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Streaming Media
March 25, 2003

Table of Contents

Alera Technologies Introduces New DVD Copy Tower Quad Family
Exatel Announces Pro Dual-Channel MPEG-2 Encoder
Intervideo's WinDVD Platinum Now Available at Best Buy
MPEG-4 aacPlus to Become Part of Future Nero Products
Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Shifting Gears to Boost Personal Video Recorder Sales
Cirrus Logic Launches Advanced Audio Digital-to-Analog Converter Solution
New Cirrus Logic Stereo Codecs Offer Heightened Analog Performance
InterVideo and Sasem Team Up on Bundle for HDTV on a PC

Alera Technologies Introduces New DVD Copy Tower Quad Family

Alera Technologies, developer and manufacturer of Advanced DVD and CD Recording Solutions, has released its new DVD Copy Tower Quad Family of multi-drive 4X DVD duplicators--offering standalone DVD/CD duplication in three-recorder and seven-recorder tower configurations.

In a single unit, the DVD Copy Tower Quad family contains a professional duplicator controller that boasts over 40 control functions that can write on-the-fly simultaneously to either three or seven high-speed 4X DVD-R/RW DVD Recorders without needing a hard disk.

The 1:3 DVD Copy Tower Quad and 1:7 DVD Copy Tower Quad can make up to 3 copies or 7 copies, simultaneously, of a 4.7GB DVD in as few as 15 minutes at 4X DVD recording speed.   The DVD Copy Tower Quad Duplicator controller has over 40 simple-to-use control functions with a backlit display and intuitive menu selection system to satisfy the needs of even the most discerning professional user. At the same time, an untrained user can make quick, one-touch copies by just turning the duplicator on, inserting the source and blank CDs, and selecting "Copy."  No set-up is required.

The backlit LCD display reports the percentage complete and other status elements of each duplicator function. For example, the display indicates when a process will be completed which is particularly useful in duplicating large numbers of discs.

Some examples of the Quad Duplicator functionality include selecting multiple speeds for both Read and Write processes, pre-scanning your source discs for optimum copy speeds, and analyzing source DVDs and CDs showing disc size and other information that make planning the duplication process easier.  "Edit Track" allows users to select audio tracks from several source audio CDs and copy them to as many CDs as desired to make multiple custom compilation discs. Note, the DVD Copy Towers will not duplicate copy-protected materials such as commercial DVD movies.

The 1:3 DVD Copy Tower Quad has an MSRP of  $1599 and the 1:7 Copy Tower 40 has an MSRP of  $3099. Both models are on retail shelves now.


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Exatel Announces Pro Dual-Channel MPEG-2 Encoder

Exatel Visual Systems, provider of digital video solutions, has announced its DVN-2200 second-generation, professional, dual-channel MPEG-2 encoder. The DVN-2200 is targeted at Cable Headends, Satellite Television Broadcast, Digital News Gathering, and other video distribution and multicast applications. Compliance with industry standards enables rapid integration into Cable Headends and Video Broadcast networks. Its compact, 19", 1U, rack-mounted chassis is designed to suit for applications where space is at a premium.

Key features of the DVN-2200 include dual-channel encoding, an internal decoder, DVB-ASI cascading, and an internal video server. Other features include the following:

• Support for simultaneous encoding of two A/V channels on a single multiplexed or two separated DVB-ASI outputs

• Single video-channel encoding with two stereo audio channels on a single DVB-ASI for SAP (Secondary Audio Program) is available

• Support for MPEG1-Layer 2 audio or Dolby AC3 encoding and Closed Captioning (VBI line 21)

• An internal MPEG-2 Decoder that enables real-time monitoring of each encoded stream

• Multiplexing an external DVB-ASI input with the internal encoded streams

• Local control via front panel or remotely through RS232 or USB interfaces

• An internal Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that enables background real-time recording of encoded streams on a local HDD

• Playback available on a local monitor or as DVB-ASI output enabling time-shifted broadcasting

The DVN-2200 is expected in stores in April.


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Intervideo's WinDVD Platinum Now Available at Best Buy

InterVideo, Inc. recently announced that WinDVD Platinum, the latest version of its DVD-playing software, is now available for purchase at Best Buy stores nationwide. The availability continues InterVideo's retail expansion in the United States.

