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Streaming Media
May 20, 2005

Table of Contents

Sony Unveils New HDV Camcorder for Professional Videographers
Sony Unveils "World's Smallest and Lightest" HD Consumer Camcorder
Univenture Announces New UniKeep Retail Presentation Box
Plextor Ships New Low-Cost 16X DVD Burner
Electric Rain Releases Swift 3D 4.5 For 3D Export to Flash and Video
Toshiba Announces its First Network Equipped DVD Recorder With 250GB Hard Disk Drive
InterVideo Offers Free Multimedia Software Suite for Download
Telecast Demonstrates New CopperHead JT

Sony Unveils New HDV Camcorder for Professional Videographers

Sony is expanding its lineup of HDV products for professionals with the new HVR-A1U model, based on a 1/3-inch, 3-megapixel Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) imager. Sony has improved upon the key attributes of traditional CMOS sensors with proprietary technology, and this innovative CMOS device is also accompanied by Sony's Enhanced Imaging Processor (EIP). The EIP enables the high-speed processing required for capturing high-definition video images, and allows an HDV camcorder to record and playback high-quality still images.

The first professional high-definition application of this enhanced imaging technology is in the HVR-A1U model. EIP technology is also at the core of a new consumer product counterpart, the Sony HDR-HC1 Handycam.

new HVR-A1U HDV camcorder complements Sony's first entry into the professional HDV market, the HVR-Z1U. Introduced last fall, more than 37,000 units of Sony HDV products have already been delivered to customers worldwide. The new HVR-A1U model now offers professional videographers another option for the capture and playback of HD images.

The HVR-A1U offers many of the same features as the HVR-Z1U, such as balanced audio, XLR inputs, SMPTE timecode and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* Lens. However, its smaller footprint makes this camcorder ideal for applications where space is at a premium or extreme mobility is required. For example, potential applications may include mounting on a skydiver's helmet or placement on the hood of a racecar. Sony's CMOS sensor produces natural and rich tones for both light and dark areas of an image.

To achieve wide dynamic range, EIP technology employs an algorithm that separates image data into its texture patterns and brightness components. CMOS-based technology helps eliminate the presence of smear, which is created by vertical bands of bright light stretching from the top to the bottom of an image's "bright areas" and occurs when something extremely bright like a pin-point light source is shot.

Sony has reduced the size of the transistors within an image's pixel matrix, allowing for a larger area of the photo-sensitive portion of the pixel and enabling more light to be taken in than with a conventional CMOS sensor. In addition, the Correlated Double Sampling circuits on the sensor achieve extremely low-noise image quality. Sony's CMOS-based sensor circuitry runs at lower voltage and consumes less power than conventional CCD-based processors, resulting not only in longer battery life but also allowing for the use of smaller batteries so the camcorders can be smaller overall.

The HVR-A1U can record and playback HDV, DVCAM, and DV content, with the ability to down-convert footage into standard definition. A wide-screen Hybrid LCD monitor is also included.

Other key features include:

  • Still image capture - Maximum pixel size for still images is 2.8M (1920x1440) pixels in Memory Mode. Users can record 1.2M (1440x810) pixels in Tape and Play/Edit Mode.
  • Histogram Indicator - Users can check the brightness of an object and easily adjust exposure by viewing this graphical presentation.
  • Tele Macro - This feature enables users to capture a macro image from a distance, especially useful for shooting smaller moving objects, and it also provides the ability to make subjects more prominent against a backdrop and to suppress shadow projection.

Sony's highest-quality 6mm videotape, DigitalMaster, is the company's recommended professional media for HDV applications. These 63-minute cassettes (model PHDVM63DM) use Sony's AME (Advanced Metal Evaporated) II Technology and its unique dual-active magnetic layers. By improving on an already successful product, the new AME II manufacturing process employs Hyper Evaticle IV magnetic grains, improved lubricants, and a refined Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) layer. DigitalMaster tape exhibits greater packing density of magnetic grains, higher retentivity, higher output and lower noise. The result is a more robust tape with 60% fewer dropouts and 90% fewer errors, according to Sony.

The HVR-A1U HDV camcorder is expected to be available in early fall, at a suggested list price of less than $3,500.

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Sony Unveils "World's Smallest and Lightest" HD Consumer Camcorder

Sony has announced the "world's smallest and lightest" high-definition consumer camcorder with full HD resolution based on HDV 1080i. The compact HDR-HC1 Handycam camcorder delivers high-definition picture quality and lighting detail on both video and digital still images.

This camcorder's introduction is in response to the growing demand for HDTV. With more broadcasters transmitting high-definition content, the demand for HD has been steadily increasing. In fact, the Consumer Electronics Association estimates that nearly 15 million HDTV sets will be in US households by the end of 2005.

