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May 10, 2005

Table of Contents

The DVD Writer: DVD±RW DL—D.O.A.?
EIZO Introduces FlexScan L997 LCD Monitor
InterVideo Announces Bundling Partnership with Google
Digital Audio Wave Releases New PC System
Perforce Announces New 2005.1 Software Release
Memorex Adds Protective DuraLayer Hard Coating to Entire Line of Mini DVD Products
VESA Announces Plan to Develop New Digital Display Interface Standard
InterVideo InstantON Technology Integrated with Sony VAIO VGN-AS53B and AS53S Notebooks
Acer Introduces New Range of DLP Projectors

The DVD Writer: DVD±RW DL—D.O.A.?

It would be better if some products never saw the light of day. Certainly, that's the case with DVD rewritable dual-layer (DL) which is scheduled to appear early next year. Sure, manufacturers promise great things, but why introduce yet another soon-to-be outdated technology to cause more problems for a confused market?

The most obvious hang-up for rewritable DL is that it's incompatible with the installed base of devices. This is due to optical signal levels lower than prerecorded media that will require hardware and firmware to be adjusted to accommodate the differences. Analogous to CD-RW's introduction in 1996, neither existing DVD recorders nor DVD players will be able to write or read rewritable DLs.

History repeatedly teaches that such incompatibilities bring only customer confusion. To introduce more chaos into a market as mature and punch-drunk as DVD is beyond understanding. Inevitably, the industry's answer will be simply to concoct a couple of "RW DL Compatible" logos to slap on future drive nameplates and let the chips fall where they may.

What happens when DVD-RW DL and DVD+RW DL formats inevitably come to market at different times? Are we to endure yet another wave of devices working with one disc type but not both? Where does it end? Is DVD-RAM DL in the cards? We already have an asylum full of DVD-R 3.95GB, authoring and general, +R, -RW, +RW, -RAM 2.6 and 4.7 GB, -R DL and +R DL formats (not to mention recording speed, MID code, -VR, +VR, CPRM, and VCPS complications). Why add to this misery?

I'm told that an important use for rewritable DL will be to bump the recording time of new DVD camcorders. While a single-layer disc (8cm), at 1.46GB, captures 20 to 60 min (1.46GB) of video, a 2.66GB rewritable DL takes in 36 to 110 minutes. But hailing this as a great advance doesn't make sense to me. The basic premise for using a DVD camcorder is to create a compatible disc immediately playable anywhere. To cast aside this universality is to prompt consumers to buy the smaller, cheaper, and even more spacious MiniDV tape.

At least existing recordable DL technology is somewhat compatible with DVD players, so why not leave it at that? And rather than wasting time with incompatible rewritable DL, wouldn't manufacturers be better off promoting hard drives for their camcorders? HDDs are becoming tinier, more voluminous, faster, more power-efficient, and cheaper. Instead of a measly half hour, existing camera-ready hard disks—also known as direct-disk recorders or DDRs--can record a half-day at maximum quality while offering true in-camera editing and high-speed transfer to computers and other outboard devices.

Recording favorite TV shows and data backup are also mentioned as possible uses for rewritable DL but current DVD formats and hard drive combinations easily fill most needs. Beyond intrinsic incompatibility, rewritable DLs will be difficult to manufacture, expensive, and scarce, with little chance for improvement. Most importantly, much higher-capacity Blu-ray Disc (BD-R, BD-RE), HD-DVD (HD DVD-R, HD DVD-RW), or a unified blue laser alternative, are just around the corner and may prove rewritable DL to be as irrelevant as was the quickly (and wisely) forgotten Double Density CD (DDCD).

Hugh Bennett (hugh_bennett@compuserve.com), an EMedia contributing editor, is president of Forget Me Not Information Systems (www.forgetmenot.on.ca), a reseller, systems integrator and industry consultant based in London, Ontario, Canada. Hugh is the author of Understanding Recordable & Rewritable DVD and Understanding CD-R & CD-RW, both published by the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA).  

