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Streaming Media
October 18, 2005

Table of Contents

The DVD Writer: HD Camcorders--Writable Blu-ray Disc vs. HD DVD
Primera Technology Announces Bravo XR Disc Publisher
FOCUS Enhancements Announces Availability of First High-Definition DTE Recorders
Adobe’s Proposed Acquisition of Macromedia Clears U.S. Department of Justice Review
Popwire Technology releases Compression Master 3.2
Music 2 Hues Announces New Products
Apple Introduces the New iMac G5
SmartSound Launches the Film Composer Series with Music of Veteran Composer Richard Band

The DVD Writer: HD Camcorders--Writable Blu-ray Disc vs. HD DVD

We all know that writable Blu-ray Discs (BD) store a lot more information than HD DVDs. But does it really matter? When it comes to employing them in next-generation high-definition (HD) camcorders, it certainly does.

Predictably, debate over the relative capacity merits of BD and HD DVD centers on truck-and-trade prerecorded 12cm discs. Single-layer (SL) HD DVDs hold 15GB and dual-layer (DL) 30GB while equivalent BDs accommodate 25GB and 50GB respectively. HD DVD's space deficit puts its promoters on the defensive insisting that, with advanced MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1 video compression, capacity is just fine for distributing TV shows and Hollywood movies. I'll leave that one for the industry politicians to duke out, but HD DVD's inferior capacity is most certainly a drawback for writable technology uses—especially blue laser HD camcorders that will rely on physically smaller 8cm discs.

Existing standard-definition DVD camcorders have limitations but still are popular, thanks to their tremendous convenience. Above all else, it's their ability to shoot ordinary 8cm discs that can be immediately taken to almost any DVD player or computer for viewing or editing that makes them so endearing. New devices which will add blue laser HD DVD or BD capabilities promise the same for HD filming.

DVD camcorders are most criticized, and rightly so, for offering only limited uninterrupted recording time. For example, depending upon the unit and video quality setting, only 18 to 60 minutes of continuous material can be fit on a disc. Thus, it's crucial that next-generation blue laser HD camcorders offer as much storage space as possible.

The DVD Forum has yet to define specifications for writable 8cm HD DVDs. When they finally get around to it, discs are expected to be 4.7GB (SL) and 9.4GB (DL) in size. In contrast, the Blu-ray Disc Association already lays out BD equivalents with considerably more spacious 7.791GB (SL) and 15.582GB (DL) sizes. There's even the future possibility of four (31.164GB), six (46.746GB) and eight-layer (62.328GB) types. Practically speaking, multi-layer discs of any description will be exotic and expensive for some time to come, so the more material that can be crammed on a single-layer disc the better.

To keep costs down, lower encoding/decoding overhead, and ease transfer among devices, next-generation camcorder manufacturers will likely employ MPEG-2 compression. As such, single and double-layer HD DVDs will continuously record roughly 33 and 66 min (720p) or 25 and 50 min (1080i) of material, while equivalent BDs will be far more compelling at 55 and 110 min (720p) or 42 and 84 minutes (1080i).

In addition to shooting video, most digital camcorders function as still-image cameras. With resolutions upwards of four megapixels, many camcorders take credible photos and, at the rate technology is advancing, it's not hard to envision HD models eventually doubling or quadrupling this quality. JPEG and other compression techniques help chop down files to manageable sizes but hobbyists increasingly prefer taking their pictures in raw formats. Raw files are desirable since they capture unprocessed information from the camera's sensor, thus acting as digital negatives that can be more extensively tweaked after the fact. But enormously sized image files result. For example, nine-megapixel photos create 5MB JPEGs but the same images balloon to 20MB or more in raw format. Obviously, with stills and video competing for the same storage space it doesn't take a lot of material to chew up a disc.

Undoubtedly, MPEG-4 AVC and/or VC-1 compression will become feasible at some stage to significantly increase the video recording times I've described. However, rival storage technologies will equally benefit. Given this cold reality, optical disc camcorders must offer as large a capacity as possible if they are to credibly compete with magnetic tape and, more menacingly, the quickly rising tide of flash memory and hard drive-based units. I'd hate to see the optical storage industry cede yet another market to its competitors for lack of foresight.

