Micrsoft and Panasonic to support highMAT

Microsoft Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (Panasonic) today announced they are expanding the HighMAT specifications to support all major writable DVD media formats (DVD-RAM and other recordable DVD formats) for exchanging digital audio, pictures and video files between personal computers and consumer electronics devices in addition to CDs. The companies plan to support the new technology for DVDs in their respective product lines. HighMAT stands for High-performance Media Access Technology, which Microsoft and Panasonic jointly developed to make organizing and accessing photos, music and video on storage media such as CDs and DVDs easier and faster on a wide range of consumer devices.

In addition, Roxio Inc., maker of the award-winning software CD/DVD burning product Easy CD & DVD Creator® for Windows, and Creative, a worldwide leader in digital entertainment solutions for PC users, today announced their intent to support HighMAT in future products. To date, 14 companies spanning content creation software publishers, consumer device manufacturers and integrated circuit (IC) vendors have already announced their intent to support HighMAT in their products.

“To let consumers more fully enjoy the benefits of the dramatic shift in home video recording from videotape to DVDs, Panasonic believes that adding support DVD format support to HighMAT technology is essential,” said Fumio Ohtsubo, managing director of Matsushita Electric. “By adding HighMAT to DVD-RAM discs, we expect to expand user benefits and make it easier for consumers to play back their favorite video, photo and multimedia collections in a wide range of the latest consumer audio-video entertainment devices. We are very pleased that Panasonic can contribute to realizing the dream of seamless digital convergence, and we will join with Microsoft to encourage widespread industry acceptance by other manufacturers.”

“DVDs are the storage media of the future, and as usage grows, adding HighMAT support will offer consumers better, more predictable navigation and performance on consumer electronic devices,” said Amir Majidimehr, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “The continued adoption of HighMAT among a wide range of software and consumer hardware companies illustrates how this new technology fulfills a key need for easy access to the growing amount of personal digital memories and music collections stored on home PCs.”

DVD media, which offers more than seven times the data storage of CD media, is emerging as a new medium for data storage, enabling PC users to store a much larger collection of their home music, digital images and, in particular, home movies. IDC predicts that worldwide DVD burner shipments will grow 140 percent to over 12 million drives in 2003.1 Current HighMAT technology specifications (version 1.0) will be updated to incorporate support for DVD media by the end of 2003 to address this trend.

Panasonic HighMAT Players Available in Stores This Month

At the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2003), Panasonic introduced seven models of digital A/V products including CD players and DVD players that are compliant with the HighMAT 1.0 specification. They will be the first consumer electronic devices to have built-in support for the new HighMAT technology (audio and images), and will be available in the retail market by the end of May 2003. Models include the Panasonic DVD-LX9 portable DVD player, DVD-S55 single-disc player, DVD-F65 five-disc changer, DVD-F85 five-disc changer, SC-HT900 DVD/CD home theater system, SC-DT310 DVD/CD home theater system and SC-DP1 DVD/CD home theater system. Panasonic plans to incorporate HighMAT technology with DVD support into its future models of DVD products once DVD is added to the specification later this year.

Expanded HighMAT Support in Windows XP

Microsoft is already offering support for HighMAT CD creation directly in Microsoft® Windows XP with Windows Media® Player 9 Series and Windows Movie Maker 2. Windows XP support further expanded today with the availability of the HighMAT Extensions for the Windows XP CD Writing Wizard. This offers direct drag-and-drop CD-burning capabilities in Windows XP for HighMAT disc creation. In addition, users of Windows XP can easily view HighMAT-created disks with the new HighMAT Viewer for Windows XP. These new capabilities are available for download today at http://www.highmat.com/.

Why HighMAT?

Inspired by growth in consumer use of digital still and video cameras and compressed digital music, HighMAT was developed to improve interoperability for digital media content between PCs and popular electronic devices such as CD players, car stereos and DVD devices. It has a dramatically improved method of storing, arranging and playing back personal digital photo, music and video collections on recordable discs such as CD-RW media and now writeable DVD media.

The new technology will improve startup times for data CDs and other physical formats and make navigation consistent and easy across a broad range of consumer electronics devices. CDs created using the HighMAT technology will remain compatible with existing devices that play back recordable disc media, and HighMAT is compliant with the standard ISO 9660 Joliet file system. Roxio and Creative today joined the following companies that previously announced their intent to support HighMAT in their future products: Fuji Photo Film, Inc.; Apex Digital Inc.; Victor Company of Japan, Limited (JVC); Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries, Ltd.; Ahead Software; Aplix Corporation; B.H.A. Corporation; ECI (Enterprise Corporation International); Pinnacle Systems, Inc.; Sonic Solutions; Equator Technologies, Inc.; and ESS Technology, Inc.

Software developers and other consumer electronics device manufacturers can learn more about HighMAT technology and how to incorporate it into their products by visiting http://www.highmat.com/.

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