WinDVD Platinum, the latest version of WinDVD, is a software PC-DVD player that combines the features of a standard consumer DVD player and adds advanced audio and video functions. WinDVD Platinum includes must-have features such as time stretching, screen capture, and TV-out support and adds a dozen new extras, including the ability to play DivX with all WinDVD's features and Dolby Virtual Speaker--a new technology that uses advanced algorithms to approximate 5.1 surround sound over two speakers. WinDVD Platinum also adds 24-bit/96kHz audio support for rich, high-resolution audio.


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MPEG-4 aacPlus to Become Part of Future Nero Products

Ahead Software, makers of Nero CD recording software, and Coding Technologies, a leading provider of audio compression technologies for mobile, digital broadcasting, and Internet markets, announced that Ahead has licensed MPEG-4 aacPlus. MPEG-4 aacPlus uses Coding Technologies' Spectral Band Replication Technology (SBR) and is now standardized in MPEG-4 as the High Efficiency AAC Profile.

Users of Ahead's new Nero Digital MPEG-4 technology will soon be able to encode and play back CD-quality MPEG-4 aacPlus audio files at bit rates as low as 48Kbps.

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Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Shifting Gears to Boost Personal Video Recorder Sales

Although blessed with glowing testimonials from a wide range of users, Personal Video Recorder (PVR) products continue to be a rarity in today's living room, according to In-Stat/MDR. However, the high-tech market research firm finds that, while acknowledging this fact, most consumer electronics manufacturers remain committed to PVR products and are currently re-tooling their marketing and product development strategies. Manufacturers are now focusing on the development of PVRs for pay-TV service providers and are further integrating PVR-functionality into existing consumer electronic platforms.

"While the market for PVR products remains modest, annual worldwide unit shipments finally passed the 1 million mark in 2002," according to Mike Paxton, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.  "This was a significant milestone that underlined increasing consumer awareness about the attractions of 'time shifted' video services."

In-Stat/MDR has also predicts that:

• Worldwide unit shipments of PVR products will increase from 1.5 million in 2002 to over 11 million in 2005.  Increasing demand for PVR-enabled Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) boxes will be the primary driver for growth during this period.

• North America will account for over 80% of worldwide PVR shipments in 2003.  This percentage will drop to 55% in 2007, as demand for PVR products increases in Europe and Asia.

• One of the most promising new PVR product segments is the combination  DVD player-PVR.  Introduced in late 2002, In-Stat/MDR projects that unit shipments of these combination products will reach 2.5 million by 2005.

• The satisfaction rate among current PVR users is extremely high.  An In-Stat/MDR survey of existing PVR users showed that 83% of the respondents were either "Extremely satisfied" or "Very satisfied" with their PVR service.

The report, "Personal Video Recorders: Taking the Slow Road to a Bright Future," covers the development and functionality of today's PVR products and offers an in-depth look at key PVR manufacturers and service providers. The report provides worldwide PVR unit shipment and revenue forecasts, unit shipments to specific geographic regions, and unit shipment forecasts by product segment, to include DBS set-top boxes, standalone PVR products, cable set-top boxes, and other PVR products. The report also contains the results of a PVR consumer survey conducted in late 2002.


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Cirrus Logic Launches Advanced Audio Digital-to-Analog Converter Solution

Targeting high-end consumer and professional audio applications, Cirrus Logic Inc. has introduced a high-performamce digital-to-analog converter (DAC), the CS4398, which heightens analog performance.

An extensive feature set and a low price/performance ratio make the CS4398 an effective solution for a variety of professional and consumer audio applications such as DVD players featuring Super Audio CD (SACD) and DVD-Audio support, digital mixing consoles, audio/video receivers, outboard converter systems, and effects processors.

The CS4398 stereo DAC utilizes an advanced, proprietary multi-bit, Delta-Sigma modulator with integrated mismatch noise shaping technology to provide a closed-loop architecture, eliminating the need for dynamic element matching while ensuring premium sound quality by removing any potential audible artifacts. For SACD applications, the CS4398 includes a patent-pending Direct Stream Digital processor that includes a volume control engine that does not decimate the data stream, thereby maintaining the native sampling rate of 2.8224MHz and preserving the integrity of the SACD data format. Also included is an on-chip 50kHz filter that complies with recommendations in the SACD standards. Cirrus' techniques for providing SACD volume control and filtering offer manufacturers the ability to add SACD at no additional cost in the analog section of their products.

