Newsbits


Infotouch Technologies Corp. (SURFNET) For more details click on our logo!

Fast, Fun, Easyanimation5.gif (71050 bytes)




Plug & Play      Volume 8   Feb.1999   Number 3  Circulation over 1,500
Member Issue. 
To our regular readers.  

In this issue:
Be a Microsoft 'Web-DVD' Beta test site.
Find out how to get free DVD authoring software.
VideoCD/SVCD controversy continues.
WebDVD Tool Kit
Those who were at the 1998 IDMA Summit, were given a sneak preview of
Microsoft's WebDVD.  Obviously any platform with the words, Microsoft, Web and
DVD in them is going to be very important to us all.  
Well, now you have another chance to stay ahead.  Microsoft have just
completed the Beta version of a WebDVD Tool Kit on DVD called "Windows
Interactive DVD - Preview 1/99."  This disc contains some WebDVD demo titles,
Web based playback applications and the beta versions of Internet Explorer 5.
It also has "Windows Media Player" which will play DVD's. and contains
software development kits (SDK's) for DirectX and DirectX Media.  This gives
you complete documentation and runtime software to prepare a PC for DVD
playback.
IDMA members who are genuine developers can get a copy and become beta test
sites by e-mailing DVD@Microsoft.com with a fax number and a request,
mentioning that you are a member of the IDMA.  You will need to sign and
return the beta software agreement.  A DVD disc will then be sent to you.  As
a beta tester, you will also get the final versions of the software when they
are released.  The system works, I have my Beta software, right here in my
hand.

Philips Name goes on new stadium.
We are used to seeing Philip's blue banners around the insides of many famous
stadiums, during, tennis and soccer matches, including the World Cup.  Well,
now we can get used to seeing it outside a stadium.  As part of a $100 million
dollar deal between Turner Broadcasting System and Philips Electronics, TBS.
have named their new 20,000-seat sports and event facility "Philips Arena."
This agreement between two giant international companies, both based in
Atlanta, currently gives Turner Broadcasting System access to the state of the
art electronics manufactured by Philips, and gives Philips a platform for it's
advertising.
Furthering their commitment, each company has pledged to integrate the other's
products into its business operations.  The agreement includes a broad-based
media package for Philips with Turner and Time Warner properties and a
supplier arrangement for the use of Philips products, from broadcast
equipment, consumer and business electronics to
consumer appliances and lighting products. 
Philips technologies and products will be featured throughout the arena, as
well.  More than 1,000 Philips video monitors will be used in the arena and
the adjacent CNN Center.  
The Philips Arena will be the home of both the NBA Atlanta Hawks and the
Atlanta Thrashers and will host more than 200 entertainment events each year. 

Your company's Data update.
One in three of the companies sending me 'updates' had at least one change in
either Contact, E-mail or phone/fax number.  If you did not respond after the
last request, then please do so now. I cannot put prospective clients in touch
with you if I don't know your correct phone number and who to talk to.

Exhibitions, conferences, and awards
POPIA Chicago, March 27-29
The POPIA exhibition is probably the most important annual event for those
involved in the creation of Television Based, point-of-sale merchandising
kiosks. If any of you are exhibiting at this show, please tell me your booth
Number so we can search you out.  So far the only booth number I have is the
Panasonic booth in the 'I 3' part of the exhibition, it is No. 4280.  The IDMA
have been invited to have a representative on the Panasonic booth, so please
make sure you stop by and introduce your selves.

