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November 30, 2004

Table of Contents

My Music Tools Releases Music Trio 2.0
Oy Modilis LTD Announces Development of Industrialized Lightguides with Controlled Viewing Angles
Family Videography a Unique and Lasting Gift for 'Family Elders' Who Have Everything
FVD Format Emerges Based On Sigma Media Processors
Ahead Software's Nero MediaHome Networked PC AV Streaming Media Server Software Receives UPnP Certification
Sony Delivers New HDV Camcorder to European Union
Samsung Announces Portable Widesreen LCD
Asaca Demonstrates 33TB Blue-Laser Optical Storage Library

My Music Tools Releases Music Trio 2.0

Music Trio, as the name indicates, consists of three independent stand-alone modules. One of Music Trio's users called it "the Holy Trinity of digital music software."

The first Music Trio component is AudioConverter Studio, which is an audio CD grabber and music file converter combined. AudioConverter Studio offers one-click grabbing option and can rip and convert audio CD to mp3 files well under 10 minutes even on the older and slower PCs. The conversion goes both ways for mp3 and wav files. CDPLAYER.INI, M3U, and PLS playlists are supported.

To edit mp3 tags, one can use the second component called mp3Tag. This mp3 tag editor is capable not only of editing tags for mp3, wma, and other music files, but it can automatically fill the missing tags by accessing FreeDB and Amazon.com. Other functions include batch renaming/editing, lyrics/pictures support, "unused" mp3 file deletion option, and other perks.

The third component is named the Media Catalog Studio. It's a multimedia organizer that systematizes and categorizes all audio and video files stored with PC hard-drive, CDs, DVDs, tapes, and any other types of storage media. This media organizer is helpful for folks who have hundreds or thousands of media files stored on multiple CDs, DVDs, and other storage devices, and need a fast way to locate a file of interest.

Music Trio 2.0 is available at www.mymusictools.com for free evaluation. A personal license costs US $49.95, a business license costs US $64.95.

www.mymusictools.com

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Oy Modilis LTD Announces Development of Industrialized Lightguides with Controlled Viewing Angles

Oy Modilis LTD announced it has developed a lightguide with controlled viewing angle for TFT-LCDs, resulting in less display components and thinner, cheaper display solutions, according to Modilis.

Modilis has responded to market needs by using its patented, industrialized diffractive optics (DO) solutions, and developing a lightguide solution capable of eliminating the need for the currently used prismatic films for brightness enhancement in TFT-LCDs. These films are a considerable cost factor in today's displays.

Modilis will introduce this product commercially in early 2005.

At the same time, Modilis has introduced the thin and flexible lightguide solution, also based on diffractive optics (DO).

This Modilis-FlexFilm lightguide (thickness of about 0.075mm-0.5mm) has been developed by Modilis for immediate use in TFT-LCDs (digital video camera's, mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, etc.).

Modilis-FlexFilm lightguide is flexible, allowing for new flexible designs of devices and for thin display solutions (especially suitable for clam-shell phone solutions).

It also results in very light display solutions (less weight), and allows for single film lightguide solutions for display lighting, with integrated keypad lighting.

Modilis advertises that both of these latest lightguide solutions boast excellent brightness, uniformity, and white balance, made possible with the use of modulated diffractive optics (DO).

www.modilis.com

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Family Videography a Unique and Lasting Gift for 'Family Elders' Who Have Everything

With the long Thanksgiving weekend ushering in another holiday shopping season, adults once again face the challenge of finding unique Christmas or Chanukah gifts for parents, grandparents, and other senior family members who have seen their fair share of standard presents in years past.

Enter West Bloomfield, MI-based Mayer Video Productions, which specializes in Family Legacy Films.

Owner David Mayer says the content of his films varies, depending upon the specific stories and themes a family chooses to cover. His films can include having family members participate in on-camera interviews, access to archival documents such as photographs and letters, other genealogy-related information as well as audio and video recordings, and the ability to visit historically significant sites such as town gathering places, homes, work environments, schools, houses of worship, and cemeteries.

Typically, pricing for Mayer's Family Legacy Films begins at just under $2,000. For families interested in preserving the memories and stories of an elder family member, simple unedited interviews can be preserved on DVD for less than $500.

In addition to having completed several Family Legacy Films, Mayer is in the midst of two celebrity projects—one on Ruth Adler-Schnee, world renowned designer of fabrics and architectural interiors, and the other on the late composer Elaine Lebenbom, whose "Reflections On A Rainbow" will be performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Nov. 26-28 this year.

Already "in the can" is a 20-minute abridged version of the Ruth Adler- Schnee film, which was screened at Cranbrook Academy of Art's "One hundred Treasures" exhibit.

