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Streaming Media
June 01, 2005

Table of Contents

Connected Media Technologies Receives Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent on ``A Media Validation System''
Avid Launches New Version of Avid Xpress Pro Academic Software
Blu-ray Disc Ready for Cost Effective Manufacturing
ArcSoft Announces the Launch of New Multimedia Conversion Application
ATI Demonstrates High-Definition Video Compression Standard
Sigma Designs Supports CRI's Self-Protecting Digital Content (SPDC) for Next-Generation Secure Media Processors
CyberLink Showcases Solutions for Next-Generation DVD Burning and Digital Home Entertainment
ClearPlay Receives Second Patent

Connected Media Technologies Receives Notice of Allowance for U.S. Patent on ``A Media Validation System''

Connected Media Technologies has announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has notified the company that it intends to award the company a patent for "A Media Validation System." When issued this patent will protect technology relating to a system that provides rewards--including credits and additional content--to owners of authenticated versions of storage media such as DVDs and CDs. The presence of rewards can provide a significant incentive to own authentic versions of DVDs, CDs, and other storage media. Rewarding legitimate owners of storage media can also serve to deter the unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyrighted materials.

This new patent also includes a system by which a legitimate owner of authenticated media can receive reward credits that can be applied toward access to additional content as well as the purchase of more authentic media. The specific inventions covered by this new patent are set forth in the claims of the patent.

Connected Media Technologies has a number of other patent applications pending with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These pending patent applications relate to CD and DVD internet convergence, internet server control and management, digital sound processing, digital imaging, digital imaging management, and other areas.

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Avid Launches New Version of Avid Xpress Pro Academic Software

Avid Technology has introduced a new version of its Avid Xpress Pro Academic software package--a group of HD, SD, DV, and film editing solutions for educators, students, and academic institutions for $295 MSRP. The new software package--which includes Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.1 software for Windows XP with support for SD and HD and Avid Xpress Pro 4.6 software for both Mac OS X and Windows XP with support for DV and SD--extends Avid's HD toolset to education customers. The package also includes the Sonic DVDit 5 DVD authoring application for Windows XP.

The Avid Xpress Pro Academic package includes Avid Xpress Pro HD software, which delivers real-time multicamera editing and support for multiple SD and HD formats and resolutions--such as Panasonic DVCPRO HD and P2, Sony XDCAM, and Avid DNxHD encoding for graphics and effects. Both Avid Xpress Pro HD and Avid Xpress Pro software offer film and video capabilities, including image stabilization and automatic color correction, plus the ability to mix different formats and resolutions on the same timeline.

For students and educators who wish to extend their production skills beyond editing, Avid also offers academic pricing for Avid Xpress Studio HD systems, which start at $995 MSRP. These systems include Avid Pro Tools LE, Avid DVD by Sonic, Avid FX, and Avid 3D to facilitate more extensive education with a range of digital media production tools.

The new Avid Xpress Pro Academic software package is available now through Avid's worldwide reseller channel. The package--which comprises Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.1 software for Windows XP, Avid Xpress Pro software for Mac OS X and Windows XP, and Sonic DVDit 5 software for Windows XP--is available for students, faculty, and institutions for $295 MSRP. A list of resellers can be found at The Avid Xpress Pro Academic software requires academic credentials to install and activate, and the product is not eligible for commercial or free upgrades. Mac support for Avid Xpress Pro HD software is expected later in 2005.

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Blu-ray Disc Ready for Cost Effective Manufacturing

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has announced that acceptance and adoption of the Blu-ray Disc has led to the maturation of the complete disc manufacturing process. Having multiple companies involved with each step has contributed to process improvements and cost efficiencies that bring the long-term cost of manufacturing BD-ROM discs in line with current DVD replication costs, according to the BDA.

The most recent advances come in the area of cover-layer technology, where one of two approaches (film bonding and spin coating) can be used to apply the 0.1mm cover-layer used in Blu-ray Disc.

The spin-coating process, which uses resin to form the cover-layer, is now being piloted in Torrance, California by Panasonic, who, in cooperation with Origin Electric, has developed replication technology and equipment for the mass production of spin-coated discs.

In film bonding, the development of new extruded film technology has reduced film costs. A new film product from Teijin reduces the cost of the cover film to one-third of the cost of conventional polycarbonate materials, and Degussa, a new BDA member company, projects a single-digit Euro cents per disc cost at launch. In addition to these advances in film materials, Lintec Corporation's hard coat material and film bonding process makes the film bonding method more efficient.

With the improvements in cover-layer technology, and in preparation for mass production of BD-ROM discs, Singulus Technologies, a leading manufacturer of replication equipment, has developed replication systems that will target cycle times towards three seconds.

