Leading DVD Player Manufacturers Announce Support For Windows Media at 2002 International CES

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7, 2002 — Today at the 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. announced that leading DVD player manufacturers have adopted Microsoft®
Windows Media (TM) Technologies for their new DVD players. Panasonic and Apex Digital Inc. today unveiled the first DVD players supporting Windows Media Audio (WMA), which enables consumers to play back more than 22 hours of their favorite music from a single CD and, for DVD players that support DVD-R, enable them to store almost 250 albums on a single DVD. In addition, Shinco (Jiangsu Shinco Electronics Group Company Ltd.), and Toshiba Corp. announced plans to support Windows Media in DVD players introduced in 2002. These consumer electronics manufacturers account for a significant number of the DVD players manufactured and sold in the United States in 2001. In October, for the first time, the sale of DVD players to consumers eclipsed that of VCRs according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

“Digital media is increasingly central to the home entertainment experience, and a growing number of devices are available that allow consumers to affordably access digital music and video,” said Susan Kevorkian, research analyst for IDC. “DVD player support of Windows Media Audio, which is notable for producing small file sizes and high-quality playback, will allow consumers to enjoy CDs burned with WMA files via high-fidelity audio systems that many people have connected to their DVD players.”

Last month, leading DVD chip manufacturers announced they would support Microsoft Windows Media Audio and Video — including the new Windows Media audio and video technologies, code-named “Corona” — in their chips for DVD players this year. This group of companies provided nearly 90 percent of the chips for DVD players shipped in 2000.*

“DVD players are one of the hottest mainstream consumer electronics devices in the home today,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Today’s announcement by these leading DVD player manufacturers creates exciting new possibilities for consumers to enjoy great-quality Windows Media content in their living room.”

Specific product plans announced by each of the manufacturers today are as follows:

  • Apex
    Digital will feature WMA as its premier audio format in six new models, from the AD-1600 to the top-of the-line AD-7702. All will play WMA, Kodak PCD, MP3, and HDCD and are Firmware Upgradeable. The 7702 will also play SACD and DVD-A, 5.1 Dolby and has Progressive Scan 3.2. Apex Digital’s plans include 4 million DVD players featuring WMA in 2002.

  • Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company will have the first public demonstration of a DVD player supporting Windows Media Audio tonight when its model DVD-RV32 player is demonstrated in a keynote address by Bill Gates. This is the first of many Panasonic DVD players that will support Windows Media. The DVD-RV32 is expected to be available to consumers in the United States in February.

  • Shinco , one of the leading manufacturers of DVD players in China, plans to release key models of its DVD player line with WMA support in 2002.

  • Toshiba will announce specific models of DVD players later this year supporting Windows Media.

Windows Media Audio and Video Benefits

Windows Media has now been incorporated into more than 100 consumer devices. Windows Media Audio makes it possible to store twice as much CD-quality music compared with MP3 on hard drives, portable music players and other consumer electronics devices. WMA enables consumers to transfer more than 22 hours of music onto a single CD or create nearly a week of uninterrupted music — more than 250 albums — on a single DVD-R disk. Windows Media Video, the best technology for both streamed and downloadable movies, enables a full-length feature film to be stored on a single CD or eventually multiple films on a single DVD-R.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers and software developers as well as business, education and government users. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated digital rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Based on Cahners In-Stat December 2000 report on DVD IC market share

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