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Plug & Play      Volume-8     Issue-Number 7 
Circulation over 1,750 Members & Registered Readers. 

To our regular readers.  

Contents:
In this issue:  Editors comments, General interest items.
New Players, New Peripherals, Authoring tools updates. 

>From the Editor.

As you will see from the items below, DVD Video has started to take off in 
the corporate world.  It would appear that many of the larger "Early Adopter" 
corporations are experimenting with DVD Video and some, as you can see are 
actually using it.  
Then there are those that find the restraints of DVD Video too confining and 
are patiently waiting for the Interactive DVD Video or DVD Video enhanced 
versions to appear.
Finally, there is the vast majority.  These companies are just now 
discovering how great VideoCD is and how easy it is to make VideoCD titles 
today.  When comparing the cost of VideoCD to DVD Video, it is hard to make a 
corporate sale.  Especially when the improved quality does not show too well 
on a 13" TV.
However the entry-level cost of DVD is still falling.  Authoring tools 
continue to fall in price and now there is a DVD Recorder at around $5,000.  
For those looking for DVD Video quality without the DVD costs, don't forget 
Panasonic's offer; a 60 day free trial of both the M2 authoring tools and the 
M2 player.  See below.

Thought for today.

If Sony Playstation and Nintendo both carry out their plans for creating Game 
Consoles which play DVD Video, are we going to have to ask the kid's if we 
can borrow their Video game player to watch a movie? 

The New York Times gets it right at last.

For some time, a group, led by Dana Parker has been lobbying for the correct 
use of the words "Disc" and "Disk."  Some editors refused to refer to CD's as 
Discs, preferring to follow the example of the New York Times and call them 
Disks.  Now the Times has decided to agree with Dana and call a Disc a Disc.  
Common sense does sometimes prevail.  

A new association for DVD?

Question: If a DVD association was to be formed tomorrow, what would be the 
reaction of the IDMA?
Answer: It would welcome the new Association, with open arms.

As the most important communication technology for the next decade DVD should 
and must have its own Association.  
The Interactive Digital Media Association, is not, and does not have the 
capability, or the desire to be, the DVD association.  The IDMA supports the 
corporate users of all Interactive Digital Television Based Multimedia's, of 
which DVD is only one.

>From our experience with the CD-i Association ten years ago, we learnt a 
valuable lesson.  The CD-i Association was totally bemused, by the glamour of 
Hollywood and the huge numbers generated by the consumer market.  It was 
because the CD-i Association had no understanding of the requirements of the 
Corporate Multimedia world, that the Business to Business group BB-Disc, was 
formed.  It was BB-disc that for several years provided the support 
organization for the CD-i professional developers.  Only when Hollywood 
rejected CD-I, did BB Disc eventually merge with the CD-i Association to 
become the ICDIA.  A group almost completely devoted to supporting the 
professional users of the CD-i platform.

It is my opinion that history will repeat itself and when formed the new DVD 
association will also, be seduced by the money and glamour associated with 
the world of movies and video game consoles.  This is in no way a criticism, 
just a reality check.  After all, who wants to be concerned with fifty copies 
of a training program for Forklift drivers, when they could be involved with 
the release of Star Wars on DVD, or the sequel to Mortal Combat for a DVD 
Game consul.  

When the IDMA was formed, its mission in life was to assist professional 
multimedia developers and their clients make the right decisions with regard 
to the next generation of Multimedia platforms.  
With the eminent announcement of a several Interactive DVD platforms and the 
existence of alternatives such as Super Video-CD, Panasonic's M2X, Sony 
DVD-Playstation and Nintendo with DVD, that mission will be even more 
important in the near future.  

For everyone to fully understand the features and benefits of DVD, both as a 
consumer entertainment platform and as a corporate Multimedia platform there 
is a definite need for both types of support organization.  It will be our 
intention to work closely with the new DVD Association when it is formed, 
continuing to provide support for the corporate users of DVD.  This will 
allow the new Association to devote its efforts to promoting DVD to the vast 
Consumer market.  So when the new DVD association is announced it will be 
with the total support of the IDMA.

