Kiosk Newsbit

From: [email protected]

Plug & Play   Eighth year of publication   Volume 8     Number 2  Circulation
over 1,500
Member Issue. 
To our regular readers.

Special deal for Portable DVD players & VideoCD 5 disc changers.
As you know the cost of electronic products goes down rapidly when purchased
in large quantities.  For any large corporation, handling orders for one and
two items is very expensive and time consuming.  During our meeting last week,
Panasonic Home and Commercial Products Company agreed to recognize the readers
of Plug & Play as one customer, if we appointed one company to handle all our
business.  This means that our readers can buy certain items, in ones and
twos, at large quantity prices. John Gray, a director and a past chairman of
the IDMA has agreed that, as pmpro is already in the distribution business,
Panasonic will ship to them, in bulk and they will act as the order, delivery
& payment point.  All orders must be paid for with a credit card and can be
placed by an e-mail to [email protected]
The first two products we selected are among the hottest items in their range.
The Panasonic, Technics, SL-VM500, a five disc VideoCD changer.  
Not only does this piece play the huge library of Movies on Video CDs it is
also a superb Audio disc player.  You can even mix, movies and music CD's in
the five-disc tray.  Plug & Play readers can purchase this player for the
unbelievable price of $179, including, thanks, to John Gray and pmpro, five
VideoCD movies FREE with the five disc changer. 
You will be able to choose any five movies from a list of twenty.  (First 500
orders only)
So, if four of you get together and order players with different movies, you
can start a digital movie library with twenty titles.  Both pmpro and McNo
have a huge range of VideoCDs to choose from to extend your collection
The Panasonic Portable DVD -Video player.  
Definitely the Hottest item in electronics right now is the Panasonic Portable
DVD -Video player.  Due to its success, this player has been almost
unobtainable.  We have been promised a hundred units are available for our
members, (That includes you) and they can be purchased at the special price of
$1199.  Again pmpro will include five VideoCDs, chosen from the list, with
this player.  (Of course the Panasonic portable DVD-Video player also plays
Audio and VideoCDs.)   
 You must mention Plug & Play and orders must be by e-mail and paid fore with
a credit card.  (If you don't want to e-mail your credit card number, you can
do that by phone.)
To obtain more details send an e-mail to [email protected] or fax to
Telephone numbers are 1-800-340-7888, 202 965 5910.

Are you the answer to the question?  
Is your company the answer to the question?
Is your product the answer to the question?

Every day I get asked questions, lots of questions.
"Where can I get this?" 
"Who can do this?"
"Who would be the one to work with on this project?"  
"Which of these would best suit my needs?"  And so on, I think you get the

The question I get asked most is "Do you have the correct phone number and a
contact  for 'XYZ company'?"
Our members and our readers expect me to know the answer.  
The barest minimum amount of information I need is:
The Name of your Company.
The Name of the best person to Contact.
The Phone number & an E-Mail address.

Please don't assume just because you have known me for years that I have your
correct phone number.  (While sorting the data base the other day I know for a
fact that some phone numbers got out of sync.)  So, in a lot of cases I don't!
OK I screwed up!
And if I don't have this information, you may be losing out.
It just takes a few moments to Hit 'Reply' and type in this information.  DO

While you are doing that, if I don't know you already, you might want to give
me some other reasons why I should suggest that people call you.
Such, as: 
What you do.
How well you do it.
Who you have done it for in the past.
What you sell.- What you provide - What you want other people to know about

But I know you are busy, so please, make sure we have your CURRENT and CORRECT
phone number and a contact name. At the very least, hit 'Reply' and type" Keep

Apart from helping me to look good, by being able to answer questions,
remember, Plug and Play does go to 1,500 multimedia types just like you.  If
the information is interesting I will print it as well.
What I need to know right now, because I am being asked every day is:
Do you have surplus equipment, particularly CD-I "Stuff". If so please let me
know.  People are looking for the "Stuff" you have in the back room.  Turn it
into money, while you help someone solve a problem.
Right now I have a member who needs a new or used Goldstar Portable CD-I
player.  Have you got one?
Second question:
Are you DVD ready, can you make DVD titles.  What have you done in DVD that
you can hold up and say "We did this?"
People are asking, "Who do you know who can make me a DVD title, without a lot
of problems?"
Send me a copy of your titles as proof of competence and I will put you on the

Conference news.