Sony has developed equipment to streamline the disc mastering process by reducing the eleven steps currently used in DVD mastering to five for BD-ROM. This mastering process, Phase Transition Mastering (PTM), requires as little as one-fifth of the space required for DVD mastering and the equipment can be configured to allow mastering of both BD-ROM and DVD-ROM on a single system, according to the BDA. The first two commercial machines are for Technicolor and Cinram for 2005 installation.

With these developments in the industry, replication facilities in the United States are setting up and preparing to mass-produce BD-ROM Discs. Technicolor is establishing a complete pilot BD disc manufacturing process by July 2005. Cinram already has a pilot replication line that produced demo discs for CES 2005 and is awaiting the delivery of commercial lines.

In addition to ramping up for mass production of the 50GB discs that will be available at format launch, Blu-ray has begun work to ensure that the format continues to grow as high-definition technology evolves. Blu-ray companies have successfully demonstrated 200GB discs in a laboratory environment, according to the BDA.

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ArcSoft Announces the Launch of New Multimedia Conversion Application

ArcSoft has announced the availability of a new multimedia conversion application which transcodes and optimizes files on a PC for transfer and playback on portable media players. ArcSoft MediaConverter is a file conversion program that allows users to transfer videos, photos, and audio tracks to portable devices after converting them into those devices' preferred file formats.

The program supports a broad range of multimedia file formats, with customizable conversion options for photo, audio, and video files and includes a step-by-step interface to guide the user.

Video files convert to MPEG-4, ASP, AVI, WMV, ASF, or AVI files. Photos convert to baseline JPEG, and audio files are saved in MP3 or WMA format.

ArcSoft MediaConverter has an MSRP of $49.99.

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ATI Demonstrates High-Definition Video Compression Standard

ATI Technologies is publicly demonstrating high-definition H.264 video playback with hardware acceleration on the PC platform at Computex 2005 in Taipei, Taiwan. H.264 is a video compression standard that will be used in the next generation high-definition video players such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

H.264 is designed to have two to three times the compression efficiency of current schemes such as MPEG-2, while simultaneously improving overall image quality. This increased compression efficiency is computationally demanding, therefore graphics hardware assistance is crucial for real-time decoding of high bit-rate video, according to ATI.

The ATI demonstration at Computex features H.264 playback with Radeon technology and a CyberLink video player application. In addition to hardware acceleration of H.264, the Radeon processor is performing next-generation video processing and demonstrating display capabilities, ATI reports.

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Sigma Designs Supports CRI's Self-Protecting Digital Content (SPDC) for Next-Generation Secure Media Processors

Cryptography Research (CRI) has announced that Sigma Designs is supporting CRI's Self-Protecting Digital Content (SPDC) optical media security technology in Sigma's next-generation SMP8630 series secure media processors. The SMP8630 series is a family of highly-integrated single-chip solutions capable of supporting all major features required for next-generation optical formats, according to CRI, allowing consumer electronics manufacturers to produce players that include the security that HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc players will need to provide content protection for high-definition optical media.

Sigma's new SMP8630 series features multi-stream, high-definition decoding in major codecs, including MPEG-4.10 (H.264), VC-1, and MPEG-2. In addition to SPDC, the chip's security capabilities are compatible with the revocation system proposed by the AACS Licensing Authority.

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CyberLink Showcases Solutions for Next-Generation DVD Burning and Digital Home Entertainment

CyberLink has announced that it will showcase two main themes at the upcoming Computex show: Next Generation DVD Burning and Total Solutions for Digital Home Entertainment.

CyberLink will showcase the newest release of DVD Solution--a suite of DVD applications. DVD Solution combines software from CyberLink for playing movies, editing videos, authoring DVDs, burning data, ripping music, and printing labels.

With high-definition DVD recorders and high-capacity, high-quality discs on the horizon, CyberLink will also display its latest playback and burning applications for HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs across its entertainment product line.

Solutions on display include:

-- Blu-ray and HD-DVD support for both disc burning and high definition video playback

-- Copy-protection technology that enables the authoring and playback of premium content

-- Video editing tools that simplify the editing process

-- Creation of MPEG-4 movie files for playback on the PlayStation Portable

-- LightScribe support for direct-to-disc image etching

-- DVD format support, including DVD-R Double-Layer discs

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ClearPlay Receives Second Patent

ClearPlay has been awarded its second patent (Patent number 6,898,799--Multimedia Content Navigation and Playback) in as many months, strengthening its position in the growing market for filtering of unwanted content from movies. ClearPlay has patent applications pending for seven additional U.S. patents around this core product. The company has also applied for several other patents pertaining to upcoming parental control products for consumer electronics.

ClearPlay introduced DVD filtering technology along with RCA in 2004. It has two new products that will be introduced this summer. The company is a beneficiary of The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, which was passed into law by Congress in April.

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