Tender Loving Care

This title which two years ago won the first ever IDMA award for DVD is now 
on the shelves at your local store.  You should buy it.  Not only for the fun 
of playing it, but also as it is a great example of pushing the bounds of 
DVD-Video.  Many of the clever ideas, such as book-marking, testing and 
tracking inputs, could be used in a training title, just as well.  So, don't 
spend weeks working out how to create a 'Test' for your DVD Video title, call 
Don Roberto at Aftermath and ask for some help.  I have talked to them and 
they are very willing to offer some of their DVD routines, (at a price of 
course).   
If you have a copy of Tender Loving Care on either DVD format, then you need 
to check out the 'Buzz Page' to see user comments, reviews and awards 
announcements.  
It is at http://www.aftermathmedia.com/tlc/buzzframe.htm

The Euro creates training opportunities.

To familiarize its 7000 staff with Europe's new currency, the Euro, Allied 
Irish Banks, commissioned Multimedia studio Windmill to create a Professional 
DVD Video title. Called 'The Eurofiles,' this title recently won a Silver 
award at the New York Film Festival, (also known as the Corporate Oscars,) in 
the Professional Training Category.

Kevin Galligan, Director of Sales and Marketing of Windmill Lane Pictures
states: "This is really the icing on the cake for what has been an extremely
interesting project!" Susan Browne, Euro Training Co-ordinator at AIB, adds:
"We wanted to help staff absorb key points about the European Monitory Union 
in a way which was both entertaining and educational.  The Eurofiles' has 
been very well
received by staff and plays a significant part in our EMU training program."

AIB has purchased 500 Philips DVD Players for the project, which was the 
first of its
kind in Ireland. 
Windmill Productions Web: http://www.windmill.com


HTM Tyrolia Winter Sports DVD Gets Warm Reception

Another Philips DVD success story involves the Austrian manufacturer of ski 
bindings HTM Tyrolia.  For the recent Munich winter sports fair, this company 
commissioned a Professional DVD Video presentation.
Entitled "Tyrolia in Progress", the program contains an historical overview 
of HTM Tyrolia's products, from the 30's to the present day, and even looks 
forward to the future.

"Response from the crowds was excellent," states Fritz Siedl from multimedia
developer SL-Video. "People of all ages looked at the presentation and were
enthusiastic. We chose this platform for its very high quality picture, which 
certainly managed to captivate passers by."

The next step will be to distribute the presentation, which also contains 
ample  background information on the products, amongst retail outlets 
throughout Europe and the USA.

Videotronic presents: "DVD with a smell".

Today Point of Sale installations featuring advertisements for perfumes, 
colognes or deodorants always seem to lack one vital ingredient: scent.  It 
is a scientifically proven fact that scent has an impact on people's 
memories.  However, companies can now also add that missing element into 
kiosk presentation. 
This breakthrough in interactive Point of Sale promotions forms a perfect 
match with the new DVD technology. 
Just like any other kind of sensory input, smell can attract people to a 
product, and significantly influence their purchase decisions on the shop 
floor.  In fact, smell is often just as relevant to the buyer as price, 
quality, performance or design.  With the aerome system scent can be 
introduced into an interactive presentation.  It is possible to either
enhance the overall effect of a presentation, or allow the customer to select 
and sample a particular fragrance. The aerome kiosk allows a scent to be 
activated time and time again, without a second's delay. Its intensity may be 
regulated, though only one client at a time experiences the scent, which 
rapidly evaporates.
Consequently, bystanders and shop staff are not hindered by clouds of scent
or residue. 
The latest development is the Aerome terminal fitted with a Philips 170 
Professional DVD.  A 14" touchscreen monitor is used as a pointing device to 
activate a video sequence which will show the commercial of the chosen 
product. During the video sequence the DVD player will trigger the scent 
generator to release the scent of the particular product. 
Contact: psliedrecht@videotronic.com

Hybrid DVD version of ``In The Grip Of Evil''

Henninger Interactive Media has completed development of the dual-platform 
DVD version of "In the Grip of Evil'', a documentary film of the events that 
inspired the best-selling novel and movie "The Exorcist.'' 

