw at them. DeMoulin says it will require some modifications to the drive to add -VR support, and such an upgrade will probably be available roughly a quarter after the drives' release.

For real-time recording, DVDirect offers MPEG-2 hardware encoding for DVD in three modes: HQ (10Mbps--one hour SL, two hours DL); SP (4.6Mbps—two hours SL, four hours DL); SLP (1.6Mbps—six hours SL, 12 hours DL). There's no scene detection, but the drive will automatically set chapter points at five, 10, or 15-minute intervals. Users can also set chapter points manually with the click of a button. DVDirect will then add a thumbnail for the newly set chapter to the DVD menu, using the "first non-black frame" in the chapter.

Other features of DVDirect include synchronized dubbing, which enables the drive to start and stop automatically with most camcorders and VCRs based on when it receives a video signal. The drive also records discs with an AutoPlay function that allows users to bypass the menu and go straight to the movie. A/V inputs include composite (yellow RCA jack), S-Video, and two-channel analog audio.

DeMoulin says Sony is positioning DVDirect primarily as a consumer drive, but he sees potential professional applications as well. For example, he says wedding videographers could use it to make "a rough cut disc at the end of a shoot," which they could then "give to the bride and groom to take on their honeymoon." And given the growing live event duplication industry, DVDirect could form a link in the chain for live mastering of a DVD disc for subsequent duplication and printing.

Sony plans a late November ship date for DVDirect, and an MSRP of $299, which includes the drive and full Nero software suite for using it as an external USB 2.0 desktop drive. As with other DVD±RW models, Sony will sell the drive through resellers and retailers throughout the U.S., mail order catalogs, online outlets, and Sony's own store at

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NEC Solutions America Introduces DVD Recorder

NEC Solutions America will enter the consumer hardware market in the U.S. with the introduction of the ND-3500A, a 16X DVD+-R/RW dual-layer internal DVD recorder. The ND-3500A is a DL-capable 16X DVD+-R/RW drive, which is compatible with all major PC brands and supports all formats of media, the company claims.

The 16X drive will be available for the price of $99.95.

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Digitope Software Converts Analog Media To Digital

Digitope announces the release of Media Digitalizer, a program for the Windows operating system that records analog media into a wide range of audio file formats. Media Digitalizer creates WMAs, MP3s, Wave files, TunePaks, and audio CDs from LPs, cassettes, and other analog media. With Media Digitalizer, all components are integrated, with no need to use separate applications for recording, editing, and encoding.

Media Digitalizer features include adjustable recording times, both automatic and manual track detection, the ability to combine multiple recordings onto one CD, and the ability make more than one type of media from a single recording. Media Digitalizer also includes support for two sided media, so the user can record both sides in a single recording.

Media Digitalizer includes integrated support for both WMA and MP3 formats, support for MP3 ID3 tags, including formats 1 and 2, and support for advanced MP3 encoding options. It has fully adjustable CD burning speeds, from 1X up to the user's drive maximum, and supports al CD sizes.

Media Digitalizer is available for $25.

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Sonic AuthorScript Licensed for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

Sonic Solutions has announced that Sonic AuthorScript has been included in Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Microsoft's consumer operating system. Sonic AuthorScript is integrated within Media Center Edition 2005, giving the ability to burn recorded TV shows, videos, and photo slideshows to DVD directly from the Windows Media Center Edition OS. Additionally, AuthorScript automatically optimizes DVD video quality to perfectly fit the selected shows onto a disc.

AuthorScript also incorporates Sonic's SmartStyles technology, which replicates the Media Center Edition user interface in the DVD-Video disc menus, giving users a consistent and familiar experience when they play the DVDs they create. AuthorScript also enhances the Windows Movie Maker feature of Windows XP Media Center Edition, enabling users to burn their edited videos to DVD directly from within Windows Movie Maker.

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K-Tek Expands line of Boom Poles

K-Tek introduces Avalon Boom Poles for ENG, EFP, and DV production. The Avalon series shares the technology of K-Tek's other multi-section boom poles.

Based on the concepts of the K-Tek Klassik boom pole series, the Avalon family utilizes high-grade aluminum tubing to offer many of the same quality features in an affordable package. K-Tek's coupling system achieves maximum holding power with minimum torque, the company claims, and the unique "captive collett" ensures jam-resistant coupling. Every unit is fitted with the company's unique pole top featuring cable retaining slots and a replaceable stainless steel threaded mounting stud.

The new Avalon Boom Pole series range from three to five sections, from 12.5 to 23.5 ounces, and from 5'9" to 9'2" maximum length. Each model is also available with an internally wired coiled cord, a Nuetrik female XLR on the top pigtail, and a Switchcraft male XLR in the base.

Avalon Boom Pole prices start at $135.

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Discreet Ships Version 7 of 3ds max

Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc., has begun shipping the latest version of its professional 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software package, 3ds max 7. Discreet claims significant advancements and optimizations to its core features, enhancing workflow for film, television, games, and visualization.

Key new features in 3ds max 7 software include Normal Mapping, Mental ray 3.3, character studio, Parameter Collector and Editor, Edit Poly Modifier, Snapping Workflow, Reaction Manager, and Enhanced Interactive Performance and Scalability.

3ds max 7 software sells for $3,495, and upgrade pricing from 3ds max 6 and 3ds max 5 is $795 and $1,295, respectively. Discreet also offers a Subscription Program for access to new software feature extensions, patches, upgrades, and e-learning content for an annual fee.

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Verbatim Shipping Certified 1-16x DVD+R Media

Verbatim Corporation has announced today that it is shipping certified 1-16x speed DVD+R media. The media is certified by the DVD+R/+RW Verification Laboratories Group (DVLG), which provides users with the assurance that Verbatim 1-16x speed DVD+R discs are compliant with the standard's read and write performance specifications. The write-once media can be used at all recording speeds between 1x and 16x, and is compatible with 16X recorders announced by BenQ, Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc., LiteOn, NEC, Plextor, Sony, and others.

The 16x DVD+R media features the proprietary Advanced AZO recording layer technology developed by Mitsubishi Kagaku Media. The patented AZO dye features increased sensitivity to laser light-the key requirement for high-speed recording, as well as a wide power margin which allows very stable recording.

Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, Verbatim-certified 1-16X DVD+R media are available for about $30 per 25-pack spindle.

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Panasonic to Manufacture DVD-RAM Discs in U.S.

In a move designed to further advance the acceptance of recordable DVD products in the DVD-RAM format, Panasonic Disc Manufacturing Corporation of America has begun domestic production of blank DVD-RAM. Initial production of the 4.7GB non-cartridge discs started in September.

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Ulead and Leitch Collaborate on Non-Linear Editing System

Ulead Systems Inc. has announced that Leitch is including DVD Workshop 2 SE, Ulead's professional DVD authoring software, with its VelocityHD HD/SD non-linear editing system. The combination will give Leitch customers tools for full-quality, real-time HD editing and intuitive, creative-centric DVD authoring. The Ulead software offers the ability for improved digital content management and personalization.

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