Consortium Sets DVD-ROM 1.0 Spec

CobraBoy (
Tue, 5 Nov 1996 10:31:53 -0800

By Eric Brown
Amid growing skepticism about an early success for DVD, Mitsubishi
followed Sony's lead in announcing it would delay its DVD rollout until
spring. Still, the lust for capacity is an unstoppable force, and the
DVD juggernaut keeps on rumbling:
* The DVD Consortium completed version 1.0 of the DVD-ROM hardware
specification. Now DVD-ROM drive vendors targeting corporate publishing
applications (where copyright issues are not a big concern) can move
forward confidently. The specification includes an appendix on
Matsushita's proposed copy-protection encryption algorithm, which was
approved by the consortium, but is still being debated by the Hollywood
and computer factions in the copyright technical working group.
* Proving how effective corporate temper tantrums can be, Philips and
Sony, both of which had threatened to jump ship in August to establish
their own licensing scheme, have lured Matsushita and Toshiba to their
side. The companies will set up a one-stop licensing center for
distributing DVD royalties.

* Optical Disc Corp. introduced DirectCut, the first one-off mastering
system for DVD-ROM and DVD-Video. DirectCut is based on ODC's DRAW
(direct read after write) technology.

* Minerva Systems ( started shipping the
Compressionist 250, an MPEG 2 encoding system aimed at DVD-title
production. The $99,000 system provides human-assisted preprocessing and
control tools for variable-bit-rate encoding.

* Crush Digital Video announced availability of its DVD premastering
services in New York, including programming, encoding, authoring and

* Toshiba said it will ship DVD-ROM upgrade kits for its new line of
Infinia PCs by Christmas, with preconfigured Infinias available in the
first quarter of 1997; no prices were available at press time. Also,
Toshiba and Matsushita expected to begin selling DVD players in Japan on
November 1, starting in the low $700's. Pioneer and Hitachi also plan to
ship players in Japan this fall, while Philips is promising shipments in
early 1997; expect the first players in the United States in the same
time frame. (However, due to the copyright fracas, we anticipate that
bundled discs will be limited to the complete collection of Doogie
Howser, M.D. episodes.)

Crush Digital Video (212) 965-1501
Optical Disc Corp. (310) 946-3050
Minerva Systems (408) 970-1780


"The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and intelligent. The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." - Marshall McLuhan 1969

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