"In the Grip of Evil'' examines the complete case history of a 13-year-old 
boy in Mt. Rainier, Md. who seemed possessed by evil spirits that required an 
exorcism by Catholic priests.  The Henninger DVD shows the original 
production that first appeared on the Discovery Channel, including a 
re-enactment of the boy's ordeal, as well as modern-day interviews with 
director William Friedkin, the priest who assisted the exorcist, clergymen 
and family who witnessed the paranormal event.  Also included is commentary 
from a psychologist who attempts to decipher how modern science explains the 
only exorcism in modern times that has been extensively documented. 

Taking up only one layer on the DVD disc, the viewer can listen to the diary 
of one of the priests as well as letters that were exchanged between the 
boy's family, the church and others. These sources can also be printed and 
emailed, including the 90-page diary, which is intended to take advantage of 
a computer's ability to scroll at much faster speeds than a video player. The 
e-commerce features allow viewers to visit Fox-Lorber's Web site and see 
their catalog and other items. 

Contact: Henninger Interactive Media   Web Site: http://www.henninger.com


Smartsoft looking for partners.

Smartsoft is a group of Romanian software engineers, average age 23, mainly 
working with European clients.  This group offers high tech programming at a 
relatively low cost. They are looking for an America partner. 
Contact Gene at Media 2000,  e-mail ehbadea@abts.net

Top Five DVD Players, USA, 1999

No.     Brand                   Model
1.      Panasonic               A120
2.      Pioneer         DV414
3.      Toshiba         SD3109
4.      Toshiba         SD2109
5.      Sony                    DVPS550D

New Players and Peripherals 

Pioneer Ships First 4.7GB DVD-R, Drops Price 70 Percent

One of the main stumbling blocks to Corporate DVD has been the $17,000 price 
tag on a DVD-Recorder, the only alternative to expensive pressing.  Pioneer 
New Media Technologies has announced shipping of sample quantities of the 
DVR-S201. 
This second-generation DVD-Recordable drive boosts the medium's capacity from 
3.95GB to 4.7GB, at the same time reducing the price to $5,400.  While not 
yet low enough to allow the adoption of DVD by most smaller companies it does 
at least make it available to the larger corporations.
Contact Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc., 2265 East 220th Street, Long 
Beach,
CA 90810; 800/444-6784, 310/952-2111; Fax 310/952-2990;
http://www.pioneerusa.com.  Please mention the IDMA

Panasonic first with DVD-Audio Players

Panasonic were the first company to bring DVD-video players to market and 
they are also the first company to introduce DVD-Audio players in the United 
States. They unveiled two players under the Panasonic and Technics brands, 
with tentative delivery planned for this Fall.

DVD-Audio's potential for concert-hall fidelity is I understand astounding.  
With a sampling frequency of 192kHz -- more than four times that of a currant 
audio-CD, DVD-Audio can reproduce those frequencies that lend live 
instruments their timbre or resonance.  These are often lost on compact disc. 
 The frequency range DVD-Audio will help retain every instrument's distinct 
expression.  As DVD-Audio is capable of 24-bit resolution as against 16-bit 
maximum for an audio-CD, one can expect the background noise to be reduced to 
imperceptible levels.

Like DVD Video, DVD-Audio is fully surround sound compatible.  It can decode 
music recorded in up to 5.1 channels giving listeners the feeling of a live 
performance.

DVD-Audio discs are capable of single or dual-layer capacity on one or both 
sides.  At its highest resolution the format can store well over an hour of 
music on the single-sided, single-layer disc.  Depending on resolution, that 
figure can increase to more than 6 hours. 
Alternatively, and in my opinion of more importance, the increased capacity 
of the DVD disc permits MPEG-2 video, still images, and text.  Therefore when 
the player is connected to a television or computer monitor, one can enjoy 
music videos with unparalleled audio and video quality. Internet URL 
addresses embedded in the disc can also link directly to relevant Web sites 
when the player is connected to a PC. 
The DVD-Audio players are expected to be available this Fall. 
Contact:   Matsushita Web Site: http://www.panasonic.com


Authoring Tools.