DVD European conferences.
DVD Summit 2, Dublin Castle, Ireland.  30th March - 1 April
As you know the IDMA is supporting this conference and many of our members
will be there.  New speakers for this conference include:
Jim Taylor, author of DVD Demystified and Microsoft's DVD Evangelist who
will be explaining the mysteries of WebDVD.
Harvey Mabry of Panasonic Disc Services has chosen the Dublin Summit to
unveil DVD Net to the world. This is a revolutionary system for unlocking
software on a disc, using BCA (Burst Cutting Area). This is a little-known
feature of the DVD specification which allows a unique 'bar code' descriptor
to be added using a laser beam in the first sector of the DVD disc. Thus
each disc can be uniquely identified when inserted into the player or
DVD-ROM drive. The combination of this and the Web allows a myriad of uses
for secure transactions of all kinds.
These two sessions represent two of the most important factors in the in the
next generation of communication technology, they alone are worth visiting the
conference for.
Another addition to the conference will be DR Edmund Sun, the founder of
C-Cube who will be speaking on the Asian DVD market.  Dr. Sun, is now the
driving force behind DVS, Digital Video Systems, one of the IDMA's principle
supporters.
Also keynoting at the conference, is DR Bernie Luskin who most of you will
remember as one of the principals guiding Philip's consumer CD-i activities.
He created the CD-i Association of North America, which became the ICDIA and
from which sprang the IDMA.
Both Dr. Edmund Sun and Dr. Bernie Luskin will receive a lifetime achievement
award during the Gala Dinner.

Which are the best DVD web sites?
I would be interested in reader's suggestions as to the best websites to
recommend to anyone wanting to get information on DVD.  
(I will accept self-recommendation, but I will pay a visit to check it out.)

It's award season again.
The IDMA was amongst the first to present awards for DVD titles.  In 1997 the
IDMA presented its first DVD award to Aftermath, for their title Tender Loving
Care, which has since received many awards from other associations and
conferences.  Here is a list of 1998's DVD awards that we know of.  If we have
missed any please tell us and we will include them in the next issue of Plug &
Play.

DVD PRO Discus Awards.
As part of the activities during the DVD PRO Conference and Exhibition, August
16-17, Online Inc. will again be presenting the DVD Discus awards.  Our
members will be particularly interested in Best Corporate DVD(ROM or Video),
Best Educational DVD (ROM or Video) and the Technical achievement award,
categories.  Entries cost $35 for each title and can be submitted online at
www.dvdpro.net/dvd99/awards.  Other categories include, Best consumer DVD
Video, Best Consumer DVD-ROM, Best Packaging and Best of Show. 
Free software.
A Java-based, cross-platform offline design and planning tool for DVD-Video
titles, valued at $495, will be given to the first 150 registrants at DVD PRO
University, which will be held March 14-16, 1999 at Fess Parker's DoubleTree
Resort in Santa Barbara, CA.

European DVD Awards.
European DVD Awards, to be presented at the DVD Summit, in Dublin.
These awards are sponsored by Philips.

The DVD award for the Milia 2000 Milia d'or announced.
The DVD Forum will set up a special "DVD Award" for the Milia 2000 Milia d'Or
Awards program in order to recognize and honor excellence and creativity in
content achievements for DVD-Video and DVD-ROM. 
Winners will be announced and celebrated at the Milia 2000 scheduled for
February 2000

IDMA awards.
Don't forget our own awards.  Entry forms for our awards will be included in
the August issue of Plug and Play.  The awards will be presented at a Gala
1999 dinner sponsored by Panasonic, during the annual summit meeting in
Dallas.

Awards results.
DVD Maestro wins NewMedia magazine hyper award
Spruce Technologies DVDMaestro has received NewMedia magazine's 1999 Hyper
Award in the DVD-Video Authoring System category.  DVDMaestro is featured in
the special awards section of the February issue of NewMedia magazine. 
Contact:   Spruce Technologies   Web Site:  http://spruce-tech.com 

Help desks.
Over the course of time I get to use a lot of 'Help'lines, most of them leave
a lot to be desired.  Yesterday, I had a problem with one of the IDMA's
computers.  (It turned out to be entirely my fault.) I called 'The Toshiba
help line.  'Even though the fault involved, turned out to be a Windows/Dragon
Speak problem, neither of which had any connection with the computer it's
self, 'David,' my helper, talked me through the problem and resolved it for
me.  Thank you, David for going the extra mile and well done Toshiba.

