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Mediamatics, Microsoft and IBM team to solve DVD on Entertainment PC puzzle Mediamatics Ships Industry’s First Software DVD Solution With DirectShow Compatibility and Hollywood Movie Playback

Oct 27, 1997

Redwood City, CA, October 27, 1997--With an eye on accelerating the success (and mass consumer acceptance) of Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) on the PC, Mediamatics announced today the industry’s first flexible software DVD solution complete with Microsoft DirectShow compatibility and Content Scrambling System (CSS) software for playback of Hollywood movie content. Mediamatics is the world’s leading supplier of software MPEG decoders for PCs and a wholly owned subsidiary of National Semiconductor Corporation.

At a press conference hosted by Mediamatics, the company and industry DVD proponents, Microsoft, IBM and Warner Media Services, outlined technology advancements that increase the freedom in implementing DVD on Entertainment PCs. This DVD technology, which is included in Mediamatics’ DVDExpress solution, will soon enable multiple systems at different price points, allowing PC manufacturers to offer a wider range of DVD enabled PCs to meet consumer price demands.

Mediamatics’ DVDExpress A/V Pak is an integrated MPEG-2 and Dolby Digital AC-3 software decoder for audio and video playback that now includes critical software filters that provide a seamless user interface to the new Microsoft DirectShow Application Programming Interface (API). The DirectShow API is considered an industry standard that will be used by designers to develop DVD titles and applications, making DVD as pervasive as CD-ROM technology today.

“We appreciate Mediamatics efforts to help Microsoft bring a scalable DVD playback solution under DirectShow to fruition," said Eric Engstrom, general manager of DirectX multimedia at Microsoft Corporation. "This new technology will enable users to fully appreciate the interactive features of DVD on Windows today, and gain additional features on Windows releases in the future. For application developers, DirectShow provides an industry-standard interface and the software drivers they require to write robust DVD media applications that are scalable from pure hardware, to hybrid solutions including motion compensation-enabled hardware and software, to pure software. By supporting DirectShow, Mediamatics' DVDExpress decoders provide PC designers with flexible, future proof solutions for all DVD designs.”

Implementing Cost Effective DVD on PCs
With DirectShow compliance, Mediamatics’ DVDExpress solutions enable PCs to play a variety of DVD applications direct from the DVD drive, turning Pentium® class PCs into a full-featured Entertainment PCs. Until now, lack of industry standards created compatibility issues for system designers wishing to implement cost effective DVD on PCs.

DirectShow-compatible filters are an integral part of Mediamatics’ line of DVDExpress decoders. Specifically, Mediamatics has developed two configurations of its DVDExpress A/V Pak: (1) an all software version targeted at high end Pentium 266MHz MMX systems; and (2) a hybrid hardware/software solution, co-developed with IBM Microelectronics, that uses Mediamatics software and an IBM hardware MPEG-2 video decoder for low end non-MMX PCs. Both solutions enable low cost, high performance DVD functionality and playback of encrypted Hollywood movie content using IBM’s industry leading CSS tamper resistant software.

“Mediamatics’ DVDExpress architecture provides us with an automatic upgrade path from software MPEG with built-in support for our video decoder chip,” said Daniel Sullivan, director of licensing development at IBM Corporation. “With Mediamatics software MPEG-2/AC-3 filters, our hardware MPEG-2 video decoder and CSS software becomes DirectShow-compatible in record time and provides a flexible low cost DVD solution for mainstream PCs.”

PC Puzzle Complete: More Movies on DVD to Be Released
In addition to a standard API for system designers and CSS copy protection for Hollywood movie playback, another critical piece of the DVD on PC puzzle has arrived. Recently, major Hollywood content providers, such as Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment, MGM, Universal, Columbia Tri-Star and Warner Media Services, have announced their commitment to DVD, promising the release of more movies on DVD. With more DVD content on the market, the need for DVD-enabled PCs will increase.

Today, hundreds of titles are available, with many more scheduled to be released before the end of the year. “DVD technology delivers high quality video and audio in the home that was previously available only in movie theaters,” said Frank LoVerme, vice president of sales at Warner Media Services. “A cost effective solution that will not compromise on quality was the one piece missing for DVD on the PC. Today, Mediamatics makes DVD on the PC a reality.”

Flexible DVD Architecture Brings DVD PC Back to Freedom of Choice Model
Standards compatibility enables Mediamatics’ DVDExpress A/V Pak to scale or work with a variety of CPUs and graphics controllers, thus offering limitless options to designers.

While other software DVD solutions work only with specific processors and graphics chips, DVDExpress enables PC OEMs to choose which hardware components are best suited to their unique system designs and price points. Benefits for PC OEMs include: ability to choose among multiple CPUs, graphics controllers and DVD drives; flexibility in designs without system restrictions; multiple solutions to meet varying price points; and consistent “look and feel” through common GUI in both software and hybrid solution.

“Mediamatics’ DVDExpress solutions address the issues facing PC system designers today, enabling them to implement cost effective DVD functionality immediately,” said Pier Del Frate, vice president of marketing at Mediamatics. “We’ve been working closely with Microsoft to develop software DVD for DirectShow and ensure our DVD decoders offer full support for the API. Our relationship with IBM Microelectronics enables us to ship industry leading CSS software with our entire line of DVD products. Together with these companies, Mediamatics brings the pieces of the DVD puzzle together and makes the Entertainment PC a reality.”

    Features: DVDExpress A/V Pak (Software)
    Software Video Decoder Filter (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VideoCD, DVD)
    Software Audio Decoder Filter (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and AC3)
    Microsoft DirectShow 2.0 compatible (Navigational Manager, Graphical User Interface, Splitter)
    Software Content Scrambling System (CSS)
    DVDExpress A/V Pak (Hardware)
    Hardware Video Decoder Filter (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VideoCD, DVD)
    Software Audio Decoder Filter (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and AC3)
    Microsoft DirectShow 2.0 compatible (Navigational Manager, Graphical User Interface, Splitter)
    Software Content Scrambling System (CSS)

About Mediamatics

Mediamatics, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Semiconductor Corporation, delivers consumer quality digital video and audio hardware/software solutions for consumer, PC and Convergence markets. Mediamatics software and system expertise are the starting points for further integration into the emerging home entertainment market comprised of entertainment PCs, set-top boxes and DVD players.

Its products are licensed by Microsoft and major PC OEM manufacturers, making Mediamatics the world’s largest supplier of MPEG products. To receive additional corporate and product information, visit Mediamatics’ WWW site at: http://www.mediamatics.com.