Panasonic and Multimedia Technology Center (MTC) announce a
very special one time offer.

For a limited time, MTC will offer their newest tool for creating
interactive media for your customers CD Motion for M2 with a 60 day free
trial.  If you decide to keep the tool, you may purchase it for $3,000,
which is 50% of MTC's normal VAR price.  This easy to use development tool
allows you to author interactive software for your customers by the simple
drop and drag method.

In support of this event, Panasonic is also offering to make available to you
one of their FZ-21S1k M2 players for a 60 day free trial.   If you decide to
keep the player, you may purchase it for $425, which is 50% of Panasonic's
normal VAR price.

Contact Panasonic at 201-392-6658  Lou Massucci  massuccil@panasonic.com

Play DVD For Less

MARGI Systems, DVD-to-Go, is now offered at a Manufacturers Suggested Retail 
Price of $299.00. 
The Margi Card solution turns notebook computers into Portable DVD players, 
for much less than the cost of a Portable DVD player., 
The compact PC Card also turns notebooks into a home theater system, allowing 
users to experience DVD movies, anywhere.  DVD-to-Go has a TV/audio-output 
option for connection to a standard or wide-screen television and a Dolby 
Digital Surround Sound system. 
In addition to decoding DVD digital files, DVD-to-Go also decodes and plays 
back MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video, AC3 (Dolby Digital) audio, and CSS encrypted 
media. 
Contact:   MARGI Systems   Web Site:   http://www.margi.com

Free design tool for DVD creators.

Pioneer New Media Technologies are making DVDesigner, their offline DVD Video 
authoring tool, available at no charge to developers who are Creating or 
planning to create DVD video titles.

What Is DVDesigner?

DVDesigner is a software tool that gives producers, content providers and 
instructional designers a way to plan and design DVD video programs before 
actual online work begins.  It's a portable, Java-based application that 
brings the creative planning function to the offline environment, allowing 
users to inexpensively construct an active, "DVD-legal" storyboard on their 
own laptop or desktop computer.  DVDesigner also assembles very specific 
authoring decision lists that can be used by high end authoring systems to
prepare for eventual compression and formatting (premastering) work.
Functions of DVDesigner include title, chapter and multi-angle layout, menu 
and button design, bit rate budgeting for video and audio, and a simulation 
mode to test the logic of a program.  DVDesigner is a cross platform tool 
that can be used on both PC and Macintosh platforms.

Why is Pioneer Giving it Away?
Andy Parsons, Sr. VP, Product Development & Technical Support
Pioneer New Media Technologies, Inc. told us: "Frankly, we want to make DVD 
Video easy to utilize, particularly in non-consumer applications.  We have 
always believed that for a new technology to be put to use, it must be 
approachable and easy to use.  This is particularly important for the smaller 
developers, system integrators or end users who may not yet have the budget 
to invest in more expensive online systems but want to prototype or pitch a 
DVD video title idea.  If more people can put DVD video to use, it's good for 
the industry's growth and the long term success of the format."

Who's Supporting It?

Both Sonic Solutions and Spruce Technologies have announced eventual support
for DVDesigner's authoring decision list format, which will allow users to 
bring the work they have accomplished offline into an online tool's user 
interface. Pioneer also invite other online system manufacturers to support 
the file format.

How to Get a Copy

Go to Pioneer's Web Site at http://www.pioneerusa.com/dvdesigner.html for an
overview of the tool and the procedure for getting a copy.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the tool or need support,
please send us e-mail at dvdv@pnmt.com.

VITEC Multimedia Aims MPEG Toolbox-2 at Home PC Market

In an effort to expand the DVD production market to home PC users, VITEC has 
developed MPEG Toolbox-2.  The software kit will allow anyone with a standard 
AVI capture board to convert large AVI files into smaller MPEG-2 files.  With 
the MTB2, a file can then be saved on the hard drive, burned onto a CD-R, or 
recorded on videotape. 
What is most important to a developer, the kit also provides MPEG-2 editing 
capabilities and will convert AVI files and still images into MPEG-2 audio, 
video, and system files. MPEG-2 is fully compatible with all MPEG-2 decoders 
on the market.
VITEC Multimedia, 408/752-8483; Fax 408/752-8486; http://www.vitecmm.com.