Spare Equipment.
Among the replies to requests for CD-I Equipment, we received the following.

From: Cambridge Multimedia Systems PLC
We have a stock of CD-i and VideoCD authoring software, Media Moguls, Plug
ins Libraries, etc., as well as CD-i 605 professional players, Cdi 350s
and Cdi 370 portable players for any one outside of the Americas.
Visit www.cmgroup.co.uk or email robin.sewell @cmgroup.co.uk

From: Al Seim Action Digital ads2@actdigital.com
We've got a pristine Philips CD-i 370 portable player, only used for a few
demos before we discovered our niche in controllers.  We'd love to sell to a
good home.

From: Will Stanton Main Point Phone 610-987-9320 FAX 987-3890
I have a Goldstar 1200 portable CD-i player for sale. Battery pak, charger,
cables,etc.  Comes with official 'Goldstar' carrying case.  All in excellent
condition. Best reasonable offer...

MPEG Licensing
MPEG LA was established to assure the interoperability and 
implementation of digital video by providing fair, reasonable,
nondiscriminatory access to worldwide patent rights that are essential
for the MPEG-2 Video and Systems standard. Our MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio
License makes worldwide MPEG-2 essential patent rights available to
everyone on the same terms at fixed rates under a single license.
Companies that make MPEG-2 products need the essential patent rights
the License provides; it is the easiest, most cost-effective way to
obtain them.  The License enables users to clear patent rights before
making products? there are no certifications, no fees to become
licensed and no minimums.
MPEG LA's MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License has grown to include more
than 200 patents (54 patent families plus their worldwide
counterparts) owned by 14 Licensors: Columbia University, France
Télécom (CNET), Fujitsu, General Instrument Corp., Kokusai Denshin
Denwa Co., Ltd. (KDD), Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Nippon Telegraph and
Telephone Corporation (NTT), Philips, Samsung, Scientific Atlanta,
Sony, Toshiba, and Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC).  MPEG LA's
goal is to provide worldwide access to as much of MPEG-2's essential
intellectual property as possible; new Licensors and essential patents
are added at no additional royalty.
MPEG LA has signed more than 90 Licensees, accounting for most of the
MPEG-2 set-top and consumer electronics (including DVD player)
products in the current world market, and in its first year collected
royalties of more than $32 million.
MPEG LA, LLC Corporate Headquarters 250 Steele Street Suite 300
Denver, CO 80206
(303)331-1880 (888)331-1880 Toll Free  (303)331-1879 Fax

MPEG LA, LLC Licensing Office 35 Wisconsin Circle Suite 520
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301)986-6660 (301)986-8575 Fax
For more information, visit http://www.mpegla.com or contact Dean
Skandalis, Licensing Associate, at dskandalis@mpegla.com

Readers letters.
This weeks first letter from a reader, is from Partners John Maddock and Joe
Wiseman who founded INNOVA in 1994, and together contribute over 40 years of
education experience to the development of educational multimedia.

Custom-Built Education 
INNOVA Multimedia Ltd. develops high quality, interactive, curriculum-specific
educational software.  After an initial two years of research and development,
the company has moved on to production, carving out an international market
niche by specializing in content development, interface and database design,
detailed storyboarding, digital authoring and content gathering, post-
production, and
hardware/software support. 
 In 1997, Bill Maddock joined the company as Director of Information
Technology, QA/QC, bringing to the team over 30 of experience in the IT
industry.  In addition, INNOVA retains curriculum development expertise from
consultants with over 50
years experience. 
Among our products are: 
Poetry in a Nutshell® - The Character of Poetry - A Whale of a Tale® Series -
Dive into Math - Leap into Language - Swim Social Studies - Surf into Science 
We also produce, Orientation to Apprenticeship (High School, Careers, College)
and Rocks and Minerals (Junior, Senior High, College) 
INNOVA now offers its international partners the tremendous competitive
advantage of both customization and quick-to-market development. 
Often, lessons appropriate for grade levels can differ from country to
country.  By re-coding our software titles so each individual lesson and game
can stand alone, we offer our international partners the capability of
customizing a curriculum to the particular needs of selected end-users. 