IDMA 4th Annual Summit. Where the 'Experts' come, to become 'The Experts.' 
The provisional date and venue for the Forth Annual IDMA Summit is Dallas, Texas .
22-24 October.  This is the one event that Plug & Play readers should not
miss.  It is still the only conference devoted just to Television Based
Multimedia.  While it is not in any way a large conference, it is a totally
focused event, just for this industry.  (Last October at the 1998 Summit we
saw sneak preview demonstrations of Web-DVD and the Motorola Blackbird.) 
This year Panasonic will take over as the sponsors of the Eighth Annual IDMA
Awards and Gala dinner which is so much part of this neat event!
If you want to be part of Summit 99, now is the time to tell me.

European DVD Summit, Dublin, March 30 - April 1.
Several of our members have decided to attend this conference, including
Bernie Mitchell, Philip's DVD evangelist.  Bernie will be on a platform with
me in the Professional/Enterprise session.

The Biarritz Festival, which the IDMA has been involved with for several years
has changed both it's name and it's venue.  This years event will be known as
Festival Comunica and will be held in the beautiful French seaside town of
Deauville, June 10-12.   If you want to be part of the French multimedia
'scene' then this is the place to be 'seen!'
For details call me or go to 

DVD PRO University 
Nearer home, the line up of speakers for DVD Pro Universtity, has been announced.
DVD PRO University, will feature actual 90 minute demonstrations of the
following eight DVD authoring tools:  Scenarist, DVMotion, DVD Producer,
DVDirector, DVD Maestro, DVDAuthorQuick, Impression, and EasyDVD. 
The event will be held March 14-16, 1999 at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort in
Santa Barbara.  Conference Chairperson, Dana J. Parker said.  "Attendees will
be able to make A to B comparisons of the available products, not just from a
spec sheet, but from actually seeing how the authoring tools work on the same
set of assets."  
"This is a one-stop shop for anyone considering any kind of DVD title
A full conference agenda and Registration can be found on DVD PRO's Web site

Interactive advertisements
In the last Plug & Play we discussed the future of Interactive advertisements.
Here is a reminder:
"As you watch a program, instead of stopping every fifteen minutes for
advertisements which are of very little interest, an icon would high-light
when for instance, the star was wearing a new fashion, driving a new car or
even eating at a fashionable restaurant.  If you pressed the button only for
those that were interesting to you, at the end of the program you would have a
personal set of advertisements for just the items that you had selected." 
Well guess what.  Within days, we discovered a company ready to do this now.
To Quote Gillian Bonner, an Interactive entertainment producer. "Imagine your
favorite TV show where you can become part of the story or click on a
character's outfit or jewelry, see a description, be connected to the web and
buy it instantly. Unlike regular TV, where commercials are forced on you, our
format allows the viewer to see only commercials for products she's interested
in and then she can purchase right then and there, no waiting!"

Gillian Bonner was unveiling plans to create a new DVD venture: Fire Horse
Entertainment, which will launch a new series of ground breaking interactive
entertainment titles for women. 
If you want to be part of this Interactive Advertising world, call me and I
will put you in touch.

Capturing Demographics.
Of course the other way, is to find out what kind of person you are and what
your needs are, then send you advertisements for just the products you are
interested in.  To do this however one needs to capture and constantly update
your demographics.  After all it is no use knowing that I am interested in a
new car, the week after I purchased one.
I have just read an article by Jason McCabe, in the Silicon Alley Reporter.
This expresses concern, that the next generation of Intel chips, the Pentium
III chip, will have an individual serial number, which can be transmitted back
across the internet to Intel.
So if they know which computer has which chip and which computer I purchased,
then they can identify me.  Currently, computers such as those that operate
AOL, invade my computer and "Do things", they call it 'up-dating files', but I
have no idea what they are doing.  Now AOL know who I am because I pay the
bill every month.  But I would not think that it is too difficult to program
any computer I may communicate with, to search for my Intel serial number and
therefore know who I am.  Right now if I visit a web site, I am anonymous,
unless I chose to tell them who I am.  Pretty soon, they will know, not only
that I am interested in the products or services that web site promotes, but
also my serial number.  If Intel were ever to sell their list of serial
numbers, then they would know not only, who I am, but also where I live.
Now that is what I call Capturing Demographics.  Used honestly, it could be
the secret of interactive advertisements.  Used by the wrong people, it smacks
of Big Brother.  
Let me know what you think.  
(Since this was written I understand that Intel have reconsidered the chip

New Web-Site.
Digital Video Systems has a new web site.
If you are looking for CD-I players or other DVS products, I suggest you visit

