Microsoft Announces New Win32 Driver Model Device Driver Support For DVD, Cameras, Audio and Game Devices

SAN FRANCISCO, April 8, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the development of four additional Win32® Driver Model class drivers. The drivers simplify driver writing and make it easier for hardware developers to create exciting new PC hardware at a lower cost for the next releases of the Microsoft® Windows® and Windows NT® operating systems.

Microsoft is expanding the Win32 Driver Model with class drivers and support for the following:

  • Human interface devices (HIDs) such as keyboards, mice, joysticks, game pads, system control devices (remotes and wired control panels) and so on that are used in a broad range of consumer appliances, games and interactive multimedia

  • Still image devices such as scanners, digital and still cameras

  • Streaming devices such as video capture, MPEG decoders, audio and synchronized multimedia in support of DVD and broadcast architectures

  • Win32 Driver Model audio architecture to support rich new audio streaming functionality across a broad range of existing PC audio devices and new digital audio devices on PCI, USB and IEEE 1394

“These new Windows-compatible device driver classes mean that users of Windows and Windows NT will have high-quality, reliable and easy support for important hardware areas such as cameras, scanners, DVD, digital audio and gaming devices,” said Carl Stork, general manager for the Windows platform at Microsoft. “By providing a consistent model for driver development on Windows and Windows NT, with an extensible architecture, Microsoft is decreasing the amount of effort necessary for hardware vendors supporting Windows platforms. This allows them more time and freedom to bring new and exciting PC devices to market more quickly and less expensively.”

“We’ve worked closely with Microsoft in creating these new class drivers, and we look forward to their availability in the next releases of Microsoft Windows operating systems,” said Craig Kinnie, vice president and general manager of the Internet and communications group at Intel Corp. “This new driver model improves the software platform responsiveness and throughput demanded by interactive, media-rich applications.”

On Friday, April 11, 1997, more than 1,600 developers will receive a Win32 Driver Model Device Driver Kit (DDK) Preview at a Microsoft conference in San Francisco, where they will learn how to put Win32 Driver Model and the four new class drivers to work supporting their hardware.

HID Class for Consumer Appliances, Simulators and Game Controllers

Microsoft’s HID Class support is based on the device class definition for human interface devices. The HID specification unifies input devices by providing flexible data reporting, typeless data, and arrayed/variable input and output. The generality of the HID opens opportunities for IHVs to develop many new input devices. For example, HID controls are defined for the following:

  • 2-D and 3-D game control devices

  • Virtual reality devices (belts, body suits, gloves, head trackers, head-mounted displays, oculometers, etc.)

  • Sports equipment devices (golf clubs, baseball bats, rowing machines, treadmills, etc.)

  • Vehicle simulation devices (autos, planes, tanks, spaceships and submarines)

  • Monitors

  • About 250 consumer appliance controls

HID I/O is based on the Win32 Driver Model, providing both kernel-mode and user-mode access, and supports Plug and Play and power management. HID drivers understand how to take advantage of built-in support for system devices (keyboards, mice), DirectInput
API support for gaming devices (joysticks, game pads) and the ability to support arbitrary new HID devices connected using USB (keyboards, mice, gaming devices, personality modules, remote controls, telephony devices, etc.).

Still Image Support for Scanners and Cameras

Still image capture is an increasingly popular PC function in the home and in the business environment. To facilitate industry growth, Microsoft has enhanced support for still image capture devices in the next versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT.

The still image architecture is centered around a device driver interface (DDI) that works as a conduit for communications to a particular device. Still image devices include these:

  • Flatbed scanners, including those with an automatic document feeder, transparency adapter, or options such as a start button

  • Sheet-fed scanners with paper-inserted detection mechanisms

  • Handheld scanners

  • Still image digital cameras

The DDI provides interfaces for device enumeration, test activation, device capabilities and notification of device events, including polling for device activity. Device event polling is critical to the implementation of push model – a method of operation that launches imaging applications based on user-initiated actions such as inserting paper into the scanner. Such capabilities make these devices more popular with users.

Streaming Class for Video, Audio and Interactive Multimedia

PCs are increasingly used for streaming and synchronization of interactive multimedia both across networks and the Internet. To support these applications, developers are offering a broad range of peripherals based on new buses, such as IEEE 1394, and Windows accelerators that improve the performance of these applications. The Win32 Driver Model’s new streaming class driver provides highly functional, cross-platform class driver support for MPEG, video capture, USB and IEEE 1394 audio and video, and other streaming hardware.