Now, not only can the more than 200 lessons and games developed so far
in the "A Whale of a Tale" series be sold separately, they can also be
reconfigured into any sequence, for any audience.  The same is true of
all other INNOVA products.  Additional lessons necessary for a
particular market could also be easily developed. 

For more information contact, joe.wiseman@education-software.com
Or visit our web site.  www.education-software.com      

The SuperVCD and VCD-Internet 'Controversy' continues.
Glenn Sanderse Writes:

When we present technology to our customers, we do not do so by arguing
technical merits, but presenting the clearest business case possible for
making our customers business better. How we make a business better is
through higher profits by making a companies sales process easier, or by
providing a format that has the potential to sell to the largest audience
possible.

First of all, we are of the opinion that the market is fundamentally
logical, and buys what gives the greatest utility for the least money
possible. Audio or video intellectual property put on VCD or VCD-Internet
will reach the largest potential market possible by using low-cost VCD, CDi,
1X CD-ROM based players AND Mac and PC CD-ROM drives, with very low CPU
requirements.

We provide solutions that give a salesperson a single disc to use a notebook
computer to initially show the video, and then give their client the disc and
have other people in the company, maybe even in another country also view it
later simply because the disc will play back in so many different CD-based
playback machines.

The Internet connection provides a text, and ordering function and is simply
an additional feature of VCD. Computers are not required to use the
interactive video on the disc.

VCD and now SVCD together with Internet connectivity and low-cost authoring
and PLAYBACK capabilities provides the most cost-effective business model
for practical BUSINESS multimedia requirements.

> Rick says:
> "Glenn has an interesting point of view, one identical to mine of
> several years ago when the VCD-Internet standard was launched. My point of
> view changed very rapidly as promotion of VCD-Internet produced very little
> interest.

We are not surprised that there was very little interest in an Internet
product when no-one had browsers, there weren't many fast enough CD-ROM
drives, and MPEG1 encoders were so poor. Respectfully, we have only been
shipping VCD-Internet - on-disc - drivers for about 1 year. People are only
now realizing how poor web video is because of on-line bandwidth
restrictions, and that most computers are not powerful or fast enough for
DVD or MPEG2 playback.

Rick says:
> I'm skeptical of this standard becoming any more important today
> with the SVCD format than it was when originally launched way back when,"
> As I see it, VCD-Internet has the same roadblocks it has always had plus 1
> more. The new wrinkle is in fact DVD.

The argument that it was not successful 'way back when' has not been
justified. The roadblocks have not been identified in this argument.  I
would suggest they were you did not have a working Mac/PC VCD-Internet disc
that worked in almost every computer out there PLUS the new generations of
DVD players. VCD-Internet has been very successful in corporate Japan and
when people see it elsewhere, they want it as well. When business people
crunch the numbers, it just makes tremendous financial sense. Every day we
compete head-to-head against DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, CD-ROM, etc., and we win
every time when customers see the complete solutions package we offer, vs.
fragmented solutions with limited market appeal to small potential audiences
that our competitors offer. Again, we provide real-world solutions that
customers are asking for and can use today.

Let's say your customers boss has to see a video before a purchasing
decision can be made. Do you want to send him a disc that requires a computer
or, a disc that works reliably, in CD-ROM drives, and also stand-alone
players in PAL or NTSC, INCLUDING DVD players.


Rick says:
>Although Glenn makes a strong point of
> SVCD-Internet succeeding because of its cost of development, as opposed to
> DVD, I believe he fails to give justice to a couple of points that are
important.
> 1. Optical based video played as a part of an Internet session can be done,
> not only with VCD and SVCD, but also with CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and DVD on >CDR.
No VCD or SVCD advantage here.

