Newsbits



InFoFax Volume 7 Number 13
Member Issue. 
To our regular readers.            FREE  VideoCD-Internet disc, see page five.

Plug & Play      Volume 7     Number 13   Circulation over 1,200
         
DVD PLAYERS BREAK ONE MILLION SALES MARK 

According to the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association,  DVD Players
surpassed the one million milestone with one million units being sold to
dealers since the product's introduction in March 1997, 

Editorial comment from the Executive Director.
So, they have sold one million DVD Players, big deal, Sony sell that many
Playstation every few minutes.  However, hang on there is a big difference.
Like CD-I and 3DO, Playstation is a single manufacturer platform.  DVD on the
other hand is a standard and players are currently produced by over 50
manufacturers.  
So, why is DVD taking so long to explode?  
In the consumer market, it does not yet appeal to Mr. Joe Average.  Joe does
not seem to care what he watches, or the quality.  Sound does not seem to
matter either, as all he hears is "Turn that Dam thing down" from Mrs. Joe.  
It will not replace the VCR, which both records and plays great movies.  (At
least as great as they get on Joe's mono sound television.) Mrs. Joe's 'Soaps'
are not on DVD either.
In a world where people have come to expect their entertainment to be
interrupted every few minutes by advertisements, for things they don't need or
even want.  It is no surprise that a kind of complacent lethargy has
descended.  The advertisements for DVD, which stress picture and sound quality
are not dispelling that lethargy,
 "It's not the quality stupid, it's the adverts."  Or,  more importantly, the
lack of advert's.
Even my beloved PBS has more and more 'advertisement like Things' appearing
between programs. 
In my experience, when an advertisement is playing, one of the following is
taking place.
1) 40% Of the viewer goes into 'Vacant mode' and stops receiving information. 
2) 10% Of them leave the room.  
3) 30% Switches channels.  ( A primitive form of interactivity)
4) 10% Turn down the volume. ('Mime' adverts may be the answer for this
sector.) 
5) 9% Advanced viewers, using picture in picture, switch back and forward.  (
Very interactive) Problems occur when there are advertisements on both
selected channels at the same time, see '2' above.
6) 1% Actually listen to the advertisers message.  Unfortunately, of this 1%,
the contents of the advertisement only apply to 1% of them.  I guess if they
buy it, 0.1% of the television viewing public is still a lot.  However, with
999.9% misses it is not a very focused campaign.

If ever there was an argument for DVD and Interactive television, it is
interactive advertisements.  

In the professional DVD market, there are in my opinion three main reasons why
DVD Video has not caught on yet. One expense, two complexities and three it
does not do anything that my present multimedia system does, except show
better quality video.

Expense.  $40,000 for an authoring system, plus all that Red tape concerned
with licenses, is too much for the average professional developer to absorb,
over a realistic time frame.  Just like any platform based on Hollywood, the
entry price is too expensive. 
Complexity, starts when you have to get your great titles from the computer to
the disc pressing plant, $1,000 a time, mistakes don't count they are $1,000 a
time as well.
'DVD, Coasters' are also expensive.  If you don't know what 'Coasters are',
you have either been very lucky, clever, or never made burnt a disc.
Good video.  If the output device, i.e. the television is good enough to
appreciate the quality, then MPEG2 is worth it.  However, it is only worth it,
if there is sufficient quantity to make the $1,000 it costs to make a disc
economic.  A five-minute video to play in ten kiosks or one copy of the
President's seven-minute presentation, is not practical at $1,000 a time. 

Now here's an idea.
We all have CDR.  burners, right.  (If not, they cost about $300 from
Philips.)  We all have MPEG2 encoders, right.  (If not, they are available for
next to nothing these days.)
If we could encode our video as MPEG2 files, burn them on a CDR. disc and play
them on a $300 DVD video player, wouldn't that be neat. 
There's a prize for the first company to make their DVD Video player play DVD
on CDR.   What's the prize? "A huge market."  All of a sudden every kiosk,
every presentation, everyone's daughter's wedding is all on CDR and guess what
it's MPEG2 quality and it plays on a DVD video player. Guess what else, discs
cost a buck each. Wow!

Of course while you are waiting for this simple miracle to occur the
alternative way to play MPEG2 quality video on a CD is Panasonic's M2.
At COMDEX next week on the Panasonic booth number L1014 at the Las Vegas
Convention Center, MTC will be capturing live video, encoding it and burning
CDR's as we speak.  Come and see the quality, you may decide not to wait for
the cost of DVD authoring software to come down.
Panasonic will also be showing, their M2X, which uses the DVD disc to show M2
titles requiring more than a few minutes of high resolution video, their new
Touchscreens, M2 for Point of Purchase displays and a lot of other good stuff.
Ask for Akio, Lou and if you come by on Tuesday or Wednesday ask for the IDMA,
as I will be a guest on Panasonic's booth.
Here's an idea, if you get separated from your friends, arrange to meet them
at the IDMA section of the Panasonic booth # L1014 and chat to me while you
wait.
 New Professional Mosaic Image Creation Service 

Novaré International, Inc. who host the ICDIA.org web site for us, announced
today the immediate availability of their ProMosaic, professional mosaic image
creation service.  This, powerful, high-resolution mosaic visual effect
satisfies the needs of the broadcast and multimedia professional.  