New CD- List
A CD-i List has been especially created for CD-i developers to serve as a
discussion board on all kinds of subjects, such as OS-9, CD-i authoring tools,
MPEG encoding, CD-Recording, etc.  To join the list, which is free and for
more information, please refer to

This weeks technical question, is from one of our readers:
How can I make VideoCD titles starting with AVI files and a CDR? 
To make VideoCD starting with AVI files, you will need a way to encode 
the files and a way to author and record a VideoCD disc.
The least expensive MPEG encoder I'm aware of that can do the job of
transcoding AVI to MPEG is the Ligos package at $180 (see
The best tool for authoring and recording a VideoCD title is "CDMotion for 
VideoCD" at a cost of $900 (see
Titles created using the above proposed tools would be compatible with all of the 
following:  Windows 95, 98 and NT4, All known VideoCD players, most DVD-Video
set top box players and CD-I players.  (Answer provided by Rick Hallock of MTC.)

Sonic Solutions ships 100th DVD system in Europe
Sonic Solutions' Sonic DVD Creator and DesktopDVD products have reached
European sales of 100 units.
Sonic DesktopDVD is a single workstation that includes MPEG variable bit-rate
and constant bit-rate video encoding and Dolby Digital stereo audio encoding.
Complete DVD authoring provides an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop environment for
assembling audio, video and graphic elements and adding interactivity. Real-
time DVD proofing is built-in, as well as formatting and printing of a disc
image which can then be transferred to a DVD-R recordable disc or DLT tape. 
To find out more about Sonic DesktopDVD, DVD Creator and DVD-Audio products 
call 888-SONIC-4U or visit our web site at"

Portable DVD theater offers private movie viewing 
i-O Display Systems, a leading manufacturer and supplier of head-mounted
personal display devices, reported the availability of the Televizer portable
DVD theater. Televizer lets people conveniently watch DVD movies anywhere,
anytime -- simply by putting on the i-glasses Personal Display System. The
portable Televizer is lightweight and offers a private, home theater-quality
viewing experience providing hours of movie entertainment for business
travelers and other consumers. Business travelers can also use the Televizer
as an innovative, powerful sales presentation system for DVD- or video CD-
based presentations. 
The Televizer system includes Panasonic's P-10 portable DVD player, a pair of
i-glasses manufactured by i-O Display Systems and a custom carrying case.
Televizer also includes a rechargeable battery that provides three-and-a-half
hours of movie watching per charge. 
The i-glasses are a lightweight (8 oz.) pair of glasses with tiny, embedded
LCDs and an advanced optical design based on the display technology used in
modern fighter jets. When connected to a video source (DVD, VCR or video game)
the i-glasses create the illusion of an 80-inch screen floating 11 feet away
from the viewer. The i-glasses also have comfortable and hygienic over-the-ear
headphones that provide excellent stereo sound. 
The Televizer system suggested retail price is $1,495. 

Contact:   i-O Display Systems  WEB SITE:

The Super VideoCD controversy continues.
This letter is from one of our members, Glenn Sanderse of Compact Data inc.

Glen says."Our VCDMaker will be supporting SVCD in late January as well. As
per usual, I really enjoyed your comments and would like to bring to your attention
VCD-Internet.  VCD-Internet is a way to play back VCDs in Mac and PC with an
auto-run executable that requires NO INSTALLATION by the end-user. So, the
video plays and also, a set of 'links' are put on the screen, when selected
automatically open a web browser. Different video offers different links and
also, web pages can control video playback. Here is the PC screen dump: 

This is where SVCD is going to make an impression in North America. The web is
too slow for video so the video is put on disc. Also, web pages can be put on
the disc. VCD gives 1X MPEG1, SVCD-Internet will give VBR MPEG2. Then, using a
RTOS and a set-top box and a CD-R drive, a recordable video box will be
available much cheaper than any DVD recordable solution.
I think, in the developing world, popular demand is for Internet solutions,
more than DVD. SVCD-Internet will give consumers and businesses what they need at a
reasonable cost.  Also, we will shortly be announcing a distributor program for VCD-Internet
that will give multi-media developers a royalty on every VCD-Internet CD they, or
we, make for their clients.

Thank you Glen.  
As usual, for another view point we asked Rick Hallock our resident Guru, for
his comments.
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.  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.  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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

As neat as SVCD sounds, justifying it via the Internet connection is real hard
to Do

Thanks Rick.  Any further comments will be published if sent, to
[email protected]

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

Thanks Kinetic!

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