Hugh Bennett (, an EMedia contributing editor, is president of Forget Me Not Information Systems (, 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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Primera Technology Announces Bravo XR Disc Publisher

Primera Technology, Inc. has announced its Bravo XR Disc Publisher. Like Primera's Bravo II Disc Publisher, the Bravo XR automates the process of recording and direct-to-disc printing of up to 50 CDs or DVDs at a time.

A robotic arm transports the discs to the drive for burning and then into the integrated 4800dpi color printer. All supplies and the finished discs are accessible entirely from the front of the unit. This allows Bravo XR to be placed on shelves, on or under counters or even mounted in a standard 19" 4U rack opening with an optional rack mount kit. It has a steel case and frame and a lockable front panel for use in environments in which an extra measure of ruggedness and security is advantageous. Just a few of these applications include data archival and backup, medical imaging, digital photo minilabs, retail music and video download, and kiosks.

Bravo XR incorporates toughened mechanical components as well as an 11-gauge, all-steel front bezel and a black painted 18-gauge steel case. These features deliver a very high level of structural and mechanical integrity. Integrated blue LED lighting clusters and a clear front panel makes it easy to view the disc burning and printing process.

The DVD/CD recordable drive utilized in the Bravo XR is from Plextor. This premium-grade drive delivers high-quality recordings at optimum speeds using CD-R, DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD R Dual-Layer media. To double capacity and offer redundancy, two Bravo XR systems can be stacked on top of each other and operated from a single PC. This not only increases disc output but also saves valuable desk and counter space. An optional rackmount kit is also available.

All supplies and the finished discs are accessible from the front of Bravo XR for easy installation, operation, and supplies replenishment. An integrated blue light illuminates the interior making it simple to view operation. An optional Kiosk Kit allows users to dispense discs out of the front in jobs of up to 50 discs at a time. Or, for disc publishing applications in which the data on every disc is unique, discs can be dispensed one at a time out the front of the unit without having to open the lockable front door.

For Windows users, Bravo XR includes PrimoDVD burning software from Sonic, the world's leading manufacturer of CD/DVD recording software. PrimoDVD has a range of professional authoring and mastering tools for both CD and DVD burn and print jobs. Labeling software called SureThing(TM) CD Labeler Primera Edition is also included for graphic design. Or, users can design disc graphics in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and CorelDRAW, among others. CharisMac's Discribe software for the Mac is also included. Templates for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are also included.

The Bravo XR Disc Publisher is priced at US$2995 MSRP. The Rack Mount Kit is US$99.95 and the Kiosk Adapter Kit is US$59.95. For control from other software applications, programmers can integrate Bravo XR by utilizing Primera's PTBurn DevSuite. This comprehensive API for Windows XP/2000 provides full control of Bravo XR's burning, printing and robotic functions. PTBurn DevSuite is available at no extra cost to registered developers. The Bravo XR Disc Publisher is available immediately from Primera's Authorized Resellers and Distributors in more than 80 countries.

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FOCUS Enhancements Announces Availability of First High-Definition DTE Recorders

FOCUS Enhancements, Inc. has announced that its FireStore FS-4 HD and FS-4Pro HD Portable Direct To Edit (DTE) disk recorders are available, through FOCUS Enhancements' distribution network. The new DTE video recorders are designed for HDV videographers involved in wedding and events, independent film, HD television production, corporate video, government, and education.

FOCUS Enhancements' FireStore FS-4 HD line of Portable DTE recorders is the latest extension to its industry-leading FireStore family of DTE studio rackmount, shoulder mount, and SD handheld recorders. The FS-4 HD delivers HD and DV acquisition solutions from the field to the editing room, enabling videographers to record HDV or DV streams directly to disk from leading HD video camcorders and decks including Sony's HVR-Z1U HDV camcorder and JVC's GY-HD100U ProHD camcorder via FireWire. FireStore then connects directly to Mac/Windows-based editing systems, allowing video professionals to edit content directly from the FS-4 HD. Users can choose from the most popular NLE file formats including standard definition Avid OMF, Canopus AVI, Matrox AVI and more, as well as high definition 720p or 1080i MPEG2 transport streams (.m2t). "

The new FS-4 HD DTE recorders feature a 40GB (3 hour) internal disk drive and the FS-4Pro HD recorders offer an optional 80GB (6 hour) internal disk drive, all in a small, shockproof chassis. FS-4 HD recorders are lightweight, weighing about one pound including the battery, and are only 1.5-inches thin. Videographers can easily mount the unit to their camcorder using the optional hot-shoe clip-on adapter or attach it directly to their belt. The FS-4 HD features a removable Li-Ion battery pack, sixteen front panel buttons with VTR-like controls, a back-lit status LCD display, multiple control modes, a six second retro-cache, user definable function keys, extensive playback features and support for HDV and DV25 based DTE.