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EIZO Introduces FlexScan L997 LCD Monitor

Eizo Nanao Technologies Inc. ("EIZO") has announced the FlexScan L997, a 21.3" LCD monitor. The generous screen size coupled with a wide range of image control and usability features made possible with EIZO's own ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) ensure the FlexScan L997 is ideal for professionals engaged in CAD/CAM, DTP, or other graphics work.

The FlexScan L997 has a new Super In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel that minimizes color shift and provides wide 170° viewing angles. Brightness is 250 cd/m², contrast ratio a very high 550:1, and pixel pitch a fine 0.270 mm. At a viewable image size of 21.3" and a native resolution of 1600 × 1200, it can display two A4 size documents on screen side-by-side. An ergonomic design includes thin bezel design on all sides of the screen to help save space, tilt and swivel angles of 40° and 70°, and a height adjustable stand with a range of 82 mm. Dual DVI-I inputs are included for compatibility with both digital and legacy analog graphics boards, and a USB hub with one upstream and two downstream ports offers high speed connection with other USB compliant peripherals.

ActiveRotation II - Portrait Orientation Support
Available for the first time with the FlexScan L997, Active Rotation II offers support for portrait mode simply by rotating the panel 90°. EIZO first introduced ActiveRotation in its monitors in 2003, and although it proved to be an attractive alternative to software-based solutions which absorb CPU power and can compromise graphics performance, it required the user to change the settings in the OSD menu to enable portrait mode. To make the feature more user friendly, the FlexScan L997 includes a gravity sensor so it "knows" when it is being rotated, and can automatically change between landscape to portrait orientation accordingly. ActiveRotation II supports both Windows 2000/XP and Macintosh OS 9/X platforms.

ActiveShot - Picture-in-Picture Display
ActiveShot offers picture-in-picture from two PC sources\ so users can perform two tasks at once without having to switch between application windows. ActiveShot comes with Standard and Clip modes. Standard mode shows the entire screen from the second PC source in the sub-window. With Clip mode, the user can select just the desired area of the screen for display in the sub-window. In both modes, the position of the sub-window can be moved as required. The sub-window can be made to appear and disappear at the touch of a button.

14-Bit Processing
The ASIC converts 8-bit data (256 tones for each primary color) received from the PC to 14 bits (16,384 tones) in the ASIC and then back to 8 bits for a proper gamma curve. This 14-bit processing ensures extremely smooth grayscale display even in dark areas which are typically problematic for an LCD monitor to render without banding.

Independent 6-Color Control
Hue and saturation can be controlled individually for each primary (red, green, blue) and secondary color (cyan, yellow, and magenta). With this detailed control, a single color in an image can be adjusted slightly or changed altogether. Emulation of Color Characteristics With color characteristic emulation, the FlexScan L997 can emulate the color characteristics of CRT or other LCD monitors by inputting their coordinates for white, red, green, and blue with the bundled ScreenManager Pro for LCD3 software. This is especially useful for color matching when another monitor is the standard monitor in a workflow or when different models are used in a multi-monitor environment.

For comfortable viewing of any type of content from detailed text documents to color-rich images, the FlexScan L997 includes EIZO's Fine Contrast function which offers five imaging modes: Text, Picture, Custom, Movie, External, and sRGB. Each mode has its own settings for image parameters such as color temperature, gamma, and brightness. Navigating between the modes is done simply by pressing a button on the front panel. A sixth mode, WindowMovie Mode, is accessible through the ScreenManager Pro for LCD software. WindowMovie displays a video player software application at the monitor's maximum brightness setting and the rest of the screen at a lower brightness set according to user preference.

Additional features of ScreenManager Pro for LCD include the assigning any Fine Contrast mode to an application so that when the application is activated, the screen automatically changes to the assigned mode, and control of all OSD functions with the mouse or keyboard rather than the OSD menu.

The FlexScan L997 is now shipping with a 5-year warranty and comes in a choice of gray or black. The MSRP for the monitor is $1,549.

www.eizo.com

 

 

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InterVideo Announces Bundling Partnership with Google

InterVideo, Inc. and leading Web property provider Google have announced a new partnership created to help bring internet and personal search capabilities to PC users with InterVideo's leading line of PC software products. The initial project bundles two recently released Google products with each of four main InterVideo products.

