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  • Macworld Tokyo: iMac Price Increase, Bluetooth for OS X, Cinema HD Display, 10GB iPod


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    At Macworld Tokyo this week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote speech included four significant announcements. Three can be categorized as technological advancements, while one, higher iMac prices, was blamed on higher costs.

    Due to what the company called significant increases in component costs for memory and LCD flat-panel displays, Apple ratcheted up all iMac prices by $100. Effective immediately, the new suggested retail price for all three models will be $1,399 for the 700 MHz G4 with CD-RW drive; $1,599 for the 700 MHz G4 with Combo drive; and $1,899 for the 800 MHz G4 with SuperDrive. The price increases only affect iMacs, for now.

    In an interview, Greg Joswiak, director of product hardware marketing, said the price increase is affecting all desktop computer makers, but many manufacturers are de-configuring their computers rather than raising prices.

    We have seen memory costs triple, and flat-panel prices have increases by 25 percent, Joswiak said. We chose to keep our configurations the same. (Others) create new configurations that obscure what's going on.

    Joswiak sited examples of competitors, including Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Gateway, who no longer offer what they did as recently as two months ago. He said in January, for $800, HP offered the Pavilion 520n, which featured 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive. In February, he said HP's 540n cost $850, and came with only 256MB of RAM and a 40GB hard drive.

    Jobs, in his keynote, also said Apple has stepped up iMac production to meet higher-than-expected demand. iMacs had a strong demand, more than any other, Joswiak said. We'd love to be more caught up, but now we're in ramp volume, and we can make about 5,000 a day.

  • Canopus to Unveil Hybrid Workstation and Video Transcoding Software Tool at NAB


    From Canopus PR

    Canopus will be unveiling two new products at NAB - CWS-100, a hybrid linear/nonlinear workstation for the broadcast market, and ProCoder, a professional video transcoding software tool.

    CWS-100 is a high-end, hybrid linear/nonlinear editing workstation for the broadcast market that combines the best of both linear and nonlinear editing systems. Selected for use by NHK, Japan's largest broadcasting company, CWS-100 boasts a linear workflow perfect for newsrooms, while offering an unmatched nonlinear feature set suited for more complex editing projects. CWS-100 features Canopus Rextor, the company's next generation realtime editing application.

    ProCoder is a professional transcoding software tool for video professionals who encounter multiple formats on a regular basis. Designed for speed and flexibility, ProCoder retains video quality while transcoding for multiple uses in record time.

  • Compaq Shareholders Approve HP Merger 9 to 1


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    As expected, Compaq Computer Corp. shareholders approved the company's proposed merger with Hewlett-Packard March 20, by a nine-to-one margin. The announcement came after a shareholder's meeting near its Houston headquarters. The HP buyout would merge the two electronics giants, and signal the largest-ever computer industry merger.

    For the most part, Compaq shareholders welcomed the deal. HP is slated to pay almost $22 billion for Compaq, which was recently appraised at $18.3 billion.

    Proponents for both sides hope to gain strength from the proposed amalgamation, following the recent high-tech industry slowdown that led to layoffs at both companies. Executives at both companies acknowledge that more layoffs would be likely after the buyout, due to inevitable streamlining of the two companies.

    The Compaq vote came a day after the highly publicized and contested HP shareholders' vote. HP proponents, led by Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina claimed victory, while opponents, led by HP heir Walter Hewlett called the vote too close to call. An independent firm will validate and certify the HP vote, which could take several weeks.

    "I am gratified that Compaq shareholders have seen the power behind the merger of these two great technology companies," said Michael Capellas, Compaq chairman and chief executive officer. "The complementary strengths of Compaq and HP provide a truly unique opportunity to reshape the information technology industry."

  • HP CEO Claims Victory in Compaq Buyout


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Though the final tally won't be certified for some time, Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina claimed victory March 19 in her company's $22 billion effort to buy the Compaq Computer Corp.

    It would be the computer industry's biggest deal ever. The buyout would merge two of the world's largest and most prominent PC makers, in an effort to become more streamlined and withstand the recent high-tech slowdown and overall drop in PC sales. Hewlett-Packard has about 88,000 employees; Compaq has about 70,000.

    Late in the day, after a meeting of about 1,000 HP shareholders in Cupertino, California, Fiorina claimed a slim but sufficient margin," according to CNN. HP heir Walter Hewlett said that Fiorina's victory claim was premature and the vote was too close to call.

