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Streaming Media
October 19, 2004

Table of Contents

Laird Creates Video Production System for People with Disabilities
Toshiba Adds New AVM49R Multimedia Reference Platform With Real-Time MPEG-1/2/4 Encoding and Decoding
Acoustica Inc, Announces the Release of Acoustica MP3 CD Burner Version 4.0
Symphony Classes Highlight Sonicfire Pro's Value to Editors
CyberLink Delivers Updated Media Decoder for Windows XP and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005
Sony's New Lightweight Projector Aimed at Pros and Consumers
Pace Develops Full-Featured MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 IPTV Set-Top Box Using The Equator BSP-15 Processor & Dicas Codec Software
Sony Launches HDTVs, Recorders

Laird Creates Video Production System for People with Disabilities

Laird announced the launch of a new system for mounting a video camera on a wheelchair. This system, named VGO, gives a wheelchair user full control over their video camera. This new wheelchair video system helps broadcasters, educators, and AV and media departments meet ADA and Section 508 compliance.

The broadcast video wheelchair system comes equipped with a steel swing-out arm and a camera tripod head mounted on it for safe and steady camera movement. The arm can easily swing out of the way when the user needs to enter or exit their wheelchair. The entire system can be removed simply from the wheelchair by releasing the two locking knobs.

VGO is available with two choices of tripod heads: either a normal hand-operated version, or an electronic head that adds automatic controls of camera start, stop, record, lens focus, and zoom as well as full pan and tilt capability. All of these features are controlled from a cabled handheld remote.

There is an optional 5.6-inch color LCD monitor system and clamp available so users can view exactly what the camera is recording without having to be near the camera.

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Toshiba Adds New AVM49R Multimedia Reference Platform With Real-Time MPEG-1/2/4 Encoding and Decoding

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. announced its fourth TX System RISC Multimedia Reference Platform. Designated AVM49R, the complete reference design combines a powerful, highly-integrated 300 megahertz (MHz) Toshiba TMPR4938 MIPS-based RISC processor with the Vweb VW2010 MPEG-1/2/4 audio/video CODEC chip in a compact 6.7-inch by 6.7-inch mini-ITX form factor. Supporting real-time MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 encoding and decoding, targeted applications include IP set-top box, digital video recorders, personal video recorders, home gateways, and multimedia clients. The AVM49R Multimedia Reference Platform Hardware Development Kit (HDK) is now available for license to multimedia customers seeking to significantly reduce software and hardware development time.

Highlights of the AVM49R reference design include the following:

  • Toshiba 300MHz TMPR4938XB 64-bit RISC processor, which includes an external bus controller (used for NOR flash), direct memory access controllers, an SDRAM controller, a Peripheral Components Interconnect (PCI) controller, a serial input/output (I/O) port, timer/counter control, a parallel I/O port, an interrupt controller, two 10/100
  • Ethernet Controllers (EMACs), on-chip SRAM and an extended EJTAG interface. The built-in EMACs reduce component count, compared to the previous TMPR4925/26 implementation.
  • The TMPR4938XB can scale up to 333MHz for higher system-level performance.
  • Toshiba TC86C001F "GOKU" companion chip, a PCI-to-ATA66, and Universal Serial Bus (USB) 1.1 interface chip.
  • Vweb Corporation VW2010 CODEC chip, a real-time MPEG-1/2/4 audio/video/system CODEC that provides encoding and decoding or simultaneous compression and decompression.
  • MontaVista Software Inc. MontaVista Linux PE 3.1 operating system.
  • Design allows a hard disk drive be added for media storage.
  • Incorporates PCI slot for wireless connectivity or graphics devices.
  • Includes standard S video and composite outputs for Standard Definition television.
  • Mini-ITX form factor board is 6.7 inches by 6.7 inches (170mm x 170mm), and fits in standard chassis.
  • Uses standard ATX PC power supply connector and generates three DC voltages on-board.
  • 1.5 volts (V) for microprocessor and companion chip 
  • 1.8V for CODEC chip 
  • 2.5V for FPGA and CPLD
  • AVM49R Multimedia Reference Platform HDK offered complete with board, design specification, component data sheets, schematics, gerber database, patch for Monta Vista Linux 3.1, CPLD/FPGA source code and documentation.

The AVM49R Multimedia Reference Platform HDK is currently available for customers to license at $10,000.00 per license.

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Acoustica Inc, Announces the Release of Acoustica MP3 CD Burner Version 4.0

Acoustica Inc, announces the release of Acoustica MP3 CD Burner Version 4.0 which features automatic fades for incomplete songs.

Version 4.0 automatically applies a fade out to incomplete songs so they sound as if they were naturally faded out. The software will warn users that it is incomplete by showing the symbol next to it. The new burner allows users to fade and mix each song according to their preferences with slow fades, quick fades, or even no fades.

Also included is automatic boost volume leveling. Version 4.0 will automatically analyze and determine if any song needs boosting. Boosting will help to bring weak songs up in perceived volume. This method is also known as 'dynamic compression'.

