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September 09, 2005

Table of Contents

Glass Houses: Automation Becomes Cheaper
Avid Announces October Availability of Native HDV Support
Plextor Ships External 16X DVD Burner
Focus Enhancements Brings Direct To Edit Video Disk Recording To The Studio With New FireStore FS-2E
Quantum Previews MXF-Aware Data Tape Technology For Broadcasters And Video Professionals At IBC 2005
Acronova’s Introduces DupliQ, New Automated Portable CD/DVD Recording System
InterVideo WinDVD 7 Now Supports DivX 6 and New DivX Media Format
Epson Introduces Stylus Photo RX700
Sonic Announces Support for Blu-ray in Roxio Consumer Products and AuthorScript SDK

Glass Houses: Automation Becomes Cheaper

Getting orders fast--that's the name of the game these days for duplicators and replicators alike. Just as Americans thought the economy was picking up, our Southern neighbors have been hit by the ghastly Hurricane Katrina. With already high oil prices, Americans are looking at unprecedented costs this fall. That, of course, comes in the heat of the busy season. The questions on everyone's mind is, "How do I save time and how do I save money and still get my work out on time while growing my business?"

One trend that has emerged in the last two years may provide a helpful solution: more reasonably priced robotics. "Previously, you couldn't purchase an autoloader for less than $10,000. Now we have units between $2,300 up to $6000," says Ryan Swerdloff of Vinpower Digital Inc.

In the past, people just got multiple towers because robotics were so expensive. Robots are eliminating the need for more manpower. Vinpower and some of its competitors are making standalone machines in different sizes with robots that can really meet a variety of needs from the small outfits who only need to do 20-50 discs a day to the large production houses that need to do a thousand discs overnight.

As anyone in this industry knows, replicators are also recognizing that there is market for duplication under quantities of 2,000, and they are looking at these autoloading duplication machines. "With an autoloader, you can duplicate and walk away from the machine. In the past, companies might set up 10 standalone towers, for example, and they would have somebody always there continuously feeding them," says Swerdloff. "One autoloader can take the place of that whole system. Now, you load the blank disc into the spindles and the robotic arm will load and unload all the discs for you. The machine itself will recognize how to duplicate, what type of master it is. Cutting costs in manpower and time devoted to a single task really helps," he adds.

Strictly speaking, says Tom Perksy of Tustin, California-based service bureau Disk Duper, manual towers might be faster. However, his Vinpower autoloaders allow him to add another shift and work overnight, he says. "If you are getting 60 discs an hour, a human with a six-target tower could probably do it faster--maybe 10 more discs in an hour---but is a human going to stand there for 20 straight hours?" he asks. "Your turnaround time will be much greater with an autoloader," he argues.

"When we started duplication, we used towers that had a capacity of 50 input, 50 output and 50 reject," Persky continues. "We couldn't walk away from those for very long. Right now, the availability of low-cost, high-quality equipment has really changed the equation for us. Our reliance in tower duplicators has gone down by 50 percent in the last 6 months. If you are a small business, you are always watching your bottom line for employees. An employee is going to be $30,000 to $50,000 by the time you put in training, health care, and benefits. If you can buy $30,000-100,000 worth of equipment, and you can avoid hiring an additional person. For us, it makes sense."

Primera, whose customer base differs quite a bit from Vinpower's, also continues to introduce more automated products. Primera has recently introduced a hand-fed tower duplicator with seven drives, but its most popular products are automated duplication and printing systems with up to 4 drives. All of Primera's automated systems are sold as print-only or burn-and-print solutions. According to vice president of sales and marketing, Mark Strobel, Bravo II is selling on the street for about $1,800. That product burns and prints up to 100 discs at a time, automatically, overnight. "Before the Bravo, our closest competitor was our own Composer which was about twice the price," Strobel says. "We felt that if we didn't compete with ourselves, someone else would. As a result of the Bravo II, we have been able to expand our market and create more opportunities."

Persky reminds me, however, that no machine is perfect. When an automated machine works right and makes the discs overnight, "It's a joy!" he says. But there are still stumbling blocks at times. That's why the best advice to offer anyone looking into automating their work is to be very concerned about the ability of a provider either to swap out equipment or offer very fast repair service. Good service, after all, is why content providers go to professional duplicators instead of doing it themselves. So before you buy, no matter how low the price, make sure you know what kind of service you will be getting from your equipment supplier!

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Avid Announces October Availability of Native HDV Support

Avid Technology, Inc. has announced that it expects to deliver native HDV editing and workflow support in its PC-based Avid Xpress Pro and Media Composer Adrenaline products by October 17, 2005. Customers who purchase either a Media Composer Adrenaline HD 2.x system with an assurance contract or an Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.x system before October 17 may receive free HDV software upgrades when the release ships next month.