High-definition recording requires fast image processing speeds to ensure a clear, detailed picture, with virtually no loss of picture data. The new HDR-HC1 model features Sony's CMOS imaging sensor technology, designed to deliver faster image processing speeds for richer colors, more vivid detail, and significantly less glare from reflected light. Weighing only about 1-1/2 pounds, the model packs in a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, which further enhances image clarity and richness, even when shooting in low light.

The combination of the unit's CMOS imaging sensor and Sony's Enhanced Imaging Processor technology enables it to capture moving and still images with smoother movements and clearer pictures. These combined technologies also play a key role in this little wonder's compact body design. Because the CMOS sensor consumes less power, the camcorder can be powered with a smaller battery like the model's supplied InfoLithium M battery, which delivers about 90 minutes of continuous recording (depending on recording mode), according to Sony. Sony also designed a circuitry board layout that conforms to the size of the lens and body.

For quick framing and easy image sharing, the camcorder has a 2.7-inch wide hybrid, touch-panel LCD screen to access menu options. You can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios (in DV mode) to see exactly how your content will be viewed on television. Other convenient features include fully automatic controls, a built-in microphone for audio quality, an intelligent pop-up flash, and Super SteadyShot image stabilization.

The camcorder also captures 2.8-megapixel digital still images, which can be stored directly on Memory Stick PRO Duo media for transfer to PCs and other devices.

The HDR-HC1 offers a full complement of manual controls, including a 10X optical and 120X digital zoom, zoom ring, zebra pattern, and spot focus. White balance, shutter speed and focus can all be adjusted manually. The Cinematic mode allows you to record video with a film-like appearance, while the Shot Transition feature allows you to go even further in creating interesting cinematic effects. You can also record your own high definition video in total darkness with Sony's Super NightShot(R) Plus Infrared System, which adds the greatest amount of range and detail to your images in low- to no-light conditions.

Additional features include:

  • InfoLithium Battery with AccuPower System -- Lithium-Ion batteries minimize the life shortening "memory effect" and can be charged at any time. Sony's exclusive AccuPower meter conveniently indicates the remaining minutes of battery life on the LCD or viewfinder display, so you can keep an accurate and constant reading of remaining battery power.
  • i.LINK Digital Video Interface -- The i.LINK (IEEE 1394) DV interface enables high speed, bi-directional digital video/audio communication between two devices equipped with a compatible i.LINK DV interface, including camcorders, professional digital video recorders, and PCs.
  • PictBridge Compatibility -- Printing one or many images is easy with the HDR-HC1 Handycam camcorder, which is PictBridge-compatible. Connect the camcorder to a PictBridge-enabled printer, such as Sony's new PictureStation DPP-FP50, and printing is as simple as pressing the print button. The HDR-HC1 Handycam camcorder will be available in July. Optional accessories will include a full line of accessories, including custom cases, lights, lenses, microphones, Stamina batteries, chargers and cables.

The HDR-HC1 Handycam camcorder will be available in July for "about $2,000," according to Sony. Additional accessories will include a full line of accessories, including custom cases, lights, lenses, microphones, Stamina batteries, chargers, and cables.

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Univenture Announces New UniKeep Retail Presentation Box

Univenture, Inc., a manufacturer of media packaging solutions, has launched a new line of retail packaging. The new presentation box was developed in response to strong customer demand for a dynamic retail packaging product, according to Univenture. The UniKeepT etail Presentation Box incorporates Univenture's 5-Disc and 10-Disc Wallets and is designed for displaying software, gaming, audio books, and DVD discs.

The box's "paperback" dimensions are 7.5"H x 5.5"W x 1.25"T, making it mobile and easy to carry. Storing multiple discs in 5, 10, 20 and 30 disc capacities, this UniKeep product snaps shut to securely protect the contents inside. Product features include Safety-sleeve pages and an optional graphic/index page and pocket. Like all UniKeep products, the UniKeep Retail Wallet is made from durable 100% polypropylene and is curbside recyclable.

The on-the-shelf convenience and easy shipping of the UniKeep Retail Presentation box offers a host of retail and commercial solutions. The new box is built for presenting and packaging video games, movies, educational programs, multiple CD music sets, software, books on disc, and more.

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Plextor Ships New Low-Cost 16X DVD Burner

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, has announced the immediate availability of the PX-740A Series DVD±R/RW drive. Priced at $109 (MSRP), the internal PX-740A DVD±R/RW drive is aimed at mainstream PC users who want reliable, fast performance but don't require the professional recording features found in Plextor's PX-716 Series DVD burners.