Additionally, Version 4.0 can trim sounds to get rid of unwanted applause, advertisements or silence. The user can edit these unwanted extras directly in the software by selecting the sound and then clicking the 'Mixing' button. Simply adjust the "Trim Start" or "Trim End" for the sound and click "OK".

Users can now EQ each song individually with a 10 band graphic equalizer. This EQ does not just adjust how things sound when they are played in Acoustica, but it also adjusts the EQ for the actual burn. And users can change the settings for each song. Give the song a bumping bass boost, or increase the treble for audio books, etc.

The new burner no longer requires users to convert to WAV unless they want to. All effects, processing, and adjustments are burned on the fly, which means that the time to burn an audio CD may be up to two times faster.

Version 4.0 sports a brand new 32 bit floating point accurate sound engine, which will mix and burn songs. All low quality songs are "Anti-aliased" so that they sound good on an Audio CD.

The new 'import' or 'sound scan' allows users to specify the exact folders to look in or search your entire computer. The 'Suggest Folder' option will quickly locate folders that may contain audio files.

OGG is a royalty free format that allows users to rip audio CDs directly to OGG and burn OGG files.

Version 4.0 supports more CD and DVD recorders than previous versions. And if it does not support it with the default engine (Goldenhawk), Acoustica Inc. has a backup-burning engine (Gear) for even added support.

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Symphony Classes Highlight Sonicfire Pro's Value to Editors

SmartSound Software announces that Video Symphony will offer instruction in SmartSound's Sonicfire Pro soundtrack creation solution to its video and audio editing students. Among the classes receiving Sonicfire Pro instruction is the "Introduction to Sound Design: From Theory to Practice" course taught by industry expert and author David Sonnenschein.

The inclusion of Sonicfire Pro in Video Symphony's curriculum further highlights the trend that a growing number of professional film and video editors recognize Sonicfire Pro as an important tool in creating audio backgrounds for their projects. Earlier this year, Avid began bundling Sonicfire Pro with its Avid Xpress Pro, Avid Xpress Studio, and Media Composer Adrenaline software. Additionally, an increasing number of professional projects are using Sonicfire Pro to score part or all of their scenes, including Rick McKay's award-winning documentary "Broadway: The Golden Age".

Editors are increasingly performing multiple tasks in the editing bays and they need solutions to help them increase their work production without sacrificing quality. Sonicfire Pro helps professional editors by fitting SmartSound's royalty-free music to any visual sequence, without sacrificing quality or cost. Sonicfire Pro lets editors work on more projects and finish them faster, while maintaining the high level of quality that they expect.

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CyberLink Delivers Updated Media Decoder for Windows XP and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

CyberLink Corp. announced in correspondence with Microsoft Corp.'s Digital Entertainment Anywhere launch event, an updated version of PowerDVD SE for Windows XP decoder.

Through PowerDVD SE, users of Windows Media Player XP/9/10 can view DVD content by utilizing CyberLink's award-wining MPEG-2 decoder. PowerDVD SE also allows conversion of DVR-MS video files recorded via Windows Media Center Edition to Windows Media Video using Windows Media Player 10. Users can then watch their recorded TV programs on portable media players including Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers.

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Sony's New Lightweight Projector Aimed at Pros and Consumers

Sony's new portable projector is ideal for road warriors and convergence junkies, combining a lightweight design with crisp images for professional presentations during the day and entertainment at home during the night.

Part of the Sony SuperLite LCD mobile projector series, the VPL-ES2 model weighs 6 pounds, 3 ounces and packs into a small case for carry-on convenience. The projector incorporates new set-up features with a 1500 ANSI lumens picture to deliver presentations at sales meetings, training seminars, or in the executive boardroom.

Its multimedia connectivity -- including a video input -- also enables the VPL-ES2 to serve as a home entertainment source.

Focusing on ease of use, Sony's new "Auto Set-Up" buttons take the hassle out of set-up. The lens, tilt, input search, keystone, and pixel are automatically adjusted with a touch of a button. Component video input and six video modes give multiple options to connect to PCs, DVD players, game consoles, and more.

The VPL-ES2 incorporates technology from Sony's new QUALIA 004 projector's cooling system that helps to produce only 30 decibels of fan noise. This helps avoid distraction during presentations. Also, Sony's "off and go" feature allows the fan to continue to run after the power is turned off eliminating the wait for the projector to cool.

VPL-ES2 mobile projector will be available this month for about $1,100.

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Pace Develops Full-Featured MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 IPTV Set-Top Box Using The Equator BSP-15 Processor & Dicas Codec Software

Pace Micro Technology is working with Equator Technologies, Inc., a provider of the programmable and power-efficient system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors for video streaming and image processing applications, and Dicas, provider of MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (AVC) software codecs, to develop a new IP based set top box for operators implementing AVC audio visual services. The Pace DB680, will provide access to a full range of digital TV services such as pay-per-view, video-on-demand and streaming applications.

