Data Translation, maker of the BroadwayTM video capture board, is separating its broadcast
video business from its consumer video interests. Data Translation will continue to market and develop
products such as the Media 100 for the professional broadcast industry, while a yet-to-be-named spin-off
will focus on data acquisition and digital video in the consumer market.
Intel Corporation outlined its plans for future chip technology at an Internet Media Symposium
held on July 24. In his keynote address, CEO Andrew Grove declared that the idea that the Internet will
soon provide expanded bandwidth at affordable prices “is a myth.” Instead, Intel is banking on hybrid
applications that combine the local storage of high-performance PCs and the content-rich Internet by
building its next generation of CPUs with Multimedia Expansion Technology (MMX).
MMX-enabled PCs will help make it possible for users to dial up friends on the Internet with
videoconferencing equipment, share applications and watch full-length movies with stereo sound.
Software developers have already committed to creating the applications that Intel hopes will
motivate consumers to buy the new “family PCs.” Microsoft, Macromedia, Criterion, IBM, NuMega and
Powersoft were among tool suppliers announcing support.
In the company’s fastest conversion ever, Intel expects the first Pentium processor with MMX
technology–dubbed the P55C–to be available in the final quarter of 1996 and the P6 to follow in 1997.
Future generations of computers will have IEEE 1394 (FireWire) ports, V.80 modems and more. By 1998
all PCs sold will have MMX.
A number of software titles using MMX technology will begin appearing later this year, and wide
availability is expected in 1997.
At its national sales meeting held in Atlanta during the Olympics, Panasonic announced that it
would bring recordable Digital Video Disk (DVD-R) consumer products to market in 1997. Panasonic
promised to bring a DVD camcorder to market sometime in the future.
DVD-R will provide a viable backup choice for nonlinear editing systems; one DVD-R disk can
hold as much data as 4,000 floppy disks.
Panasonic is the first major manufacturer to commit to manufacturing a DVD camcorder. The
company did not announce expected price ranges for its DVD products.
An appeals court in New York recently overturned a jury verdict and ruled that Sony‘s CCD
semiconductor chips and processes do not infringe two patents of Loral Corporation.
CCDs, or charge-coupled devices, are the “electronic eyes” of video cameras. They are also used
in fax machines and other electronic imaging hardware.
Loral earlier stated that the case applied to nearly all of Sony’s camcorders sold in the United
States between February 1989 and January 1993. Sony, however, insisted it had committed no
infringement, and that its CCDs used a different manufacturing process and structure from those of
miro Computer Products announced the latest member of its digital editing family: the
miroVIDEO DC30. This PCI-based video editing solution for Windows 95 systems offers bus mastering
(allowing you to synchronize your audio and video) with data rates up to 6 MB/second and on-board audio.
Bundled software includes the full version of Adobe Premiere 4.2 and Asymetrix 3D F/X animation
software. Suggested retail price is $999.
Two manufacturers have introduced low-priced DV camcorders in Japan with no word on when they plan
to export the models to the U.S.
Matsushita, Panasonic’s parent company, introduced a $1,800 Mini-DV camcorder in July.
The single-CCD camera includes a 90-minute LP mode as well as the 60-minute standard mode. A deluxe
model, priced at $2,130, is available with a 4-inch LCD monitor.
One week after the Matsushita introduction, Sony unveiled a Mini-DV camcorder with a
2.5 inch LCD monitor. Sony borrowed JVC‘s title of “the world’s smallest and lightest
camcorder” to describe the camera’s vertical design (2.3 x 5.1 x 4.6 inches) and 1.4-pound weight with
battery. It incorporates a FireWire input/output jack, still-shot feature and LP mode. It will be available in
September for about $2,240. The company gave no word on a U.S. debut.
Apple Books Avid Cinema for PowerPCs
Avid Technology, manufacturer of broadcast and professional video editing systems, moved into the
home and education market with the introduction of Avid Cinema. Apple Computer will bundle the digital
video hardware/software beginning with fall 1996 shipments of PowerPC-based Performa and Power Mac
The PCI card supports NTSC and PAL video standards, uses the M-JPEG codec scheme and
outputs near-VHS quality at 640 x 480 resolution (NTSC).
Avid has steered the software toward novice video producers with an easy-to-use interface that
includes more than 20 storyboard templates. Written by professional screenwriters, they suggest shots,
sequences and shot lengths and provide editing tips.
When the editing session begins, Avid Cinema arranges the digitized clips in a timeline according
to the selected (or customized) storyboard template. Users can edit audio and add transitions and titles.
Output the finished video to tape or save it in a QuickTime format for Internet distribution or computer
Other minimum requirements for Avid Cinema include a 1 gigabyte hard drive, 24MB RAM, Mac
OS version 7.5.3 and QuickTime 2.5. Current PowerPC owners with an available PCI expansion slot and
video inputs will be able to add Avid Cinema for $495.
Spy Cams Under Surveillance
Government agencies have used miniaturized cameras for years, but the diminishing size of consumer
camcorders and tapes are putting this high-tech tool into the hands of any James Bond fan. The trend is
beginning to cause a little commotion. It might seem fun (even necessary) to secretly videotape friends and
family or employees, but is it legal? It depends.
People participating in public events, on public property, do not need to give permission to be
videotaped. But if you use a hidden camera to record someone in a private home or performing a private
act, you’re asking for legal trouble. Yet many parents are resorting to surveillance cameras to record
domestic employees, especially childcare workers, in the parents’ home. Although most are using the
videos to catch potential child abusers, some caregivers are being booted from their jobs for getting caught
at less serious offenses, like watching TV during working hours.
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken notice of this relatively new use for camcorders. Is
it an invasion of privacy for an employer to record an employee in the workplace? Not always. “Secret
videotaping could fall under the federal wiretapping laws if the microphone is enable and you record a
private conversations,” says Lewis Maltby, an ACLU attorney. Employers may record business-related
conversations, but how do you stop the recording when an employee calls his doctor to ask about test
“Every state has a common-law right to privacy,” explains Maltby. “However, it’s whatever
judges and juries make it up to be. A camera hidden in your living room is probably OK; if it’s in the
nanny’s room, it’s probably not.”
Specialty retailers, like the Counter Spy Shop in New York, are raking in profits on cameras
sequestered in all types of personal gear: watches, gym bags, baseball caps. “We can custom-build any type
of camera you need, in any format,” says Manager Peter Pace. Wired or wireless, low-resolution or high-,
color or black-and-white. Many customers just want to have fun videotaping without the hassle of holding
and aiming a camcorder. Manager Peter Pace wears his Hi8 camcorder in his ski goggles for hands-free
recording on the slopes. James Bond would be impressed.