The planned October release of HDV support will be for PC-based systems, and Avid will offer HDV as a free upgrade to customers who purchase either a Media Composer Adrenaline HD 2.x system with an assurance contract or an Avid Xpress Pro HD 5.x system before October 17, 2005. Avid Xpress Pro 4.x customers can purchase the HDV upgrade for $50 US MSRP.

www.avid.com

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Plextor Ships External 16X DVD Burner

Plextor Corp. has announced the immediate availability of the PX-740UF DVD±R/RW drive. The stylish black external drive is aimed at mainstream PC users who want reliable, lightning fast performance but don't require professional recording features.

The concept behind the PX-740 Series drives is simple: give customers very fast recording speed and a high level of reliability, without professional features they don't need. Now customers can choose between the internal PX-740A and external PX-740UF versions. A dual interface supports both Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and full-speed-compliant IEEE-1394 FireWire. Burst data transfer rates of 480 Mbps (USB) or 400 Mbps (FireWire) allow a user to burn a 4.7GB DVD+R disc in approximately six minutes.

The PX-740UF delivers state-of-the-art recording speeds of 16X DVD±R on recommended single-layer DVD media. Users also can burn up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2/DVD video on a single 8.5 GB disk using 8X DVD+R on Double-Layer (DL) DVD media and 4X DVD-R on Dual Layer (DL) DVD media. Plextor PX-740UF Series DVD±R/RW Drive The Plextor PX-740UF Series drive also supports 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL, and 16X DVD±R Writing; 8X DVD+RW and 6X DVD-RW Rewriting; 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-740UF 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. The PX-740UF also supports DVD+RW background format, which eliminates the need to format a DVD+RW disc manually, thus reducing the total time it takes to write data to a disc. Nero Software Bundle Plextor's bundled software package offers ease-of-use and extensive functionality for Windows platforms.

The PX-740UF drive ships with the 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-740UF drive will ship to distributors in North and South America in September 2005 with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $179.00 USD. All retail packages include one-year full warranty.

www.plextor.com

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Focus Enhancements Brings Direct To Edit Video Disk Recording To The Studio With New FireStore FS-2E

FOCUS Enhancements Inc. has announced its new FireStore FS-2E Studio Direct To Edit (DTE) recorder. Available today through FOCUS Enhancements' network of distributors nationwide, FireStore FS-2E utilizes the company's DTE technology to record video to FireWire disk drives in edit-ready, native DV-NLE file formats--elliminating the need to capture, transfer or convert clips prior to the edit stage of production.

Designed as a broadcast tape deck replacement, the FireStore FS-2E features a number of standard audio and video I/O options including SDI with embedded audio, DV25, Component, Composite, S-Video, AES/EBU digital audio and balanced analog audio. FS-2E is designed to interface with standard control protocols such as RS422, RS-232C, AV/C and GPI. FS-2E is ideal for SD or HD (down-converted) video dailies recording, broadcast play-out and as a studio companion to the FireStore line of portable desktop and camera-mount DTE recorders. It is designed to streamline production workflow in high end broadcast, HD video assist, production and duplication houses, film-to-disk transfer, sports/outside broadcast, and government/military applications.

The FireStore FS-2E features an incredibly easy to use, VTR-like interface for a familiar control interface. The built-in disk drive and file system integrates seamlessly with PC and Mac based editing systems. It also can connect to networks via FTP using an Ethernet interface to copy files and control the unit. FS-2E now features an easy to use web interface for control and management of the unit remotely. The FS-2E is expandable providing the ability to daisy chain up to five external FireWire drives for extended recordings and playback.

FS-2E is available now through the Focus worldwide dealer and distributor network for a US MSRP of $6,995.

www.focusinfo.com

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Quantum Previews MXF-Aware Data Tape Technology For Broadcasters And Video Professionals At IBC 2005

Quantum Corp. will preview its award-winning SDLT 600A data tape drive technology at the International Broadcasters Convention, RAI Centre, Amsterdam, at the Fuji Magnetics' Stand 11.111. The first Quantum IT data tape drive specifically enhanced for professional video, the SLDT 600A with DLTxchange merges the familiar benefits of traditional video tape with the cost-effective performance, reliability, and flexibility of Quantum data tape drive technology, according to Quantum.

