>DVD & HDTV News
>SONY'S DV CASSETTE RECORDER: On Jan. 22, Sony Electronics introduced the
>first digital home video recorder available in North America. The DV cassette
>recorder features 500 lines of horizontal resolution, connects directly with
>personal computers, and uses an extremely compact tape (Panasonic launched
>the first DV Cassette camcorder back in October, 1995). The Sony DHR-1000,
>laden with special features, will go on sale in April at a list price of
> "From families who want to edit their home videos to individuals who need to
>produce documentaries, presentations or training tapes, our new DV cassette
>recorder makes it possible to assemble, edit and dub digital and analog
>tapes," said Jay Sato, VP of Sony Electronics' Personal Video division in a
> Once DV cassette recorders drop in price to an affordable range for most
>consumers, we may be looking at the successor to today's VCR.
>DVD WORLDWIDE LAUNCH: Matsushita has announced that it will begin selling DVD
>players in Germany on Feb. 1, in Asia (outside of Japan) in time for the
>Chinese New Year shopping season (the Chinese lunar New Year falls on Feb.
>7), and in the U.S. March 1.
> Toshiba said Monday (Jan. 20) that it would introduce its DVD player in the
>U.S. in March, Asia this summer, and Europe in the winter.
> Sony plans to bow its DVD players in Japan in March, the U.S. in April, Asia
>after that, and Europe in mid-1997.
>INFOTECH predicts that DVD-Video players will initially appeal primarily to
>high-end home-theater enthusiasts, projects first-year sales of some 820,000
>units worldwide, and anticipates that over 600 DVD-Video titles will be
>available worldwide by year's end, growing to 8,000 titles released globally
>by the start of the next millenium.
> The Woodstock, Vermont-based market-research and consulting firm predicts
>that by the year 2000 "economies of scale derived from the rapid acceptance
>of DVD-ROM on the PC desktop will drive down the cost of shared components
>dramatically. This should enable DVD-Video players to reach mass market
>points in the $250 range, stimulating a tenfold increase in demand and
>culminating in a worldwide installed base of over 80 million units by 2005."
> Comments InfoTech CEO Julie B. Schwerin, "At $250, DVD-Video becomes an
>upsell to conventional CD-Audio players. By paying a modest premium, the
>consumer can play audio CDs and high-resolution digital movies from the same
> Schwerin believes that it is critical "that a large catalog of titles be in
>place when hardware prices fall from the high end to the mid-market.
>Considering that videodisc [laserdisc] with a worldwide installed base of
>around seven million players today supports a catalog of over 35,000 titles
>dominated by major studio releases, we believe that all the major studios
>will commit to support DVD-Video when it reaches a comparable installed base,
>which we have projected for 1999."
> The greatest competition for DVD-Video, the InfoTech study finds, will come
>from digital transmission formats such as pay-per-view movies available from
>the Digital Satellite System (DSS) services. But Schwerin notes that "history
>shows that over the long term, the introduction of successful new media
>platforms has not displaced existing platforms but rather led to an overall
>expansion of entertainment spending."
> She adds that pre-recorded DVD-Video is not projected to have a substantial
>impact on VCR hardware sales. "There is no precedent in the consumer
>electronics industry for a playback-only medium supplanting a recordable
>format. There is only a precedent for co-existence, as between CD-Audio and
>audio cassette today."
> The InfoTech study continues, "Recordable DVD-Video players capable of
>capturing previously compressed digital signals such as DSS could potentially
>be released in late 1997 when the first DVD-RAM drives for the PC are slated
>for introduction. However, all-purpose, mass market recorders permitting
>real-time encoding of DVD-quality MPEG2 digital video from all sources,
>including analog feeds, are not expected until well into the next decade
>given the complex technical, cost, and copy protection issues which must be
>KEEP YOUR LASERDISC PLAYER: There are two additional conclusions we can draw
>from the above InfoTech predictions. If DVD-Video fails to fulfill its
>promise, you're going to want a laserdisc player. And if DVD is better than
>laser, you're still going to want to have a laserdisc player -- if you value
>access to a wide variety of movies.
> Six hundred DVD titles worldwide (perhaps 200 in the U.S.?) by the end of
>1997 is not very many movies, especially compared to 35,000 laserdisc titles
>(around 9,000 in the U.S.) for sale globally today. And 8,000 DVD titles
>worldwide (perhaps 3,000 in the U.S.?) by the year 2000 is still a lot less
>than what's available on 12-inch right now.