The FS-4Pro HD offers the same feature set as FS-4 HD, but also includes up to ten seconds of retro-cache, retro disk, loop record, user definable folders for scene marking, and support for additional DV25 DTE technology file formats including Avid DV-OMF and Pinnacle AVI.

FireStore FS-4 HD, FS-4Pro HD 40GB and FS-4Pro HD 80GB recorders are available through the worldwide FOCUS Enhancements dealer and distributor networks for a US MSRP of $999, $1,395 and $1,795, respectively. FireStore FS-4 SD models are upgradeable to HD in the field by purchasing a simple download for a US MSRP of $299. For more information on FOCUS Enhancements and its products, visit

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Adobe’s Proposed Acquisition of Macromedia Clears U.S. Department of Justice Review

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) and Macromedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: MACR) have announced they have received clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for Adobe's proposed acquisition of Macromedia.

The closing of the transaction remains subject to regulatory approval in a few European jurisdictions. The companies continue to anticipate the transaction will close sometime this Fall.

On April 18, 2005, Adobe announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia in an all-stock transaction. Pursuant to the terms of the acquisition agreement, holders of Macromedia common stock will receive 1.38 shares of Adobe common stock for each share of Macromedia common stock they own at the closing of the acquisition. In August, the stockholders of each company voted in favor of the transaction.

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Popwire Technology releases Compression Master 3.2

Popwire Technology has released the latest version of its media desktop coding software Compression Master, which enables the media professional to produce content for DVD, Internet, mobile phones, music services, television, or any other type of digital media.

With Compression Master the reliability and speed of server-based video encoding is brought to the desktop. Compression Master converts to and from all common formats such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Quicktime, DV, H.264, H.264 Main Profile, 3GPP, Flash, Windows, Real Media, and High Efficiency AAC.

Among the new features in version 3.2, customers will find a refined user interface, extended format support High Efficiency AAC, HDV and H.264 Main Profile with B-frames and CABAC. As the H.264 standard are being used more widely in the market, Popwire ensures that customers can use Compression Master 3.2 to produce content for the latest hit devices such as the video enabled iPod media player from Apple.

Compression Master 3.2 fully supports multi threading operation on dual processor Macintosh computers which will further improve coding performance, and the user can now choose which drive to use for scratch disk. "

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Music 2 Hues Announces New Products

Music 2 Hues has released new additions to its Flagship Series production music line. 

The two new titles, CINEMATIC and SPORTS ROCK, are now shipping worldwide.

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Apple Introduces the New iMac G5

Apple has unveiled the new iMac G5 which features a built-in iSight video camera for out-of-the-box video conferencing and the debut of Apple's Front Row media experience.

Front Row gives users a simple, intuitive and powerful way to play their music, enjoy their photo slideshows, and watch their DVDs and iMovies, as well as popular movie trailers from and music videos and television shows purchased from the iTunes Music Store, on their iMac from up to 30 feet away using the new bundled Apple Remote. The new iMac G5 comes in a sleek, new design that is even thinner than its predecessor, and starts at $1,299.

Apple's  Front Row media experience uses the bundled Apple Remote to let users enjoy the content they have on their iMac—including songs from their iTunes music library, slideshows of their photo albums in iPhoto, videos including Podcasts, iMovies and DVDs, and popular movie trailers streamed from—all from up to 30 feet away. And with iTunes 6, users can now purchase and download music videos, Pixar short films and hit TV shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" from the iTunes Music Store and watch them on their iMac using Front Row.

Front Row is controlled using the Apple Remote, which has only six buttons, compared to remote controls for Microsoft's Media Center which typically have over 40 buttons. With its built-in iSight video camera, the new iMac G5 provides video conferencing right out of the box using Apple's iChat AV software.

The new iMac G5 also includes Photo Booth, Apple's fun-to-use new application that lets users take quick snapshots with the built-in iSight video camera, add entertaining visual effects with the touch of a button, and share them via Mail, save them in iPhoto, or use them as icons in iChat or Address Book. The refined design of the new iMac G5 is now up to 1/2-inch thinner and 15 percent lighter than the previous generation.

