Video News

  • DVD+RW Drives Spring up at COMDEX

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Hewlett-Packard, Philips and Sony each showed off their first DVD+RW computer drives in Las Vegas this week, at COMDEX 2001. These combination drives, which also write CD-R and CD-RW discs, all reportedly list for under $700, and have all been released. Each DVD+RW drive comes bundled with Sonic Solutions' MyDVD DVD-authoring software.

    Philips demonstrated its DVDRW208 drive, HP exhibited its DVD100i, and Sony displayed its new DRU110A/C1 drive at the expo.

    Ricoh also offers a DVD+RW combination drive, the MP5120A. Interestingly, a Philips representative told Videomaker that Ricoh is currently manufacturing Philips' DVDRW208 drive, but the company plans to soon produce its own. Reportedly, Ricoh also manufactures HP's DVD100i.

    HP also announced the Pavilion 9995 PC, slated for a Nov. 18 release. The system, which comes with a $1,999 MSRP, is said to boast a P4 2GHz processor, 512MB RAM and an 80GB hard drive.

  • Sonic Introduces DVDit! 2.5 at COMDEX

    Reprinted from a Sonic Solutions press release:

    Las Vegas, Nevada (November 13, 2001) Sonic Solutions, the world leader in DVD production systems, announced today at the Comdex Convention significant enhancements to the world's most popular application for authoring DVD titles, Sonic DVDit!.

    Expanded drive support, accelerated performance, and Windows XP compatibility are among the new features in this release. Suggested list prices for DVDit! have been lowered by 40%, to $299 U.S. for DVDit! SE and to $599 U.S. for DVDit! PE.

    Version 2.5 of DVDit! includes a new compression engine incorporating GoMotion technology from Ligos for converting AVI and QuickTime files to MPEG in faster than real-time, and adds support for many new CD and DVD recorders, including the new generation of DVD+RW drives, such as the HP DVD100i DVD-writer. Sonic has also announced compatibility with Microsoft Windows XP, ensuring a smooth transition for users wishing to move to Microsoft's latest PC platform.

    DVDit! is used by videographers, multimedia professionals and video enthusiasts worldwide to create high-quality personal and professional DVD titles with ease. With DVDit!, users are able to simply drag-and-drop video and audio into the application, design interactive menus and record the final content to DVD+RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-RAM or CD-R/RW. And with over a million units shipped, DVDit! has become the world standard software for DVD authoring.

  • MGI Brings Cinematic to COMDEX

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    In addition to the recently released VideoWave 5, MGI's new version of its popular video editing software, the company is also demonstrating Cinematic at the COMDEX expo in Las Vegas. Admittedly an entry-level video editing software package, Cinematic's selling point is its ability to automate the video production process, thus allowing users with limited creative ability or inclination to spice up their movies.

    The software is designed to accept video from analog and DV sources, and users, MGI said, have the ability to output movies to computer, back to tape, the Web, Video CDs or DVDs.

    Cinematic offers three different editing modes. CineMagic, for the complete novice, automatically creates a fully edited movie from the users' raw video footage and music of choice. For those who want a little more hands-on involvement with their productions, Cinematic's StoryBuilder mode contains step-by-step wizard guides (with templates such as Birthday, Wedding and Christmas) to help facilitate production.

    Finally, more advanced users, with a library of transitions and effects, can create their own productions from scratch or tweak the video that the software automatically produced.

    Cinematic comes with a $89.99 MSRP; VideoWave 5 is priced at $129.99.

  • muvee autoProducer Showcased at COMDEX

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Billed as the world's only smart automatic video editing software, muvee autoProducer is getting a lot of attention

    Targeted at the casual video-production market, muvee autoProducer is designed to quickly analyze a video for shot boundaries, poor quality material, object motion, face detection and camera motion. In addition, music selections are analyzed for beat and tempo. This analysis, the company said, is used to make automatic edit decisions regarding appropriate selection of footage, cutting points transitions and special effects.

    Muvee Technologies is marketing the product for those casual camcorder owners who don't have the time or patience to edit video productions with traditional editing software.

    muvee autoProducer is available for download at $59.95 at A simplified version, muvee autoProducer Lite, is now available for free download.

  • VOB Shows InstantCD/DVD 6 at COMDEX

    by Alan Sheckter, Videomaker news editor

    Among the video-friendly software solutions shown at COMDEX this week is InstantCD/DVD 6, a high-end recording application from Germany-based VOB Information Systems. A practical combination of applications usually requiring two or three different software packages, InstantCD/DVD 6 allows users to burn audio CDs, CD-ROM, videoCD and DVD-video.

    InstantCD/DVD 6 features include MPEG1 compression, support for direct video capture from an installed video card and a de-noise tool to clean up audio tracks. And, using VOB's InstantBackup, which features compression and encryption, users can back up large files to CD and DVD drives.

    InstantCD/DVD 6 has a suggested retail price of $79.99

  • Playstream to Deliver More Audio & Video Formats Over the Web

    Reprinted from a PlayStream/Business Wire press release:

    --Nov. 13, 2001--For companies seeking more value from streaming media service providers, PlayStream now enables virtually every media type to be delivered over the Web from a single account. This includes delivery of streaming media, progressive downloads, Java, animation and digital images.