The CS4398 provides transparent audio conversion, achieving 120dB dynamic range and 0.0005 percent THD+N. Support for 24-bit conversion, sample rates up to 192 kHz (DVD-Audio) and DSD data (SACD) make the CS4398 ready for next-generation audio formats. Selectable digital filter response with extremely low-group delay, integrated level shifters for direct interface to logic levels from 1.8V to 5V, operation from a 5V power supply and a differential analog output architecture are packaged in a low-profile 28-pin TSSOP package.

The CS4398 is currently in sample production and is priced at $4.32 in 10,000 quantities.


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New Cirrus Logic Stereo Codecs Offer Heightened Analog Performance

Expanding its leadership mixed-signal audio semiconductor portfolio, Cirrus Logic Inc. has introduced two 24-bit, 192 kHz, highly integrated, stereo codec solutions, the CS4272 and the CS4271.

These products give design engineers a solution for a wide variety of high-end audio applications such as multitrack recording systems, effects processors, digital mixing consoles, automotive audio systems, digital video recorders, and other emerging digital entertainment markets.

The CS4272 and CS4271 integrate an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) into a single-chip solution, thereby providing cost-efficiency and system simplification as well as reduced space requirements in board designs. Because both chips share a common footprint, designers can interchange their designs with either solution to vary end-product performance, reduce development costs, and accelerate the time to market.

The CS4272 and CS4271 offer the highest analog performance versus competing market solutions and provide excellent sound quality. The CS4272 delivers dynamic range of 114dB and -100dB THD+N for both the ADC and DAC. The CS4271 employs a single-ended input architecture versus the differential inputs employed by the CS4272, thus achieving 108dB dynamic range on the ADC while maintaining 114dB performance on the DAC. Both products are offered in a low-profile 28-pin TSSOP package, feature 24-bit conversion and support all standard audio sample rates up to 192kHz, making them DVD-Audio ready.

Both solutions operate from a 5V power supply and offer manufacturers the ultimate system flexibility with an on-chip oscillator, output volume control with soft ramp and zero crossing, selectable digital filter response, and integrated level shifters for direct interface to logic levels from 2.5V to 5V.

The CS4272 and CS4271 are currently in production. The CS4272 is priced at $5.57 in 10,000 quantities, and the CS4271 is priced at $4.87 in 10,000 quantities.


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InterVideo and Sasem Team Up on Bundle for HDTV on a PC

InterVideo, Inc. has announced an agreement to bundle its HD Decoder with two of Sasem's HDTV products, the OnAir DTV-2000 and the OnAir DTV-1500, two new bundles that enable consumers to watch HDTV on a PC. The OnAir DTV-2000 and the OnAir DTV-1500, are both available immediately for the Korean HDTV market. The OnAir DTV-2000/1500 are the first commercially available products to use InterVideo's HD Decoder for HDTV applications and supporting the MPEG-2 Main Profile at High Level.

The OnAir DTV-2000/1500 bundles also include a copy of InterVideo's WinDVD, the popular software DVD player, and an application for watching TV.

OnAir DTV-2000/1500 General Specifications:  

• Supports ATSC standard, (HD Stream up to 1920x1080 interlaced and 20Mbps)  
• Supports NTSC
• Supports Composite, S-Video and Stereo Audio Input  
• Supports SPDIF Output through Sound Card  
• Supports NTSC/PAL Video Input
• Real-time D-VHS Recording/Playback (Windows XP only)  
• Supports Digital/Analog Motion Capture & Playback  
• Supports Digital/Analog TV Still Capture (JPEG or BMP file)  
• Supports HD Stream File Play
• Supports Invert Color (Positive mode & Negative mode)  
• Supports DivX and other codecs  
• Supports Close Caption / Deinterlace Mode  
• Supports Stereo Sound (supported on the OnAir DTV 2000 only)

Other Features:  

• Supports Remote Control (Optional) & Girder (  provide plug-in)  
• Supports Wall Paper TV mode (Desktop for TV Window)  
• Supports Zoom In  
• Supports Program & Schedule  
• Supports Normal Screen (4:3), Wide Screen (16:9), Remove Pillar Mode  
• Antenna Input Sensitivity Level (Digital TV only)  
• A/V Extension Cable

The OnAir DTV-2000/1500 requires a Pentium 3 800mHz (or higher) processor with 128MB of RAM (256 recommended), Windows XP, DirectX 8.1 and a VGA slot (works over ATI Radeon 7200 in DxvA mode). It is available immediately.

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