> Best bet for early adopters who don't currently have laserdisc players? Buy
>a DVD/LD combiplayer and enjoy the best of both formats.
> In terms of recording movies and TV programming, we'll all need our VCRs or
>something similar for many years to come -- contrary to what is repeated over
>and over in the general media. DVD is not going to replace the VCR in the
>near future, if ever. Consumers will not be compressing video at home for a
>long, long time. It is much more likely in the next five to ten years that
>videophiles will upgrade to DV cassette recorders (see above), with 500 lines
>of resolution and no compression, once the price drops.
>THE LEARNING COMPANY, a leading provider of educational software in many
>countries, will release three DVD-ROM titles in early 1997: "Digital
>Library," "The Genius of Edison -- DVD," and "Battles of the World -- DVD."
>Info: (617) 494-1200 or www.learningco.com.
>XIPHIAS DVD ENCYCLOPEDIA: Xiphias Corp. has released "Encyclopedia
>Electronica," a DVD-ROM that features Omniview's PhotoBubble imaging
>technology. Xiphias claims that the title is the first product built
>expressly to exploit the possibilities of DVD-ROM, MMX technology and the
>Internet. In addition, the "PhotoBubble" technology enables users to view all
>aspects of an image in a 360-degree environment, through which they can
>navigate with a mouse or keyboard input. "Encyclopedia Electronica" includes
>30 PhotoBubble imges, 80 minutes of MPEG2 video and AC-3 multichannel audio.
>E4's DVD ADD-IN CARD FOR MACS & PCS: E4 will launch CoolDVD, a multimedia
>add-in card for Power Macintosh and Pentium-based computers, by April 1, the
>firm announced at the Consumer Electronics Show. CoolDVD supports the full
>DVD specification, including MPEG1 and MPEG2 video and Dolby Digital AC-3
>surround sound. E4 develops video and graphics products for the PC and Mac
>markets, and is a San Jose-based, wholly owned subsidiary of Dooin
>Electronics, Korea's leading manufacturer of PC cards. More info: (408)
>ZORAN MERGES WITH COMPCORE: Zoran Corp. and CompCore Multimedia, two leading
>firms in the compression business, have merged. Zoran, founded in 1983 and
>based in Santa Clara, develops and markets integrated circuits and software
>for digital video and audio applications, including JPEG codecs, MPEG video
>decoders and Dolby AC-3 and MPEG audio decoders. CompCore, founded in 1993
>and also based in Santa Clara, provides MPEG1 and MPEG2 video and hardware
>designs to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and markets compression
>software for PCs.
>APPLE COMPUTER has introduced a Quicktime MPEG extension, allowing
>full-screen, software-only playback of MPEG-1 and Video CD audio/video files
>on PowerPC Mac OS computers. The MPEG extension is available for use with
>Quicktime 2.5 and may be downloaded from the QuickTime website at
>DVD SUPPORT FOR ACTIVE MOVIE: Microsoft Corp. is working with SGS-Thomson
>Microelectronics Inc. and Mediamatics to develop DVD support for Microsoft's
>ActiveMovie API. The SGS-Thomson reference design will take advantage of
>leading-edge technologies from both firms, including ActiveMovie 2.0, for
>playback of MPEG2 and high-quality audio, and a highly integrated single-chip
>DVD decoder engine from SGS-Thomson.
> "Our goal is to lower the barriers to entry for emerging multimedia
>technologies," says Andrea Cuomo, VP of strategic marketing and key customers
>at SGS-Thomson. "This collaboration between multimedia hardware and software
>leaders will deliver a package that will kick-start DVD on the PC. It is
>another example of convergence between PCs and consumer electronics to create
> Meanwhile, Microsoft is also teaming up with Mediamatics, a leading provider
>of software MPEG solutions, to enable cost-effective software-only DVD
>playback without the need for special add-on hardware. "By working with
>Microsoft to integrate DVD now, we have ensured that our products will
>provide a seamless transition as consumers move to interactive DVD solutions
>in the near future," comments Prem Nath, president and CEO of Mediamatics.
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Oksana Dykyj Tel: 514-848-3443
Head, Visual Media Resources Fax: 514-848-3441
Audio-Visual Department H-342 Email: Oksana@vax2.concordia.ca
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Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8