The DB680 is derived from Pace's common hardware platform, which can support multiple software architectures. It is targeted at network operators looking to rollout real AVC services quickly, without paying a large price premium for the programmable approach while maintaining the option of upgrading as the standard evolves. The DB680 is part of Pace's Digital Broadband Media (DBM) range that is already being used by telcos and broadband IP operators to launch advanced television and multimedia services over existing telecommunications networks.

The Equator BSP-15 chip is a fully C/C++ programmable processor developed specifically for digital media applications. The BSP-15 processor is a complete system-on-a-chip (SoC) device for video-centric applications in consumer electronics, security and surveillance, video-conferencing, and digital imaging. BSP-15 processors are capable of running video and image processing algorithms, as well as operating systems, network stacks, middleware, virtual machines for Java and Internet browsers, meeting all the system software needs of today's media applications without an additional microprocessor. With its set of on-chip I/O, the BSP-15 video-centric SoC eliminates the need for external components, reducing overall system cost. Equator and software partners provide a wide range of codecs supporting standard and high-definition video with multi-codec, low-bit rate compression technology, making the BSP0-15 SoC the processing platform of choice for multi-format video over IP.

The Dicas MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 decoder software is a MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 software component, easy to integrate, and compliant with the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Main Profile, Level 3.It is part of the full Dicas software set for MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, components of which include encoder/decoder software which is also available for Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, OS X and other specific platforms.

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Sony Launches HDTVs, Recorders

Sony Electronics introduced new rear projection HDTV sets and HD digital video recorders, to be shipped this fall as an expansion of the company's Digital Cable Ready (DCR) line-up.

The Grand WEGA micro-display LCD rear projection television category consists of six fully integrated HDTV models, in addition to the two models currently available. Coming in a range of 42-, 50-, 55- and 60-inch screen sizes, these televisions utilize a proprietary LCD Optical Engine with Sony's WEGA Engine system to deliver detailed picture quality from any compatible video source by minimizing the digital-to-analog conversion process, the manufacturer describes. These Grand WEGA models are based on a three-LCD panel technology, providing natural colors and high brightness.

The new Grand WEGA offers:

  • An integrated ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuner for access to over-the-air digital high definition broadcasts, as well as digital cable programming;
  • HDMI technology with HDCP (High Definition Multimedia Interface with High Definition Copy Protection) technology, which is the latest interconnect between digital sources, supporting both uncompressed high definition video and multi-channel digital audio through a single cable. HDMI is an enhanced version of DVI-HDTV and is backward compatible;
  • Digital Reality Creation MultiFunction circuitry, which provides control over the level of DRC circuitry depending on quality of input signal, displaying clear, stable images; WEGA Engine technology with MID-X Multi Image Driver, which maintains the integrity of a converted signal by minimizing image loss in the scaling process and provides flexible Twin-view picture and picture features; CineMotion reverse 3:2 pulldown circuitry for optimum film-based video source display; and
  • A Memory Stick media slot for convenient JPEG and MPEG1 file playback. It can also display customized slide show with MP3 file background music. The new sets are compatible with Memory Stick PRO and Memory Stick Duo media formats.

For the 10 million existing HDTV owners seeking access to digital cable high definition content, Sony is also announcing a new line of HD digital video recorders. The new recorders, the DHG-HDD250 and the DHG-HDD500, will provide access to encrypted high-definition and standard-definition digital cable services when paired with a digital decoder device and a digital cable subscription. They also provide access to analog cable services, as well as such non-subscription services like high definition digital terrestrial and analog broadcasts.

The DHG-HDD500 digital video recorder can record and store up to 400 hours of standard definition (SD) programming or at least 60 hours of maximum bit rate high-definition content with its 500 GB of storage capacity. The DHG-HDD250 will record up to 200 hours of SD programming and at least 30 hours of HD content on its internal 250 GB hard drive. The DHG-HDD500 and DHG-HDD250 will also include:

  • Pause, rewind and record live high-definition TV with no recording subscription fees and no equipment rental
  • Free TV Guide On Screen interactive program guide with easy program searching and automatic scheduled recording (where available);
  • HDMI or Component (YPbPr) high-definition outputs;
  • Several standard-definition analog outputs for connection to recording equipment or analog TVs; and
  • Multiple display formats and flexible aspect ratio settings for outstanding reproduction of all broadcast formats on a wide variety of DTVs.

The Grand WEGA line consists of the KDF-42WE655, KDF-50WE655, KDF-55WF655, and KDF-60WF655 models. These sets will be available this month for about $2,800, $3,300, $3,700 and $4,000, respectively, while the step-up KDF-55XS955 and KDF-60XS955 models will be available later this fall for about $4,000 and $4,400. The DHG-HDD250 and the DHG-HDD500 digital video recorders will be available this fall with MSRPs of about $799 and $999, respectively.

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