VCD - SVCD advantage -- cheap players for non-Internet content -- enlarging
the possible audience by a very significant factor. Normally, a larger
audience means more customers and more money.

Rick says :
> 2. Since optical based video played as part of an Internet session assumes
> there is some type of PC involved, then use of the other formats, such as
CD-
> ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD on CDR are practical and applicable, or as much so as
>VCD and SVCD.  No VCD or SVCD advantage here.

See above comment. We are not assuming our customers already have a PC
around. Portable VCD players cost less than half what DVD players do.

Rick says:
> 3. DVD on CDR eliminates the price advantage VCD and SVCD have in regards to
using low cost CDR media.

MPEG2 playback requires high CPU speeds. Again, not needing a computer is
much cheaper than requiring one. VCD players are $150.
Rick says
> 4. By using comparable bit rates on the video encoding for a DVD on CDR
> application, I can achieve storage capacities (play time) equaling that of
> SVCD whilst at the same time potentially achieving better quality as a
result
> of full D1 encoding instead of the lower resolution of SVCD.

Once again, computer playback is required.

Rick says:
> 5. Today DVD tools have reached price parity with VCD tools and so there is
>no advantage here to using VCD or SVCD.

Wait for our new products.

Rick says:
> 6. Given DVD on CDR is an implied standard, as opposed to being something
> created by any specific entity, all claims for royalty are completely
>circumvented.
> Again, no SVCD advantage.

Patents for DVD technologies and MPEG2 encoding will be enforced.  Also,
Again, a computer is required to play back one of these discs.

Rick says:
> 7. Not all encoders support the MPEG2 formats of SVCD.  In fact I'm finding
> that most of the entry level MPEG2 encoders, those that sell for under
$2,000,
> don't support it at all. Hence SVCD developers may in fact wind up paying an
> additional cost just to be able to encode the stuff.  Notwithstanding this 
> consideration,
> fact is in the worst case, cost of encoding for DVD is no higher than for
> encoding for SVCD. Again SVCD has no advantage.

Most customers with video communications problems use hi-end service bureaus
so the cost of encoding hardware is irrelevant. What costs customers money
is CPU requirements for playback, the inconvenience of computer playback and
expensive DVD and computer playback. Simply, don't buy an encoder that
doesn't support SVCD.

Rick says:
> 8. And lets not forget Microsoft and their WebDVD, not WebSVCD.  They swing
a mighty club.

Once again, customers buy what is cheapest.  SVCD players will be $120. We
are not arguing WebDVD vs. WebSVCD, but WebSVCD-R vs. WebDVD.

Rick says:
> As neat as SVCD sounds, justifying it via the Internet connection is real
hard
> to do.

We justify it by being cheaper in playback hardware requirements.
VCD-Internet is just a plus to add ordering and hi-speed html page access.

SVCD-Internet is a very serious threat not only to DVD, but also to on-line
video distribution business models.

Thanks to both Rick and Glen for these insights into the two technologies.

I would like to thank the host of our ICDIA web site, 
Novare - President - Marshall Weinreb 
Novare specializes in technology solutions; 
Web enabled applications.- internet/intranet/xtranetdesign/java/Linux
(freesoftware) 
Their major focus: create digital on-line document datawarehouse, using SGML;
from scratch or convert....
They currently host the debian linuxmail server...and the ICDIA web site.
To work with a creative and fun team of professionals, call  214-720-0700 or
e-mail, marshall@novare.net

If for some reason you do not want any more copies of Plug & Play, just send
me an e-mail telling me to stop.  

If you wish to join IDMA, just ask for a membership application.







Thanks Kinetic!

© 1998 Kiosks.Org.
All Rights Reserved.

LinkExchange
LinkExchange Member