InterVideo will incorporate a Google Toolbar and Google Desktop Search application with four of their robust product lines. Included is the WinDVD DVD playback solution, the WinDVD Creator DVD authoring solution, DVD Copy, and the "9-in-1" utility suite package, MediaOne.

By the end of May, with every new trial and paid installation of these InterVideo products on the Web, users will have the option to install the Google Toolbar application which includes a browser utility search engine for Internet Explorer, a Pop-up Blocker to eliminate annoying pop-ups, and an Auto-Fill to help fill out Web forms instantly, as well as the Google Desktop Search utility that provides a full text search of the user's emails, files, Web history and chats they have viewed.

www.intervideo.com
www.google.com

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Digital Audio Wave Releases New PC System

Digital Audio Wave (DAW) has introduced a new line of PC DAW systems featuring a high performance platform utilizing the BTX architecture.

The DAWin BWX PC DAW delivers improved features for audio professionals for digital audio/video recording and editing applications. The new PC's desktop case is expandable to seven bays and four PCI slots (one PCI Express x16, two PCI, and one PCI Express x1 slot.)

The DAWin BWX also features the new Intel Pentium 4 600 sequence processors that are ready to support 64-bit software using Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology. Also, the new Intel Pentium 4 600 sequence processors have twice the cache (2MB L2 Cache), enabling improved performance, enhanced power management, and improved virus protection.

These new PCs can be customized with the latest high-end features for optimum performance and functionality. Customers can choose several options of SATA hard drives, up to 4GB of DDR2 memory, and up to 1.2TB (1200GB-1.2TB) of storage.

Digital audio is also enhanced through 24-bit 192kHz Intel HD Audio (High Definition Audio for eight channels). Customers can select from multiple optical drives, including a double-layer DVD±R/RW multi-format drive that can burn up to 8.5GB of data on double-layer DVD media, as well as a 7-in-1 memory card reader.

The PC DAW BWX is offered in several customizable configurations with pricing that begins at $999.

www.digitalaudiowave.com

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Perforce Announces New 2005.1 Software Release

Perforce Software has announced that the 2005.1 version of its software configuration management system, Perforce SCM, now enables users to preview multiple versions of an image.

Perforce SCM tracks and manages source code and digital asset development for software and game production environments. The new 2005.1 release offers a thumbnail viewer, which enables digital artists to see differences between an image they are modifying and any version of it that is stored in the Perforce repository.

The built-in thumbnail viewer provides a small version of each revision of an image stored in Perforce, as well as a scalable preview pane so that users can see any version at a larger size without opening the file.

Perforce version 2005.1 will be available to licensed users in late May. Interested developers may download and evaluate Perforce free from the Perforce Software web site without obligation for a 45-day trial. This offer includes free technical support during the evaluation period. A free, fully functional, two-user version is also available from the web site. End-user licenses, including one year of support and maintenance, start at $750 per seat; volume discounts are available.

www.perforce.com

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Memorex Adds Protective DuraLayer Hard Coating to Entire Line of Mini DVD Products

Memorex, a provider of digital media and media accessories, has announced that its scratch-resistant DuraLayer hard-coating technology will be added to the company's full line of compact Mini DVD-R and Mini DVD-RW discs. The coated discs, specially designed for use with direct-to-DVD camcorders, are ideal for amateur and professional videographers who require media that is resistant to on-the-go recording and frequent disc swapping.

Beginning in May, Memorex Mini DVD products with DuraLayer technology will be available in stores nationwide in packages of three DVD-RW discs with mini jewel cases or five DVD-R discs with mini jewel cases. Suggested retail pricing for each pack configuration is $17.99.

www.memorex.com

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VESA Announces Plan to Develop New Digital Display Interface Standard

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has announced the development of a new digital display interface specification for broad application within most forms of displays, including LCD, plasma, CRT, PCs, and projection displays.

