REDMOND, Wash., April 8, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that Microsoft and Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Ltd. (known as the “Panasonic” brand) have entered a joint agreement to provide Digital Video (DV) support for DirectX(tm) media. Under this agreement, Matsushita Electric, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies and leader in professional digital video products, and Microsoft are working together to drive the development of a new generation of DV hardware and software products for the PC. These products, combined with the success of the DV standard, will help fuel an emerging prosumer and consumer market for easy-to-use, cost-effective digital video capture, editing and playback on the PC.
“Our work with Matsushita Electric will spark an exciting new generation of video authoring tools and content,” said John Ludwig, vice president, Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft. “For the first time, we’ll begin to see broad consumer participation in video capture and editing along with exciting new applications ranging from corporate presentations to video documents of family events such as vacations, birthdays and weddings.”
As part of this agreement, Matsushita Electric will develop and license a DV software codec that will allow DV to be supported in a DirectX filter. This technology will enable consumers to capture video from standard DV cameras and author content using an emerging cadre of low-cost video editing tools.
“This agreement has far-reaching implications. Because DV is a worldwide format, the licensed DV codec software enhancement from Matsushita Electric to DirectX media will leverage widespread distribution as part of the Microsoft(r) Windows(r) operating system,” said Dr. Masaaki Kobayashi, general manager, AVC products development laboratory, Matsushita Electric. “Together, Matsushita Electric and Microsoft can accelerate the transition of the video world to the digital format and make video on the PC much more practical for a much broader range of customers.”
Matsushita Electric is one of the major forces helping drive both DV as a standard method for compressed digital video and the IEEE 1394 as a practical method for interconnecting DV cameras and PCs. Until now, interconnecting cameras to PCs has been expensive and technically cumbersome to implement. The new DV and IEEE 1394 standards lower these barriers, allowing end users to benefit from plug and play products that bring true broadcast quality to the PC in a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution.
DirectX media services are a key component of Microsoft’s new unified multimedia API strategy announced last week. DirectX media is an expanded set of high-level, component services that make it easy for developers to integrate and stream video, audio, 3-D animation and other media types while taking advantage of the highly successful, low-level DirectX foundation services for hardware acceleration. DirectX media is enabling application developers to innovate next-generation digital media tools spanning professional and consumer markets.
The DV enhancements to DirectX will be integrated as part of DirectX media scheduled for release in summer 1997.
During the 78 years since its founding in Osaka, Japan, Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Ltd. has grown from a small electrical housewares manufacturer into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of quality electric and electronic products for the consumer, business and industrial markets. The company’s products are sold in over 160 countries under the well-known Panasonic, National, Technics and Quasar brand names.
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*Editors note: DV refers to Digital Video Cassette, which is specified in “Specifications of Consumer-Use Digital VCRs using 6.3 millimeter magnetic tape” issued by the HD DIGITAL VCR CONFERENCE