Leading Graphics Chip and Video Card Makers to Support Windows Media “Corona,” Enabling Highest-Resolution Video Playback Ever on a PC

REDMOND, Wash., April 23, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that leading graphics chip developers ATI Technologies Inc. and NVIDIA Corp. will support new DirectX® technologies that enables the highest-resolution video playback experience ever on the PC using the next version of Microsoft® Windows Media™
Technologies, code-named
“Corona.” With this new technology, todays PCs running the Windows® XP operating system will be able to enjoy video playback quality far beyond what is possible on many high-end televisions today.

The combination of the compression and quality innovations in Windows Media
and new features of DirectX, which now enabls video processing in hardware, alleviates the burden video places on the PCs central processing unit (CPU). This results in video playback that will be possible at HDTV resolutions as high as 1,080p, six times the resolution (number of pixels) of todays DVD-quality playback from a DVD player (480p) and the highest resolution full motion video playback ever attained on a PC.

“The PC is entering a new realm as an entertainment device,”
said Steve Kleynhans, vice president at META Group Inc.
“This development could serve as the catalyst that elevates the PC to a mainstream role in providing a high-quality home-theater experience.”

“Windows Media Corona is validation that Microsoft shares our goal of advancing the PC as an entertainment device,”
said Dan Vivoli, vice president of marketing at NVIDIA.
“Corona is designed to harness the performance power of our graphics processor units (GPUs), resulting in a seamless home theater-quality experience on any desktop or notebook PC.”

ATI and NVIDIA, some of the leading innovators of graphic chips and video cards, will support advanced hardware acceleration for de-interlacing and playback of HDTV-quality video in Windows Media
This support is enabled with the advancement of the DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) interfaces in the Microsoft Windows operating system. DXVA interfaces allow video processing, including Windows Media Video decoding and de-interlacing, to occur on graphics hardware, freeing the PCs CPU for other tasks and enabling lower-power PC processors to render much higher-quality video than was ever thought possible.

Support for advanced video acceleration technologies in DXVA together with Windows Media
will be offered in the following ways:

  • ATIs Video Immersion technologies, an essential element within the family of ATIs Radeon™
    graphics chips, together with embedding the decoding of Windows Media
    video, will deliver the best video quality on desktop and notebook PCs thanks to enhanced Adaptive De-interlacing and Temporal Filtering enabled by ATIs industry-leading video drivers.

  • NVIDIA is planning in the next year to include embedded support for DXVA and Windows Media
    video decoding as key features of future versions of its graphics processor chips and video cards.

DirectX Video Acceleration

Developed in conjunction with industry partners and released in Windows XP, DirectX Video Acceleration provides a common interface for hardware and software developers to use for the acceleration of video processing routines. DXVA has gained widespread acceptance as the standard interface for accelerating MPEG-2 playback for DVDs in Windows. Now video de-interlacing with DXVA brings highly advanced hardware line doubling and scaling to Windows, rivaling the best picture quality possible on any consumer device at any price. DXVA de-interlacing with ATI Radeon 8500 and NVIDIAs GeForce4 graphics hardware was on display last week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2002 and is scheduled to be available to consumers this fall.

The addition of Windows Media
video to the list of codecs supported by DirectX Video Acceleration enables HDTV-quality playback at a fraction of the CPU requirement. Common Windows Media Video operations are off-loaded from the main CPU to the graphics hardware to effectively double the video processing power available on the PC. Support for acceleration of Windows Media Video will be available with the final release of Windows Media

Windows Media


Audio and Video Advances

Todays announcement follows on the heels of the already growing support by the industry for the breakthrough quality and opportunities offered by Windows Media
Earlier this month at NAB2002, some of the leading developers of professional video and audio production hardware and software — including Accom Inc., Adobe Systems Inc., Avid Technology Inc., Creative Labs Inc., Discreet, a division of Autodesk Inc., Drastic Technologies, Echo Audio, M-Audio/Midiman, Steinberg Media Technologies AG, Syntrillium Software Corp. and Winnov — announced their intent to support Windows Media
in upcoming products and demonstrated early versions of that support. In addition,in December 2001 the leading manufacturers of chips for DVD players, representing 90 percent of the DVD processors manufactured and shipped in 2000, announced that they will add support over the next year for Windows Media
audio and video.

Building on the industry-leading Windows Media Audio and Video codecs, Windows Media
which was previewed in December 2001, will introduce two new professional-level audio and video codecs. The new Windows Media Audio Professional is the first codec to enable Web-based delivery of 6-channel surround sound with full-spectrum, full-resolution audio (24-bit/96kHz sampling). A new version of the Windows Media Video codec provides a 20 percent efficiency boost compared with the previous version and also introduces the ability to provide high-definition video resolutions at file sizes half that of todays DVDs for local playback on the PC.

Combined with the new advancements in DXVA and the chip support from these leading companies, Windows Media
Video and the new Windows Media Audio Professional surround-sound capabilities will set a new standard of quality for video viewing experiences streamed or downloaded on a PC. Windows Media
is scheduled to be available in beta late this summer and is on track for final release by the end of this year.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industrys 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
) 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.

Microsoft, DirectX, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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