Sony introduce top of the line Authoring tools.

This single PC system, with pricing beginning at $175,000, uses Sony's DVD
authoring software and includes the company's DVA-V1100 video encoder,
offering fixed (single-pass) and variable (double pass) bit-rate encoding,
automatic scene change detection, closed-caption support, multi-reel
encoding, reverse 3:2 pull-down encoding, preview and review functions,
SDI/analog inputs, multi-angle encoding, and VTR remote control support; a
Dolby AC-3 encoder or Philips MPEG Audio encoder, attached via Sony's own
DVA-A1100 audio interface for on-board LPCM encoding and decoding and
supporting up to eight simultaneous audio streams; Sony's DVA-P1100 DVD
sub-picture encoder/decoder boards for real-time subtitle and menu encoding
and positioning, and supporting up to 32 subtitle streams; a 9-pin DVD
authoring interface board; Sony's emulation and emulation control units;
and one Pentium II or III NT workstation. The system also includes Sony
monitors and a SCSI hard disk array for storing media assets and
in-progress authoring project elements.
Sony Electronics, Inc. 408/955-5068; Fax 408/955-5340  www.sel.sony.com. 

Spruce DVDConductor

Newly announced by Spruce is DVDConductor, a stripped-down version of
the company's DVDMaestro software designed to stimulate the technically
entry-level corporate DVD authoring market. Conductor includes
software-based audio and video encoding tools, as well as support for
interactive menu creation, multiple audio and language tracks, and multiple
camera angles. The scaleable system can be upgraded with three packages:
DVDPowerPack, providing support for up to nine camera angles, eight audio
streams, 32 subtitle streams, motion menus, and more; DVDEntertainmentPack,
offering CSS encryption, parental lock, Karaoke support, and Divx support;
and DVDEncoderPack, featuring segment re-encoding, multipass VBR, and
inverse Telecine. 
Pricing for DVDConductor starts at $11,950; pricing for DVDStation CX, a 
full-throttle authoring system integrating Conductor with hardware audio and 
video encoders, begins at $24,950.
Spruce Technologies, Inc. 408/861-2200; Fax 408/863-9701 www.spruce-tech.com.

Sonic Solutions

Meanwhile, Sonic Solutions has upgraded its DVD Creator software and
announced the expansion of its line of DVD Creator Authoring Workstations
to include a sub-$20K option. Every Sonic DVD Creator Workstation combines
MPEG-2 VBR video encoding, audio production, Dolby Digital encoding,
DVD-Video authoring, proofing, and formatting into a single system. 
Sonic's DVD Creator line of workstations includes the new Authoring version 
that
sells for under $20K and includes authoring, formatting, and imaging for
DVD-Video titles.  Other versions are the Creator Workstation, Creator
All-in-One Workstation and Creator AV Workstation, which sell for just
under $40K, $80K, and $100K respectively.

The DVD Creator Workstations ship with Version 1.6 of Sonic's DVD Creator
software, which has been enhanced to provide simultaneous monitoring of
source and MPEG-encoded video; MPEG-2 software transcoding of AVI and
QuickTime video; Fibre Channel networking support; and the new AutoDVD
facility automation system. AutoDVD was designed to automate the creation
of DVD-Video and DVD-ROM titles. It allows users to control multiple
encoders, mulitplexers, DVD-R, and DLT drives remotely from any Web
browser. AutoDVD fully automates the DVD production process by allowing
users to open an AutoDVD Web page using the integrated http server where
they can select an authoring template, enter in source tape information,
and press go.
Sonic Solutions, Inc 415/893-8000; Fax 415/893-8008  www.sonic.com. 


"Plug and Play" is published by the Interactive Digital Media Association as 
a service to our members and readers. 

The Editor is Paul Holmes who can be reached at  (440) 349-9661

If for some reason you do not want any more copies of Plug  & Play, just send 
an e-mail, to IDMA1999@AOL.com.  with "Unsubscribe" on the Subject line.

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








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