The new iMac G5 line includes a 17-inch model with a 1.9GHz PowerPC G5 processor for just $1,299 and a 20-inch model with a 2.1 GHz PowerPC G5 processor for just $1,699. Both models now come standard with a SuperDrive with double-layer support for burning professional-quality DVDs, 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory expandable to 2.5GB, hard drive storage capacity up to 500GB, and ATI Radeon X600 PCI Express-based graphics with 128MB of dedicated video memory. System memory is easily upgraded via a convenient access door along the bottom edge. Offering the latest high-performance I/O, the new iMac G5s include built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet for high-speed networking, built-in AirPort Extreme for 54Mbps wireless networking, built-in Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, a total of five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire 400 ports.

The new iMac G5 includes Apple's Mighty Mouse, featuring up to four programmable buttons and an ingenious Scroll Ball that lets users scroll in any direction—vertically, horizontally and even diagonally. Every new iMac G5 also includes iLife ‘05, Apple's suite of digital lifestyle applications; Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger," the world's most advanced operating system; and a collection of productivity and entertainment titles including AppleWorks, Quicken 2006 for Mac, 2006 World Book, Photo Booth, Nanosaur 2 and Marble Blast Gold.

ilability The new iMac G5 line will be available next week through the Apple Store (, Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers. The new 17-inch 1.9 GHz iMac G5, for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US), includes:

  • 17-inch widescreen LCD display
  • 1.9 GHz PowerPC G5 processor
  • 512MB of 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2.5GB
  • 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • ATI Radeon X600 Pro with 128MB DDR memory
  • built-in iSight video camera
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • 160GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm
  • built-in stereo speakers and microphone
  • and ships with infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

The new 20-inch 2.1 GHz iMac G5, for a suggested retail price of $1,699 (US), includes:

  • 20-inch widescreen LCD display
  • 2.1 GHz PowerPC G5 processor
  • 512MB of 533 MHz DDR2 SDRAM expandable to 2.5GB
  • 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • ATI Radeon X600 XT with 128MB DDR memory;
  • uilt-in iSight video camera
  • built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.0+EDR; 250GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200RPM
  • built-in stereo speakers and microphone
  • and ships with infrared Apple Remote, Mighty Mouse and Apple Keyboard.

Build-to-order options and accessories include up to 2.5GB DDR2 SDRAM, 250GB and 500GB Serial ATA hard drives, AirPort Express, and AirPort Extreme Base Station, Apple Wireless Keyboard, Apple Wireless Mouse, Apple USB Modem and the AppleCare Protection Plan. The new iMac G5 line is also available to education customers in the US and Canada through the Apple Store for Education at or by calling an Apple education sales representative at 800-800-APPL.

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SmartSound Launches the Film Composer Series with Music of Veteran Composer Richard Band

SmartSound Software, Inc., the leading provider of music and technology for visual content creators, today announced the launch of the Film Composer Series, a new royalty-free music library which gives filmmakers access to scores created by leading industry composers. The Film Composer Series gives access to full, rich and high-quality scores for major film and television productions.

SmartSound is launching the Film Composer Series with six volumes of music from composer Richard Band. Band has more than 25 years of experience, scoring such films as "Re-Animator", "Troll" and the "Puppet Master" franchise, as well as the TV shows Walker, Texas Ranger and Stargate SG-1. The six volumes in the Film Composer Series: Richard Band collection are Vol. 1: Action Adventure, Vol. 2: Horror, Vol. 3: Drama, Vol. 4: Suspense, Vol. 5: Comedy, and Vol. 6: Family.

The Film Composer Series music is enabled to work exclusively with SmartSound applications, including SmartSound Sonicfire Pro. These applications use SmartSound's patented technology to deliver multiple arrangements of every track, precisely edited to fit to the length of any scene without altering the tempo. The arrangements are complete musical pieces, with true beginnings and endings. This gives filmmakers enhanced flexibility and productivity, inspiring creative freedom when working with music throughout the editing process.

Individual CDs from the Film Composer Series: Richard Band can be purchased for $99.95 or as a three-pack for $249. For a limited time, SmartSound is offering the entire six-CD set for an introductory price of $399. Anyone interested in learning more about the Film Composer Series: Richard Band or ordering music can visit

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