    While Fiorina has championed the merger over recent months, the Hewlett and Packard families, which together control approximately 350 million, or 18 percent of HP shares, have opposed the merger, resulting in a bitter public battle that has played out in front of company shareholders.

    Independent firm IVS Associates will validate and certify the vote, which experts say could take as little as a few days or as long as several weeks. Even after the vote tally, a challenge may drag out the result even more.

    Compaq shareholders, who will vote on the merger March 20, are expected to approve the deal, partly due to the high price HP will pay for Compaq stock.

  • neoDVDstandard Bundled With Sony Drives for DVD+RW/+R and CD-R/RW


    Reprinted from a MedioStream press release:

    SAN JOSE, Calif., March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- MedioStream, a leading provider of PC-based software for recording video to DVDs and CDs, today announced that its neoDVDstandard software, with its patent-pending "Direct-to-Disc Recording" and "Smart Buffering" features, is included in the latest generation of DVD+RW drives from Sony Electronics.

    neoDVDstandard is bundled with the DRU-120A ATAPI internal model and the DRX-120L i.LINK (IEEE 1394) external burners from Sony. Both drives combine DVD+RW/+R and CD-R/RW recording with DVD-ROM and CD-ROM playback in one device. With this product bundle, consumers have an all-in-one solution for creating custom DVD-Video and Video CD discs from digital or analog videotapes, as well as the option to playback the discs on the computer or set-top DVD players.

    neoDVDstandard was selected by Sony for its latest generation of DVD+RW drives because of its simplicity and ease of use. Designed specifically for the home camcorder user, neoDVDstandard enables consumers to quickly and easily create high-quality customized video discs right from their home PC.

    About neoDVD
    Designed specifically for consumers, MedioStream's neoDVD suite of DVD authoring software offers a complete, real-time end-to-end solution for consumers to easily capture, edit, compress, author and burn DVD or VCD video files onto their recordable DVD and CD drives. neoDVD supports live capture from camcorders, as well as input from DV, AVI, Quick Time, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video files. In addition, neoDVD offers automatic PAL/NTSC format conversion, and the ability to personalize DVDs or VCDs, including adding audio overlay, chapter titles, customized menu, and transitional effects. With no video processing experience, the average camcorder user can quickly and easily create DVDs or VCDs on their home PC.

  • Videometry Inc. Announces New Line of Stock Video Footage


    Reprinted from a RealNetworks press release:

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA. March 12, 2002 Videometry, Inc., digital content producers and creators of Imagery + Motion X Digital brand of royalty-free stock footage, announce the creation off a new line of royalty free stock footage titles called the Videometry Motion Backgrounds series . The first of the new royalty free digital stock footage titles are Motion Backgrounds Volume 1 Digital Mix 1; Motion Backgrounds Volume 2 Digital Mix 2; Motion Backgrounds Volume 3 Kaleidoscopes; and Motion Backgrounds Volume 4 Sliders.

    The Videometry Motion Background series was created with After Effects in Final Cut Pro then exported and rendered using the PhotoJPEG codec as a QuickTime movie file. The series will initally total 12 volumes with the first 4 titles available as of April 1, 2002. Each title will consist of a two-CD set with a total of 30 images. Each image is 8 seconds long and is seamlessly loopable.

    With a price point of only $249 for each 30-clip title, Videometry's new Motion Backgrounds will save both time and money while adding creativity to any production.

    The first set of titles will be available for preview beginning March 18, 2002 with the titles available for purchase beginning April 1, 2002. Members can preview and pre-order at a discount. Check out the Videometry web site for more details. Look for the next set of titles to become previewable in April for a May release.

  • JVCs New Digital/Analog Dual VTR


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    JVC Professional has announced its new Mini DV and S-VHS dual editing deck, the SR-VS30U. The deck will feature One-Touch Dubbing and an IEEE 1394 connection for both DV and VHS. In addition, the SR-VS30 is designed to act as two independent decks, with the ability to play back or record on both decks simultaneously. JVC said many videographers still use their high-end camcorders as playback devices when transferring footage into nonlinear systems. As a permanent fixture in a studio, the dedicated SR-VS30U saves wear on a camcorder in addition to offering greater convenience and ease of use.