The DLTxchange enhancement makes SDLT 600A the first MXF-aware data tape drive technology, Quantum reports. By integrating MXF, an industry standard developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the SDLT 600A with DLTxchange supports true IT file-based workflows. Users have direct access to valuable metadata, including timecode, and can retrieve any portion of an archived video clip without having to restore or view the entire file. SDLT 600A is highly interoperable, providing the ready exchange of video assets created and stored with the MXF-enabled acquisition, production, and playout equipment now being widely deployed by broadcasters and video professionals.

www.quantum/DLTxchange

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Acronova’s Introduces DupliQ, New Automated Portable CD/DVD Recording System

Acronova Technology Inc. has announced the DupliQ, a new automated CD/DVD recording system. Weighing less than 10 lbs and smaller than a toaster, the DupliQ is a portable, multi-functional, PC USB-connected automated CD/DVD recording device. Bundled with Nero Express and QFOX, it is capable of offering automatic CD/DVD recording up to 25 discs at a time. Its SDK is also available for access to autoloader controlling. "

The DupliQ is available in many e-tail stores, with an MSRP price between $699 and $799 depending on model.

www.acronova.com

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InterVideo WinDVD 7 Now Supports DivX 6 and New DivX Media Format

InterVideo, Inc. has announced that WinDVD 7 is the first product to support DivX 6 and the new DivX Media Format. WinDVD 7 is the latest release of InterVideo's universal DVD player which recently surpassed a milestone of more than 125 million copies shipped worldwide, according to InterVideo.

InterVideo, a DivX-licensed software partner, has worked closely with DivX to create video and audio editing, creation, and playback software products that will enable users to take advantage of the new multimedia features embedded in DivX 6 and the new DivX Media Format. In addition to home theater-quality playback of DVDs, WinDVD 7 will now be able to display video files encoded with the advanced features of the DivX Media Format, including subtitles, multiple audio tracks, interactive menus, and chapters. WinDVD is prepared to support HDTV and H.264 playback, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10. In addition, WinDVD provides users with home networking interoperability with UPnP playback and the new DivX Media Format.

Future InterVideo releases enhanced with DivX 6 support include the latest version of DVD Copy, which will provide users with the tools necessary to create their own files with DivX Media Format features. The upcoming release of DVD Copy will incorporate the ability to archive, burn, convert, and download videos over the internet by simply providing the URL and selecting the video to copy. In addition, this burning application enables users to create files with features of the DivX Media Format including multiple audio tracks, and interactive menus.

For more information on DivX 6 and the DivX Media Format, visit www.divx.com/divx.

To learn more about WinDVD 7 and other InterVideo products, visit www.Intervideo.com.

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Epson Introduces Stylus Photo RX700

The six-color Epson Stylus Photo RX700 all-in-one ink jet offers a variety of convenient and user-friendly features, including the capability to print on ink jet printable CDs and DVDs. Epson was the first and still is the only inkjet printer manufacturer in the U.S. to include this feature on its photo printers and now is also the first to include this feature on an all-in-one device.

The Epson Stylus Photo RX700 offers Epson Photo Fine technology, an innovation which is currently featured on the popular Epson P-2000 Multimedia Storage Viewer. The Epson Stylus Photo RX700 also gives customers the ability to make reprints and enlargements from slides, negatives and photos, in addition to providing one-step color restoration with Epson Easy Photo Fix scanning technology. MSRP is $399.

www.epson.com

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Sonic Announces Support for Blu-ray in Roxio Consumer Products and AuthorScript SDK

Sonic Solutions has announced broad support for Blu-ray Disc in its Roxio-branded DigitalMedia Archive, Easy Archive and DigitalMedia Studio consumer software products. In addition, Sonic announced its AuthorScript Blu-ray software development kit (SDK), enabling third-party PC application and consumer electronics chip, middleware and application developers to deliver Blu-ray-based recording and playback solutions. 

Support for writing data to recordable BD will be incorporated into Roxio DigitalMedia Archive, the first Blu-ray-capable archiving solution for home entertainment center PCs, as well as into the Easy Archive component of Roxio DigitalMedia Studio, Sonic's easy-to-use yet complete digital media burning solution. Currently shipping in non-Blu-ray versions on PCs from major manufacturers, both products help users to quickly find and back up their personal media such as music, photos, home videos, and TV shows. Roxio will also add Blu-ray support to its CinePlayer line of DVD player software, allowing PC viewing of HD video from Blu-ray Discs.

Sonic's newest SDK, AuthorScript BD Navigator, along with AuthorScript BD Recorder, offer a complete recording and playback solution for PC and CE system and software developers looking to add Blu-ray support to their own products. AuthorScript BDNavigator supports the key playback functions of a Blu-ray Disc title, including play, stop, fast forward, rewind, and chapter selection. AuthorScript BD Recorder supports data recording to BD-RE media, allowing storage of up to 27GB on a single disc, as well as the recording of digital video and HDTV to BD-RE media in the BDAV format. Developers interested in receiving the new AuthorScript Blu-ray SDKs should contact Sonic at authorscript@sonic.com.

www.roxio.com
www.sonic.com

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