Win32 Driver Model video capture minidrivers use kernel streaming, a standardized connection for streaming within the kernel, optimizing the flow of data. The video capture minidriver API provides rich property sets for a wide range of video devices, enabling the integration of innovative video solutions under Windows. For example, video capture properties are defined for the following devices:

  • Capture from and control of a digital stream from a USB camera

  • Capture from and control of a TV tuner within the PC

  • Capture, compression and monitoring of inputs using analog video capture hardware

  • Capture of digital streams from an IEEE 1394 digital video-based digital camcorder or VCR

  • Separation of data from the vertical blanking interval in video data

These properties are very close to a ratio of 1 to 1 mapping of the Microsoft
interface methods.

The Win32 Driver Model Audio architecture supports a rich new audio streaming functionality across a broad range of existing PC audio devices and new digital audio devices on PCI, USB and IEEE 1394. Technology advancements and changes in PC usage are driving the need for a new, scalable, high-performance audio architecture. Users are demanding a richer, more immersing quality PC audio experience. The industry has responded with a host of new audio technologies: better quality synthesis with updatable sound sets, interactive 3-D capabilities, multichannel mixing, sound effects and high-quality digital output on serial buses such as USB and IEEE 1394.

The ActiveMovie architecture laid a foundation for building rich multimedia applications. DirectSound laid a foundation for low latency access to audio hardware. Win32 Driver Model Audio complements both ActiveMovie and the DirectSound® API by providing these advantages:

  • Cross-platform ISA, PCI, USB and IEEE 1394 stream driver model that simplifies the task of writing audio drivers

  • Low-latency system audio services – mixing, sample rate conversion, software wave table synthesis, Sound Blaster Pro emulation

  • Ability to build ActiveMovie filter graphs with kernel mode audio drivers

  • Native DirectSound support over Win32 Driver Model audio drivers

  • New acceleration possibilities that allow rendering to be separated from processing of audio

  • Intelligent, on-demand audio graph building

Win32 Driver Model Architecture

The Win32 Driver Model provides a common set of I/O services and binary-compatible device drivers for both Windows NT and future Windows operating systems. The Win32 Driver Model is a core technology enabling Simply Interactive PC (SIPC) and “Zero Administration” for Windows initiatives and new Plug and Play device support for USB, IEEE 1394, and the OnNow power management initiative.

The Win32 Driver Model architecture provides a modular class and minidriver structure. A logical class driver defines generic support for a new bus or standard device command interface. A simple minidriver is used to extend class drivers to support a specific physical device interface. Because class drivers are generic they can be used to standardize logical device command sets, protocols and bus interfaces necessary for code reusability. Because minidrivers are hardware-specific, they can be used to implement specific extensions created to support new hardware innovation. Win32 Driver Model support for standard class interfaces reduces the number and complexity of device drivers that are written by IHVs and required for both operating systems.

The Win32 Driver Model maximizes system responsiveness and throughput by providing the extremely low-latency services and fewer ring transitions that interactive applications demand. All Win32 Driver Model drivers have access to low-latency services.


Microsoft has already implemented Win32 Driver Model support for USB and Konica cameras in Microsoft Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2.1 and shipped a Win32 Driver Model DDK Preview for these classes and OnNow to WinHEC attendees.

Additional information on the Win32 Driver Model is available on the Microsoft Web site at .

This technology will be a feature in the upcoming version of Windows, code-named “Memphis,” and Windows NT Workstation 5.0. Memphis is scheduled to be released for beta testing in the first half of this year. Windows NT Workstation 5.0 is slated for beta release later in the year. Both operating systems will incorporate the latest innovations in hardware and Internet technology as well as enhancements that will make them easier to use, faster, more reliable and more manageable.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Win32, Windows, Windows NT, DirectInput, ActiveMovie and DirectSound are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Microsoft Win32 Driver Model

Industry Support Statements

April 1997

“We are pleased to be working with Microsoft on the development of audio standards for the Win32 Driver Model universal serial bus and 1394 Audio. These developments will result in the seamless integration of high quality multi-channel digital playback systems, USB connected speakers and a variety of additional audio peripherals in future PCs, convergent technology products and communication devices.”