Mosaic image popularity is growing quickly as evidenced through its use as a
visual effect in the design of magazine covers and posters, as well as
television commercials.  The mosaic image technique is a powerful promotional
tool due to the resulting gestalt effect achieved by creating a composite
image from thousands of smaller thematic
images.  
Because creating a mosaic image through manual efforts is too labor intensive
to be practical, visual effects producers have resorted to utilizing computer
generated mosaic services.  However, quality mosaic image services typically
cost a premium price placing
the service outside the reach of smaller budget projects.

With its quality production and low cost, ProMosaic provides exceptional image
generation capability for the creative professional.  
ProMosaic was developed in house to address the growing demand for mosaic
imagery by the small film and video studios. 
Previously, mosaic image creation has been a service relegated to the big
budget visual effects houses.  Now, small studios can access the same exacting
mosaic effect at a fraction of the cost charged for similar services.  In
addition, mosaic image creation is produced rapidly to help meet the most
demanding deadlines.
 
ProMosaic's professional capability has been demonstrated through its use in
the recent Nationwide Insurance (http://www.nationwide.com) broadcast campaign
created by Janimation (http://www.janimation.com) visual effects studio.  For
the campaign, Janimation created three black and white commercials telling the
story of how Nationwide Insurance helped the people involved with three
insurance claims.  
The commercials each begin with the animation of thousands of photos of
people moving into place to create a composite mosaic portrait of each of the
insurance claimants.  Novaré helped Janimation by both creating a custom image
database of over 10,000 black and white photos, as well as creating three film
resolution mosaic images for the project.  Janimation artfully animated the
mosaic tile images to create
the opening sequence for the commercial.        

Steve Gaconnier, Producer for Janimation, commented "Novaré implemented
exactly what we needed.  We focused on the animation while Novaré compiled the
hi-res texture maps necessary to execute the spots.  The results of ProMosaic
were stunning and the client was ecstatic."

The ProMosaic software is custom developed by Novaré to meet the unique needs
of the mosaic image visual effect.  ProMosaic analyzes the original image by
breaking up the image into smaller tile sections to determine the image
attributes of each tile.  To create the output mosaic image, the software then
searches the image database to find the
best match for each tile area by comparison with thousands of images. 
Once a match is found, the selected image is loaded into memory and bitmapped
into the output mosaic.  When the process is complete, the image is saved out
to disk and may be further manipulated by other visual tools.

Novaré has several in-house image databases of people and nature scenes that
are suitable for many projects.  However, Novaré can create a custom image
database for any project.  If a client has a collection of images available,
these can be processed to create a new image database.  Typically, a mosaic
image requires an image database with at least 2 to 3 thousand images.
However, to ensure fidelity to the original image, it is recommended to use
upwards of 10,000 images to produce a single high-resolution mosaic image. 

For more information, see Novaré's home page at http://www.novare.net. 
Additional information is available at the ProMosaic web site,
ttp://www.promosaic.com

DVD-RAM Solution from Panasonic
If you were lucky enough to visit the Japan Electronics Show '98 at Intex
Osaka you would have seen a number of new products and concepts displayed by
Matsushita Electric.  These featured consumer and industrial areas with the
theme "Exciting Digital World." The consumer area included cutting-edge DVD
products and a "Dream Theater."  The industrial area featured a demonstration
verifying the compatibility between DVD-RAM and DVD-ROM. 

"With its low dollar/Mbyte cost and exceptionally large capacity, DVD-RAM is
quickly becoming a popular storage medium for a wide range of applications.
Since it is well suited for DVD movies and DVD-ROM title applications as well,
our end customers have asked us to incorporate a DVD-MPEG decoder with our
DVD-RAM product," commented Yukinori Okazaki, Engineering Manager of the
Optical Disk Systems Division at Matsushita. 

The Panasonic DVD-RAM drive will include the Sigma Designs' PC DVD/MPEG-2
decoder card in the Japanese market as a DVD playback. The card uses Sigma's
EM8300 REALmagic DVD/MPEG-2/MPEG-1 decoder IC. 

Designed to leverage DVD's broadcast video and audio capabilities, the
EM8300-enhanced PC cards deliver visual clarity equal to that of HDTV and
high-quality Dolby Digital AC-3 Surround Sound. The REALmagic cards minimize
the computer's CPU workload, providing a true multimedia experience. With
full-screen NTSC/PAL TV output, users can play high-quality video on any
standard TV. 

Contact:   Matsushita   WEB SITE:   http://www.panasonic.co.jp 
Contact:   Sigma Designs   WEB SITE:   http://www.sigmadesigns.com

 NETView integrates VCD-Internet & VideoCD 2.0 video with the Internet.