The PX-740A delivers state-of-the-art recording speeds of 8X DVD+R Double-Layer (DL) and 4X DVD-R Dual Layer (DL) DVD (8.5 GB), as well as 16X DVD±R on recommended single-layer DVD media. The internal drive features an ATA/ATAPI-5 (EIDE) interface for broad based PC-compatibility. Burst data transfer rates for the internal drive are 16.7 MB/sec for PIO Mode-4, 16.7 MB/sec for DMA-2, and 33.3 MB/sec for Ultra DMA33. A short drive length of 6.99-inches accommodates small form-factor PCs. The PX-740A will be available with either a beige or black bezel.

The Plextor PX-740A Series drive supports 8X DVD+R DL, 4X DVD-R DL, and 16X DVD±R writing; 8X DVD+RW and 6X DVD-RW; and 16X max DVD reading; as well as high-speed 48X CD-R writing, 32X CD-RW rewriting, and 48X max CD reading. The PX-740A drive has a 2MB buffer and features Buffer Underrun Proof Technology to prevent buffer underrun errors and allow multi-tasking. Lossless Linking/Zero Link technology enables users to perform basic editing tasks directly on the DVD disc.

All PX-740A drives ship with the award-winning Nero 6 software suite for burning video, music, photos, and data to DVD or CD. The Plextor bundle includes Nero Express 6 for CD & DVD recording; NeroVision Express 2 SE for DVD video editing and authoring; Nero PhotoShow Express for photo management and editing; InCD 4.2 for drag & drop packet writing; Nero Showtime for video playback; and Nero Toolkit for drive test and speed control.

The Plextor PX-740A drive will ship to distributors and resellers in North and South America in June 2005 with an MSRP of $109. All retail packages include one-year full warranty.

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Electric Rain Releases Swift 3D 4.5 For 3D Export to Flash and Video

Electric Rain, Inc. has announced the release of Swift 3D version 4.5, a standalone application allowing designers to build and export vector and raster-based 3D animations for Macromedia Flash, as well as FLV (Flash Video), QuickTime, AVI, and other popular formats. Swift 3D can now be utilized in conjunction with popular video editing tools such as Adobe After Effects or Apple Final Cut Pro to add 3D elements, titling, and motion graphic effects to video projects.

In addition to providing vector and raster-style video export, Electric Rain reports that Swift 3D 4.5 introduces a host of vector rendering enhancements including pen-style outlines for improved cartoon rendering, adjustable shadow density, and color, realistic transparency, render speeds up to 50 times faster, control over outlines at intersections, support for Level 3 EPS and enhanced SVG output.

Swift 3D V4.5 is available immediately on the Windows and Macintosh OS X platforms. The SRP for Swift 3D V4.5 is $229 USD for the download and boxed CD version. Upgrades from Swift 3D version 4.0 are $79, and upgrades from Swift 3D versions 2.0, 3.0, and Swift 3D Xpress are $129. Swift 3D V4.5 is currently available from the Electric Rain website at

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Toshiba Announces its First Network Equipped DVD Recorder With 250GB Hard Disk Drive

Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. (Toshiba), has expanded its line of digital video recorders and adds networking capabilities with the introduction of the new RD-XS54 Multi-Drive (DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW) DVD Recorder with a 250GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Not only can users record and playback their favorite TV shows and build personal movie libraries with the RD-XS54, they can also expand the recorder's capabilities through other devices and rooms in the home.

The new Toshiba RD-XS54 features an Ethernet port for system networking allowing for greater integration with a PC including the ability to:

  • Dub copy free content from one RD-XS54 to another if both are connected to the same network
  • Stream recorded content or even live programming to a PC
  • Upload custom Menu backgrounds for creating DVD-R/RW discs
  • Edit and add title information to recorded content from a PC
  • Remotely schedule recordings via email
  • Receive automatic software upgrades
  • Use a PC scroll mouse to control the recorder for detailed video editing T

The system networking of the RD-XS54 also gives users the ability to dub copy free content to another room if there are two of the units in the home. Now consumers can record content in one room and watch it in another. Additional features include High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) with up-conversion capability to 720p or 1080i. This upconversion will be performed for all sources whether they are playing back content encoded on a DVD or the HDD, including the tuner and inputs. In addition, the DV input allows the transfer of camcorder recordings directly onto DVD media.

The RD-XS54 also features Toshiba's exclusive EASY NAVI menu, designed to simplify operations by offering direct access to key functions. Also included is the TV Guide On Screen Interactive Program Guide for simple, user-friendly channel navigation and recording scheduling. The RD-XS34 Multi Drive (DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD-RW) DVD Recorder features a 160GB hard disc. To help consumers with their digital recordings, the RD-XS34 features TV Guide On Screen Interactive Program Guide and the EASY NAVI menu. The recorder also offers high-speed dubbing and comes with a DV input for the transfer of camcorder recordings in the digital form.

The RD-XS54 is scheduled to ship in August with an MSRP of $699.99.