Known as DisplayPort, the interface specification will accelerate the adoption of protected digital outputs on PCs to broadly support viewing of high definition and other types of protected content through an optional content protection capability, while enabling higher levels of display performance.

The standard will be designed to enable a common interface approach across both internal and external display connections. Internal connections include display interfaces within a notebook PC or within an LCD display. External display connections include the interface between a source device such as a desktop PC, set-top box, DVD player, or game console, and a display device such as a direct-view flat-panel or projection display for viewing video and graphics.

The DisplayPort standard will also include an optional digital audio capability allowing streaming of high definition digital audio/video content over the interface, and provides performance scalability to enable the next generation of displays featuring higher color depths, refresh rates, and display resolutions.

A group of companies, ATI Technologies, Dell Inc., Genesis Microchip, Hewlett-Packard, Molex Incorporated, NVIDIA, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics, and Tyco Electronics are close to completing the development of a detailed proposal.

It is the goal of this group to submit a comprehensive version of the DisplayPort interface proposal to VESA in the third quarter of 2005. Pending ratification and adoption by VESA, the group intends that the DisplayPort interface standard be available to the industry as an open, extensible standard.

www.vesa.org

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InterVideo InstantON Technology Integrated with Sony VAIO VGN-AS53B and AS53S Notebooks

InterVideo, Inc., a provider of software solutions to consumer electronics and PC manufacturers, has announced that its InterVideo InstantON technology is now shipping with the Sony Type A series, VGN-AS53B and VGN-AS53S VAIO notebooks in Japan.

The type A series from the new Sony VAIO notebooks offers consumers a full digital media center. The Sony VAIO AS53B/AS53S notebooks have integrated a complete entertainment package with InterVideo InstantON. By integrating InstantON with the notebooks, consumers can benefit from instant access of TV, DVD, and CD-Audio playback all from one product. In addition, the notebooks include a remote control that allows users to select their media entertainment programs.

By utilizing InterVideo InstantON as a dual-boot configuration, users can enjoy both CE entertainment features and PC-based computing tasks all in one machine. The Sony VAIO notebooks are also equipped with built in TV Tuner cards that allow users to directly record their favorite TV programs to a DVD disc while in "Instant Mode." The Sony VAIO AS53B/AS53S offers users with instant access to an extensive digital entertainment package from viewing and recording TV programs, watching DVD movies or even listening to audio CDs with superior playback clarity. Playback is enhanced with advanced navigation technology that allows users to skip DVD chapters, fast forward/backward, and pause.

The AS53B/S VAIO notebooks are equipped with a 15.4" WSXGA screen, 512MB of memory storage, 100GB HDD, and wireless internet connection through IEEE 802.11b/g, FeliCa wireless interface. Also, the notebooks include instant AV mode that allows audio CD, DVD, TV and direct recording TV programs onto DVD-RW or DVD-RAM drives.

www.vaio.sony.co.jp/Products
www.intervideo.com

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Acer Introduces New Range of DLP Projectors

Acer America Corporation, a supplier of IT solutions, has announced a new range of portable projection systems for SOHO and SMB environments. The new PD116P and PD525 digital projectors are based on DLP technology and are suited for conference and meeting rooms.

The Acer PD525 digital projector is a large screen XGA display solution delivering increased brightness, portability, and high contrast ratio for supporting the demands of the SOHO and SMB markets. With high brightness level of 2600 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 2000:1, the Acer PD525 produces more consistent color imaging and crisper images over a longer period of time.

The Acer PD116P projector features an integrated innovative digital mirroring chipset which provides an optimized high contrast ratio of 2000:1 and integrated technology to deliver 2100 ANSI lumens. The Acer PD116P also incorporates a range of connection possibilities including PlayStation, VHS, DVD, PC, and TV tuners; moreover, the projector features keystone correction, auto-focus, and auto-synchronization.

All Acer digital projectors can work with 4:3 or 16:9 ratios and are available immediately. The Acer PD116P is priced at $849 while the PD525 is priced at $1249.

www.acersupport.com

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