    A JVC spokesperson described a couple of improvements over its predecessor, the SR-VS20U (MSRP $2,000). The deck's TimeCode feature should improve editing accuracy. In addition, JVC has beefed up the unit's IEEE 1394 connectivity, allowing it to work with more systems.

    The SR-VS20U is slated for an April release. A price had not yet been set.

  • Uleads DVD Workshop Offers Advanced Authoring


    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    With Ulead's release of DVD Workshop, a new DVD authoring program, the company builds on DVD MovieFactory, which it released last year.

    While MovieFactory ($50 MSRP) users are locked into non-customizable templates, DVD Workshop users will have precise controls over all creative aspects of their DVDs, a Ulead spokesperson said. The program offers the ability to include high-end effects such as motion backgrounds, buttons and scene thumbnails.

    In addition, DVD Workshop includes Ulead's MPEG-Direct capture, which is designed to capture video directly to the MPEG-2 format via IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and analog capture boards. The program also supports video captures beyond the problematic 4GB-capture limit.

    DVD Workshop outputs video to DVD, VCD and SVCD. Before committing their projects to DVD or CD discs, users can preview their work in real time. DVD Workshop is available at a suggested retail price of $299.

  • Nokia and RealNetworks Announce Mobile Audio and Video Alliance


    Reprinted from a RealNetworks press release:

    CeBIT, Hanover, GERMANY, March 12, 2002 - Nokia, the world leader in mobile communications, and RealNetworks, Inc., the global leader in Internet media delivery, today announced a long-term alliance to integrate RealNetworks' digital media technology on Nokia's mobile devices and mobile operator network solutions. Working with their mobile carrier and media company partners, RealNetworks and Nokia will enable millions of mobile consumers worldwide to enjoy live and on-demand access to digital audio and video for information and entertainment.

    Under the alliance, Nokia will include the mobile version of the RealOne Player as a standard feature on all its mobile devices that use the Symbian operating system, which is Nokia's operating system for 2.5G and 3G mobile devices. The RealOne Player, with support for 3GPP media formats, RealAudio, and RealVideo, will be included as a standard feature on the Nokia Series 60 Platform, the best-of-breed mobile device software platform available for license to other mobile device manufacturers. Nokia Networks will provide integrated media solutions to mobile operators as an authorized reseller of RealSystem Mobile, RealNetworks' standards-based media delivery platform.

    The companies have agreed to a joint technology and business roadmap to enable enhanced media experiences for consumers and scalable business solutions for mobile operators. This includes:
    - Working together to enable consumers to quickly and easily transfer audio and video from the RealOne Player on their PC to their Nokia mobile devices;
    Addressing digital rights management issues jointly, and
    Ensuring robust 3GPP capabilities and compliance in mobile device and network products.

  • Alera DVD Recorder Wins DVDplusRW.org Award


    Reprinted from an Alera press release:

    Van Nuys, CA March 7, 2002 - Alera Technologies, developer and manufacturer of Advanced Optical Recording Solutions proudly announces that its DVD+RW Cruiser DVD Recorder has won the first DVDplusRW.org Editor's Choice Award for outstanding achievement. DVDplusRW.org is an independent international Web site supporting the new DVD+RW DVD recording format that has been developed by the DVD+RW Alliance.

    The DVD+RW Alliance seeks to develop and promote a universally compatible, rewritable DVD format to enable true convergence between personal computing and consumer electronics products. DVD+RW Alliance members include Alera Technologies, Dell, Hewlett-Packard Company, MCC/Verbatim, Philips Electronics, Ricoh Company Ltd., Sony Corporation, Thomson Multimedia and Yamaha Corporation, among others.

    All in all, I am very impressed with the efforts made by Alera Technologies to distinguish its DVD+RW product from its competitors. It is a very good CD-R/CD-RW/DVD+RW drive, which offers many advantages being supplied in an external casing with flexible connection options, and it comes with a very well-acknowledged software package. stated Jorg Kennis, Editor of DVDplusRW.org. The Alera DVD+RW Cruiser respectfully deserves the very first DVDplusRW.org Editor's Choice Award for outstanding achievement.

    The DVD+RW Cruiser DVD Recorder provides video professionals and enthusiasts with the key features needed for creating DVDs or CDs. It has the tools to author professional video presentations and put them on DVD discs in a format that can be played back on most DVD set top players and computer DVD-ROM drives. The DVD+RW Cruiser is also an excellent tool for archiving and exchanging data.

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