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InterVideo Offers Free Multimedia Software Suite for Download

InterVideo, Inc. has announced a promotional offer of their multimedia suite, MediaOne SE edition. For a limited time, InterVideo is offering a free download of MediaOne SE at This broad digital media suite allows users to perform several multimedia tasks including photo management, editing/authoring home videos to CD, creating music CDs, and burning compilations and slideshows to CD for playback on a PC or on a consumer player as a VCD. With just one click, users can take advantage of the Task Intelligent LaunchPad to help them open the correct application and get the task completed quickly and efficiently. Included with MediaOne SE are Discmaster Gold, PhotoAlbum Gold, MediaOne LaunchPad, Smart Backup, and WinDVD Creator Silver.

DiscMaster Gold and PhotoAlbum Gold are simple-to-use software for photo hobbyists and data backup users. DiscMaster Gold allows users to create copies of data, music, and home videos onto a CD or DVD. Equipped with a simplified interface, users can collect data, audio, or video clips, and burn a copy to share with family and friends. Users can create a CD in three steps.

With PhotoAlbum Gold, digital photo users can organize and share digital content with advanced editing features to remove unwanted flaws. Tagging and categorizing hundreds of photos simplifies searching. With its broad media support, slideshows with the selected background music can also be shared by email, print, or onto a VCD.

Smart Backup is a data storage and backup application that users can back up files, folders, partitions, discs, and hard drive to make restoring data fast and easy. Users can also schedule the program to back up data so that MediaOne SE automatically performs regular backup. In addition, users can restore their files to their PC from their last backup.

WinDVD Creator 2 Silver is a light version of InterVideo's video editing solution that allows users to create home videos by simply capturing, editing, authoring, and burning video clips to a VCD. Included with the program is a storyboard or timeline for users to easily see their AVI files or JPEG/GIF files together and enhance the files with special effects including titles, scene transitions, and music before burning onto a CD or their PC hard disc.

Users can purchase an upgrade to the complete 9-in-1 MediaOne suite with additional burning functions and video playback features at Included with the full version of MediaOne is InterVideo's WinDVD playback software, and DVD Copy, a simple three-step software for making identical copies of personal unencrypted DVDs and CDs. In addition, home movies and copy burning content can be saved onto DVDs. MediaOne can also be used to create music content including ripping MP3, WMA, and WAV files to create enhanced audio CDs.

Additional features include Disc Label which allows users to personalize their VCD/DVD with a professional-looking template or the image/content they choose, and the enhanced Direct CD/DVD feature that allows users to simply drag-and-drop files to the disc and start burning directly. Additional add-on packs are available for both WinDVD 6 Gold and Platinum, including a Remote Control that allows consumers to use buttons for playback, fast forward, rewind, scene selections, and volume from the comfort of their couch. The InterActual Add-on Pack which provides access to playback tracks, studio effects, script viewer, printables and photo galleries is also available as an option.

InterVideo MediaOne SE is available now for download. InterVideo MediaOne full version is available at InterVideo's web site, and through leading retail outlets.

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Telecast Demonstrates New CopperHead JT

Telecast Fiber Systems has previewed a new high-definition (HD) fiber-optic transport system designedto give camera operators unprecedented flexibility in high-quality acquisition, whether for film sets, television, and video production, or sports coverage. The CopperHead JT is being developed as a kit that allows the optical block of the Sony HDC-F950 camera to be connected to the camera body via a lightweight tactical fiber optic cable over distances up to 15 kilometers. With this configuration, camera operators have much greater freedom to focus on creativity, while all engineering control and recording of the full-bandwidth 4:4:4 HD signals are handled from a distance.

The CopperHead JT, designed by Telecast with the assistance of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, builds on the Sony HDC F950's ability to operate with the optical block and camera body separated. The system is comprised of a compact housing that transforms the HDC-F950's optical block into a true 4:4:4 camera, equipped with a fiber optic transceiver. A reciprocal transceiver is located at the camera's "body," where all video processing takes place. The two are connected via a small, robust fiber optic cable. "

In addition to transmitting the basic camera signals via the robust fiber optic link, the CopperHead JT is designed also to transport a variety of other data, video, audio, and communication signals - all of the signals required for high-end digital motion picture production-between the camera and the base station. Use of a fiber link rather than bulkier, less durable copper cabling also serves to eliminate all EMI, RFI, crosstalk, ground loops/hum, HF roll-off, and other noise that can affect signal quality.

The CopperHead JT, which will use components and hardware manufactured by Telecast and Sony, is slated to be available for delivery in Q3 2005. The innovative combination of the Telecast fiber linking and Sony camera technologies was guided by the extensive HD production experience of William Lange at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's Center for Imaging & Visualization. His work on specialized deep sea recording projects was key in testing and refining use of the F950's optical block over fiber from a remote point, and his camera was used to prototype the CopperHead JT system that debuted in a technology demonstration at NAB2005 in April and is currently being showcased at HDExpo.

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