Compact Data inc. (Compact Data) and QUERY, Inc. (QUERY) are pleased to
announce the availability of QUERY's NETView Player for both the MacOS and
Windows '95/'98.   NETView Player utilizes the VideoCD-Internet standard set
by
Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita (Panasonic), Philips and SONY. The Internet, for
many, is too slow for video. So, using VCD-Internet you can eliminate your
need for a fast Internet connection by playing the video from your CD-ROM
drive (static, high bandwidth data) and still use your familiar browser
on-line with your modem for current prices, order forms, stock prices, new
products, etc. (dynamic, low-bandwidth data).

For the complete release,
http://www.videocd2.com/compact_data/netviewplayerpress.html

For a free demo VCD-Internet disc, please see
http://www.videocd2.com/forms/demoorder.html.



Plug and Play, the Interactive newsletter of the IDMA,  is sent you by the:
Interactive Digital Media Association.
5623 Spring Grove Drive Solon Ohio 44139 USA.
e-mail IDMA1998@AOL.com
Telephone number (440) 349-9661 Fax (440)349-3311
It is provided free to members and thanks to the generous sponsorship of
Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Toshiba, Sony and other companies it is sent free
of charge to over 1,000 individuals involved in the professional multimedia
market.
Web-Sites:  www.IDMANET.org and  www.ICDIA.org
The IDMA and ICDIA web sites are hosted by McGill Multimedia and Novare
International.  
The webmaster is Richard Maynard of Maynard & Associates. Richard938@aol.com
                        
About the Interactive Digital Media Association.
                                        
The members of the IDMA are all professional multimedia developers.  
Among these members are experts in every facet of Interactive Digital Media.  
Our member's clients include most of the top corporations, in both Europe and
North America. 
Between them, they hold the key to success in this very competitive market
place.
The members of IDMA specialize in developing for Television Based Platforms,
such as 
WEB-DVD, Interactive-DVD, VideoCD, CD-I and Panasonic's M2 multimedia player.
Successful developing for Television Based Multimedia requires years of
training and experience.  Our members offer both this experience and also
access to their clients, through the relation ships and trust they have built
up over the years.  They have a  proven track record!
If you are a professional developer, in the fields of Training, Marketing or
Kiosks, then you should be a member.  Having the IDMA Logo on your notepaper
makes a statement.
If you supply products and services  such as, Authoring software, Disc
replication, Video encoding or Playback equipment, then your company should be
a Sponsor of the IDMA.  
Our members can be your largest and most experienced sales force.  The best
part, you don't have to pay them.  They will be the ones who recommend the
platform to the client.
Being close to the IDMA, helps make sure it is your product or service, they
recommend.
If you are just determining which products to purchase.  Who's services to
use, the capability of developers and most important the most cost effective
platform to use, then you should consult the IDMA.  The Association has a
library of over 2,000 examples of our member's work.
The IDMA serves as a source of information and help for potential users of
WEB-DVD, Interactive-DVD, DVD-Video, Internet, M2, CD-i, Video CD, Plug & play
CD-ROM, Web TV, Set Top Boxes and other Television-Based Multimedia.
The IDMA represents the largest and most influential group of Multimedia
developers with access to most of the important corporations in North America
and Europe.
                        
IDMA Mission Statement
The IDMA will provide both a Support Group and an Industry Association for the
next generation of Interactive Digital Media Developers and their clients.
They will provide an unbiased source of information on the various new
Interactive Digital Media platforms, their authoring software, players and
peripherals. 
They will help and assist multimedia developers with the transition from their
present media's to the next generation of Interactive Digital Media.
They will provide potential clients with a source of unbiased advice and
information on which to base their choice of Multimedia platform, enabling
them to select the most appropriate platform for the best results.
They will also encourage the continued convergence of the present media in the
interests of their members.
Types of Memberships
All members will receive a copies of 'Plug & Play,' our E-mail newsletter
which contains information of help and interest to our members.
A listing on the IDMA web-site with direct link to the members own web-sites
or e-mail address 
and a password which will in future give them access to the protected parts of
the web-site.
Members may have information published in 'Plug & Play' free of charge.
The IDMA will provide Booth space for members at several important
Exhibitions.  
A charge is made for this service, on a cost only basis.
Members have access to leading experts on the new Interactive Digital Media's
for information and answers to questions.
Members have access to most leading suppliers through the association and
normally are aware of developments before they become general knowledge.
Corporate members have in addition access to our members through the IDMA
member's mailing list and our database.
Corporate members will be listed as sponsors at shows and conferences, and
they may have their logos on the IDMA web-site.
Cost of Memberships
Cost of Corporate membership is Minimum $1,000 per year.    Full membership is
$250 per year

If for some strange reason you do not want any more copies of Plug  & Play,
just send me an e-mail telling me to stop.  (Please don't refer to it as Spam
it makes me very cross.)



Thanks Kinetic!

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All Rights Reserved.

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