– Edward Anchel

Chairman and President

Altec Lansing Technologies Inc.

“Microsoft’s introduction of the Win32 Driver Model is an exciting step forward in the evolution of streaming video software for the PC. The Win32 Driver Model will ease hardware integration and applications development, allowing Cirrus Logic customers to fully exploit the high-performance video features in our new products.”

– Art Swift

Vice President of Marketing

Cirrus Logic’s Graphics Co.

“We are delighted to see Microsoft developing a single driver model that works on future versions of both Windows and Windows NT. This significantly reduces our development time and allows us to provide better support for upcoming operating systems as they release to the market. Additionally, the work that HP and Microsoft have done on Still Image device drivers will improve plug and play capability of these devices and enable market growth.”

– Phil Faraci

General Manager

Greeley Hardcopy Division

Hewlett-Packard Co.

“Logitech is actively working on Win32 Driver Model-based software today, with a special focus to provide USB support for mice and other products. We look forward to an expanded market, simplified development and faster delivery of our products in the future because of the ability to share drivers with both the Memphis and Windows NT operating systems.”

– William Sheehan

Product Marketing Director


“Oak Technology is pleased to announce its support for Microsoft’s efforts in the area of the Win32 Driver Model. Our PCI-based DirectSound accelerators, the OTI-611 TelAudia3D and the OTI-610 Audia3D, will take advantage of the Win32 Driver Model drivers to provide multiple-channel digital audio mixing and sample rate conversion, and three-dimensional HRTF audio capabilities to Windows- and Windows NT-based computing environments.”

– Ken Boyce

Audio/Communications Business Unit

Oak Technology

“We are thrilled that our first IEEE 1394 product – the Papaya IEEE 1394 Audio Adaptor -was chosen by Microsoft as the Win32 Driver Model audio reference design. When PAVO established its relationship with Microsoft to bring audiophile quality to the PC, we were concerned that the high standards observed in the hi-fi and pro audio industries could not be met by the PC. But Microsoft has demonstrated a passion for enabling the highest-quality audio and video production in the PC, and the resulting experience is extremely compelling. Microsoft’s Win32 Driver Model streaming architecture, especially the IEEE 1394 bus drivers, make the PC a welcome addition to digital media theater systems.”

– Greg Bartlett


“Philips and Microsoft have enjoyed a very close working relationship, which has resulted in many USB chips and products that Philips was able to pioneer. Philips is committed to USB and has already announced a number of USB-enabled products such as digital speakers, monitors, cameras, and hubs, and will provide USB versions of virtually all its PC peripherals, LCD projectors, and handheld PCs in the near future. Microsoft’s Win32 Driver Model drivers enable quick introduction of these products to the market.

– Adri Baan

Chief Executive Officer

Philips Business Electronics

“The inclusion of Rockwell’s Brooktree Division video drivers for the BT848 in the Win32 Driver Model DDK Preview will enhance a variety of video capabilities and built-in hardware support for developers. These new enhancements will make the PC easier to use and more interactive. Rockwell is proud to be part of the next generation of the Windows and
Windows NT operating systems.”

– Dana Witt

Software Product Manager

Brooktree Division

Rockwell Semiconductor Systems

“Sony is pleased to develop the software technology that enables the Win32 Driver Model to support a new generation of digital video products.”

– Scott Smyers


Advanced Digital Interface Technologies

Sony Electronics Inc.
U.S. Research Laboratories

“Symbios Logic firmly believes that Microsoft’s Win32 Driver Model environment accelerates time-to-market and enables its leading-edge technology to be easily utilized on multiple platforms. We have worked closely with Microsoft on 1394 driver support as well as the SBP-2 transport protocol and the Win32 Driver Model for our 1394-to-ATA/ATAPI controller product, the SYM13FW500. Development has been accelerated due to the Win32 Driver Model. In addition, the SBP-2 and Microsoft 1394 Win32 Driver Model driver stack runs in both Memphis and Windows NT 5.0, thereby making our hardware accessible to both platforms. We are excited about being able to demonstrate the SYM13FW500 at WinHEC.”

– Randy Zwetzig

Director of Peripheral Solutions

Symbios Logic Inc.

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