    Customers seeking to improve their Web site's performance with regard to delivery times of media content, such as static images and animation, will find PlayStream to be an affordable alternative for improving Web site performance. Now, through PlayStream Director, customers may upload, manage, deploy and track content over two systems: PlayStream's core streaming service and/or PlayStream's new Web delivery service. Benefits of this two-in-one service include increased return on investment, improved Web site performance, ease of media deployment, lower infrastructure entry-cost, and improved end-user satisfaction.

    PlayStream provides media delivery services for over 1,200 businesses and consumers worldwide. PlayStream's proprietary easy linking technology empowers customers with advanced capabilities to play, manage and deploy audio, video, and multimedia content over the Internet. By integrating the Industry's most popular formats with PlayStream's proprietary technology, PlayStream is able to provide customers with greater simplicity and richer features in managing and delivering media over the Web.

  • MedioStream Demonstrates Full DVD-Format Compatibility at COMDEX

    Reprinted from a MedioStream press release:

    November 5, 2001 San Jose, CA MedioStream, Inc., a leading provider of PC-based consumer software for recording digital video on DVD and CD discs, will be showcasing its range of solutions at COMDEX from Nov. 12-16 in Las Vegas, and demonstrating full compatibility with competing DVD formats, including DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW.

    MedioStream will be active in DVD-related industry activities at COMDEX, including participating in events supporting both DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW formats. MedioStream also will provide product demonstrations and give away free trial software for its neoDVD suite of solutions at booth number L6720 in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

    Introduced in July 2001, the first product from the suite, neoDVDstandard, is a complete DVD authoring solution that takes out the hassles for consumers who just want to be able to easily edit, author and burn digital video onto a DVD or CD disc. NeoDVDstandard is compatible with all commercially available DVD recordable drives, including the Panasonic DVD-RAM/R combination DVDBurner, the Pioneer DVR-A03 DVD-R/RW drive, the Philips DVD+RW200 series drive, and the Ricoh MP5120A DVD+RW drive.

  • Recordable DVD Poised for Explosive Growth Through 2005

    Reprinted from a RDVDC/Business Wire press release:

    LAS VEGAS, NV (November 12, 2001) With personal video production projected to go mainstream, the Recordable DVD Council (RDVDC) held a press conference today to announce the launch of a program to assist hardware and software vendors in promoting consumer understanding of the three DVD Forum-approved recordable DVD formats and their supporting products. Opening remarks by RDVDC Council chairman Bon-Guk Koo, senior corporate advisor and former executive vice president of Samsung Electronics, were followed by a presentation from guest speaker Wolfgang Schlichting, research manager for IDC's Optical Removable Storage Program.

    "DVD Forum-compliant combination DVD drives that provide both write-once, play-anywhere and rewritable capabilities are available from multiple suppliers for $450 to $850 and are rapidly entering the mainstream consumer market," said Koo. "DVD-R media that plays on nearly every Forum standard player costs less than $5 and rewritable discs range in price from $10-$12. We are delivering on the DVD Forum's commitment to provide consumers with a cost-effective video communications medium for personal and business applications."

  • Panasonic and Palm Co-Promote SD Format

    Reprinted from a Panasonic/Business Wire press release:

    LAS VEGAS, COMDEX, Nov. 12, 2001 -- Panasonic and Palm Inc. have launched parallel promotions designed to raise consumer awareness and understanding of the SD Memory Card format.

    The SD Memory Card, jointly developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic), SanDisk and Toshiba, enables consumers to place their favorite music, video, digital photos and other data onto a flash memory card that's about the size of a postage stamp, then take those digital files virtually anywhere. SD Memory Cards allow consumers to share content among such digital devices as cameras, printers, computers, cell phones and handheld computers.

    As part of its promotion, Panasonic is providing, by mail-in offer, free Panasonic SD Memory Cards with the purchase of select Panasonic products, including digital still cameras, digital camcorders with built-in digital still camera feature, and SD-enabled audio products. Similarly, Palm is offering free Panasonic SD Memory Cards with the purchase of Palm m125, m500 and m505 SD-enabled handheld computers.

    Beginning today, the offers are being promoted in 30-second television spots airing on A&E, Discovery Channel, ESPN and CNN. The commercials demonstrate the interoperability of the SD format, showing a digital image taken with a Panasonic digital camera or camcorder and saved onto an SD Memory Card. The card then can be slipped into an easily configured Palm m125, m500 or m505 handheld and viewed on the handheld's display.

  • Caligari's New 3D Software Includes Facial Animator

    Reprinted from a Caligari press release:

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2001) -- Caligari Corporation today announced trueSpace 5.2 with a new Facial Animator tool that generates animated human facial muscle movements directly from speech or text input using high level animation controls. This new version of Caligari's award-winning 3D modeling program also features Key Frame Editor animation enhancements.

    Facial Animator can use a generic model of a human head or a model provided by the user. The model can then be matched to a real human face with trueSpace5.2's new texture editor that uses two photographs of an actual human face and converts them into a fully textured 3D model.

    The new Lip-Sync capability enables users to automatically create facial animation directly from speech by generating speech-related human facial muscle movements for the entire human face. Users can also easily combine speech animation with key-framed animations for high-level control of character emotions. Smiles, frowns, and expressions of anger, relief, or other emotion can be simply created by adjusting slider values.

    In addition to Facial Animator, trueSpace5.2 also includes an enhanced Key Frame Editor. All vertex and bone animation parameters are now available for editing in track and function curve views, and animation tracks can be assigned to individual vertices or bones. All function curves for a single animation parameter are now displayed simultaneously on one screen for easy editing.