One of the more interesting pieces of video hardware shown at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was JVC‘s GR-DVM1. Similar in design to the company’s earlier GR-DV1, the ultra-compact DV camcorder incorporates the industry’s first polycrystalline-silicone TFT LCD monitor display–in English, a small, crystal-clear LCD monitor that delivers unparalleled clarity and brilliance for outdoor viewing even on bright, sunny days.
Also at CES, Videonics received Innovations ’97 Design and Engineering Awards from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) for their Titlemaker 3000 character generator and Video ToolKit 3.0 editing software.
The Innovations awards program is the industry’s most recognized, honoring excellence in the latest designs and concepts in consumer electronics hardware and software. The TitleMaker 3000 is a supercharged version of the company’s popular TitleMaker 2000. The Video ToolKit 3.0 is a PC-based, multifunction program for linear editing.
In Japan, Matsushita (Panasonic, JVC) has announced a new DV camera, the “Elegance Digicam.” The camera is the latest in the company’s line of all-digital video cameras that use the Mini DV tape format. Not only is the camera the world’s slimmest and lightest–it measures 44mm thick and weighs 530 grams–according to the company, it is also the first pocket-type digital camera to feature a four-inch liquid crystal monitor. The unit sells for 220,000 yen (about $1,882).
Sony has developed a software-based version of the DV codec (compression/decompression scheme) that can take advantage of Intel’s new MMX Pentium chip. The codec, called SoftDV, will also work with non-MMX computers, but provides substantially improved decoding and encoding frame rates on MMX computers. On non-MMX, 200MHz Pentium computers, the codec will decode DV data from the hard drive at 10 frames per second. On MMX-type 200MHz Pentium computers, the codec will decode the same data at 24 frames per second–not full-motion video, but darned close. On the encoding side, however, things move much slower. SoftDV will capture only 6.3 frames per second on an MMX-equipped PC. But make no mistake; these performances are a giant step in the right direction toward low-cost DV capture, playback and editing. All the specifications mentioned above are based on computers equipped with Microsoft’s DirectDraw graphics driver.
Micronix Computers, Inc. announced the release of two new motherboards that support Intel’s MMX technology. The two boards, the M55Hi Plus and the D5CUB, allow computer users to upgrade or configure their computers with MMX chips and customize their systems for their particular requirements. The M55Hi Plus was first released in February of 1996 and has been recently updated to include support for MMX technology. It uses a separate voltage-regulator module to accommodate the 2.8-volt MMX CPUs (both the 166MHz and 200MHz). The D5CUB has the required voltage regulator on board. Both boards also support non-MMX Pentium chips from 75MHz to 200MHz.
PowerComputing is selling its line of Power PC Mac clones– the PowerTower, PowerCenter and PowerBase–with an A/V option that converts them into turnkey, 640X480, 60 field-per-second nonlinear editing computers. The A/V option consists of a miroMOTION DC20 capture board, driver software, and Adobe Premiere 4.2 LE nonlinear editing software. PowerComputing sells the computers with the A/V option fully installed and ready to operate.