Mayer's full-length documentary, featuring interviews with the subject, her family and friends, as well as colleagues, curators and scholars of design, covers her experiences as a young child learning at the feet of artist Paul Klee, her family's flight from the Nazis, and her work in America with such luminaries as Walter Gropius, World Trade Center designer Minoru Yamasaki, Eliel Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, and her husband of more than 50 years, the late Edward Charles Schnee.

www.mayervideo.com

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FVD Format Emerges Based On Sigma Media Processors

Sigma Designs announced that Sigma's EM8620L media processor is currently being used as the basis for first generation FVD players. Several manufacturers are gearing up for production of players, which are expected to be sold at retail prices of about $149 (NT$5,000) in Taiwan and about $121 (1,000 Yuan) in China.

The FVD (forward versatile disc) is Taiwan's red-laser based high definition DVD-like format, which was driven by Taiwan's Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance (AOSRA) in conjunction with the government-sponsored Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). FVD based products are being launched in China and Taiwan, with plans for expansion into other worldwide markets in the future, including an unveiling at the coming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2005) taking place in January at Las Vegas. FVD has also attracted the support of Taiwan providers of digital content and several movie publishers in China. Currently, over 20 FVD titles are planned for introduction next month and over 500 titles should be available during 2005.

The FVD format differs technologically from the DVD standard in physical format, compression (encoding) and decoding, and content protection, and therefore is not subject to normal DVD royalty charges. First generation FVD discs will have a storage capacity of 5.4-6GB for single-sided discs and 9.8-11GB for double-sided discs and will support resolutions of up to 1280x720. Second-generation FVD discs are expected to have a capacity of over 15GB and will support resolutions up to 1920x1080i.

Under the FVD format, content will be encoded using Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9) and WMA9 compression algorithms, which currently offers the advanced compression technology at a lower royalty charge than alternatives, according to Sigma Designs. Based on first generation capacities and resolutions, a complete 2-hour high definition movie will fit on a single FVD disc. Additionally, the FVD format secures content using an AES algorithm along with an ID number for each device.

During the FVD format development, Sigma media processors were used as a component for validating the technology, quality, and cost of the prototype FVD player. The first generation FVD platform is based on a reference design using the EM8620L along with a complete suite of disc navigation, decryption, and user interface software. FVD platform design for second-generation players will get a head start in January as Sigma rolls out its new media processor with added support for WMV9 at 1080p resolution along with other enhancements.

The Sigma EM8620L provides a perfect fit for the new FVD players, offering all the video/audio codecs, high definition decode, and system control features. Key features utilized by the new FVD players include:

  • WMV9, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 video decoding up to 720p resolution
  • Video output on composite, S-video, component, and DVI interfaces
  • WMA audio decoding (as well as MP3) with stereo or SPDIF output
  • DRM processing with hardware based AES decryption
  • On-chip CPU, graphics processing, and system control features

Over the past several months, FVD has won support from manufacturers of optical drives in China, and the first FVD players are now being launched by manufacturers from Taiwan and China. So far, companies planning to support the FVD format include leading optical-disc makers CMC Magnetics, Ritek and U-Tech Media, and optical-disc-drive makers Lite-On IT, BenQ, Quanta Storage, and Mustek Systems.

www.sigmadesigns.com

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Ahead Software's Nero MediaHome Networked PC AV Streaming Media Server Software Receives UPnP Certification

Ahead Software announced that Nero MediaHome, a software based media server that provides networked PC users the ability to stream media files from one PC to another, has received the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) certification from UPnP Implementers Corporation (UIC).

Nero MediaHome, released as a free download to Nero 6 users on October 18, 2004, transforms an ordinary home network into a fully functional streaming media center. It allows most audio, video, and image files to be shared via a LAN (Local Area Network), and enables playback wired or wirelessly from the server in Nero ShowTime 2 on networked systems, including laptops and on other UpnP certified devices such as a TV, DVD players, AV receivers, and speakers. Nero MediaHome is the perfect fit to a converging market geared toward the connected digital home.

The UPnP Implementers Corporation is a non-profit corporation that promotes the adoption of UPnP technology by manufacturers of hardware and software products. UPnP certification assures users that third-party products such as Nero MediaHome are easy to install and configure.

The UIC comprises UpnP Forum member companies across many industries who promote the adoption of uniform technical device interconnectivity standards and testing and certifying of these devices. Incorporated in February 2001, the UIC develops and administers the testing and certification process, administers the UPnP logo program and provides information to UIC members and other interested parties regarding the certification of UPnP devices.

www.nero.com

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Sony Delivers New HDV Camcorder to European Union

Sony's first European deliveries of the new HVR Z1E HDV Professional Camcorder will commence February 2005, with over 40 additional benefits (compared with the HDR-FX1E consumer version) for professional users.

Joining the existing DVCAM range, the HVR-Z1E offers users a migration path from Standard Definition whilst retaining the qualities of the popular DVCAM range such as ease of use and i-LINK (IEEE1394) connectivity.

Designed for the professional user, the HVR-Z1E incorporates a number of significant features over consumer oriented products and includes:

  • Switchable recording and playback of HDV, DV, and DVCAM formats, providing the professional user with the flexibility to choose the format that suits the need of their production.
  • 50/60Hz (PAL/NTSC) switchable recording and playback
  • 2-channel balanced audio XLR inputs, with independent adjustment of input levels for each audio channel
  • Color and B/W switchable viewfinder
  • Simultaneous operation of both LCD panel and viewfinder, giving professional users the opportunity to focus shots accurately via the viewfinder while simultaneously framing images via the fold-out LCD panel.

In addition to the professional HDV camcorder, Sony will also introduce a compact Video Tape Recorder - the HVR-M10E. Like the camcorder, the VTR supports the recording and playback of DV, DVCAM, and HDV formats, and incorporates a 16 x 9 colour LCD viewing screen. The compact VTR also benefits from both mains power and battery operation.

Emphasizing the format's suitability for what Sony classifies as low-cost HD migration, both the HVR-Z1E and the HVR-M10E feature HD/SD switchable operation (offering full 1080i resolution), plus on-board down-conversion to output SD or HD signals. For even greater production flexibility, the professional camcorder also supports switchable 50/60Hz PAL/NTSC recording and playback.

The HDV format has gained the support of leading software developers including Adobe, Apple, Avid, Canopus, Pinnacle Systems, Sobey, Sony Pictures Digital Networks and Ulead. The HVR-Z1E and HVR-M10E are aimed at professional videographers, documentary makers and feature film makers working to tight budgets, HDV is also an attractive option for mainstream broadcasters and corporate programme makers needing to acquire HD content in restricted or hard-to-reach locations and HDV also serves as an ideal source for contributing HD content into an HDCAM production environment.

The camera is anticipated to be priced around SRP €5,500 (approx $7,200 USD) in EU countries.

www.sonybiz.com

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Samsung Announces Portable Widesreen LCD

Samsung Electronics has developed a 4-inch screen digital interface LCD with a 16 x 9 screen ratio exclusively for Portable Media Players (PMP).

PMP is a next-generation multimedia player that can play video images downloaded from the Internet at any time, any where in a convenient format, the company describes. Market anticipation for a full-scale portable video player has increased dramatically in recent months. PMP's expanded capacity allows for variety of media player features including music and video.

Made exclusively for the PMP market, Samsung's 4-inch widescreen LCD with a 16 x 9 ratio provides a digital interface with better color gamut and brightness than former models. The LCD panel used for existing PMPs is generally 3.5 inches and has 4 x 3 ratio. When a 16 x 9 Digital Internet Video eXpress (Divx) file is played in the current format, the screen is not fully utilized, particularly at the top and bottom of the screen.

Samsung's research into the most appropriate screen size has found that 4-inch screen work best. A 3-inch screen is hard to view due to its small screen size; a 5-inch screen is too large to fit into a pocket. Since a 4-inch screen offers good view-ability and is easier to carry, it is expected to meet consumers' needs. In addition, its 8-bit digital interface allows for 16.7 million-color video images, and its 50 percent color gamut offers a clear and crisp image display.

Considering that many consumers use PMPs outdoors, the brightness has been enhanced, and visibility is enhanced through TMR (Transmissive with Micro Reflective) mode, which reduces the reflection of sunlight, Samsung describes.

www.samsung.com

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Asaca Demonstrates 33TB Blue-Laser Optical Storage Library

Asaca Corporation introduced a blue-laser optical storage library incorporating bare media from Sony Electronics. This latest addition to Asaca's family of TeraCart optical libraries, the TeraCart PD, is based on a new Professional Disc for DATAT technology from Sony, utilizing cartridge-free media for scaleable capacities ranging from 2TB to more than 33TB in a single library while requiring no more than a four square foot of floor space.

Offering 9MB/sec. write speeds and 11MB/sec.second read, the Sony ProDATA media can store up to 23.3GB of data or the equivalent of up to 2,300 x-ray images (at 10MB per image) onto durable, random access media. The new TeraCart PD is available with both SAN and NAS support, offering the flexibility to start with a single cabinet and expand to as many as eight libraries for capacities reaching hundreds of terabytes. Using pass-through and infrared communications, the libraries can be managed as a single physical unit.

Produced for high-performance professional imaging applications, these new blue laser libraries offer approximately more than four times the capacity of red laser optical storage solutions. A flexible, standards-based solution, the TeraCart PD can be integrated as an essential part of an organizations' overall solution to gain compliance with government regulations including HIPAA.

An alternative to tape libraries, a single bare media Professional Disc for DATA disk can hold up to 23.3GB of data and the libraries can be equipped with one to six Sony ProDATA drives. Acting as what the manufacturer describes as a flexible, scaleable, high-performance solution, the TeraCart PD is also a solution for email archival, enterprise content management, multimedia projects, graphic design, and audio/video editing and authoring.

ASACA's expanded line of TeraCart libraries integrating Sony's professional-grade blue laser technology drives and ProDATA media are now available in three scaleable models; the AM250PD, the AM750PD, and the AM1450PD, offering up to 5.8TB, 17.5, and 33.8TB storage respectively. ASACA's TeraCart AM Series with Sony blue laser and ProDATA technologies are expected to have a starting price of $30,000. Sony's 120mm rewritable and write-once Professional Disc for DATA media stores up to 23.3GB on a single side.

www.asaca.com

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