GridIron and Microsoft Unveil GridIron X-Factor for Microsoft Windows Media Encoder

LAS VEGAS — April 17, 2005 — GridIron (TM) Software Inc., the leading developer of grid computing solutions for desktop software applications, and Microsoft Corp. introduced GridIron X-Factor (TM) for Windows Media® Encoder today at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, NAB2005, in Las Vegas. X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder is a software solution that significantly speeds digital video encoding using Microsoft® Windows Media Encoder by dividing and distributing the work ordinarily performed on a single computer among multiple networked computers.

GridIron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder provides cumulative performance improvement that makes encoding progressively faster as more computers are used, reducing the time spent encoding lengthy or high-resolution digital video from days to hours, and from hours to minutes. For digital post-production professionals working in film-quality and HD (high-definition) formats, X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder takes advantage of the superior quality and compression of the Windows Media Format with the same or better encoding speed than for standard definition on a single computer.

Unlike purpose-built, hardware-based solutions for enhancing the performance of Windows Media Encoder, X-Factor is a software-only solution that takes advantage of existing computers already deployed in a network and inexpensive, off-the-shelf commodity computers. X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder is the second in the X-Factor series of products that use grid computing to enhance the performance of digital post-production software. GridIron also offers X-Factor for Adobe After Effects to speed preview processing and rendering of motion graphics and effects.

To further simplify the encoding process, Sample Digital Inc. created the Windows Media Video (WMV) Advanced Encoding Utility, a proprietary application for unifying multiple command-line encoding utilities into a single, powerful, easy-to-use application for the post-production professional.

“We’ve integrated GridIron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder into the WMV Advanced Encoding Utility to extend the speed and capacity of our software,” said Josh C. Kline, president and CEO of Sample Digital. “GridIron X-Factor strongly complements and enhances the workflow benefits our encoding utility delivers by adding even greater efficiency and scalability.”

Sample Digital provides an array of digital media services, including professional media encoding, research and development, consulting, development of the WMV Advanced Encoding Utility, and the Digital Dailies system. Sample Digital’s roster of clients includes Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Movielink LLC and CinemaNow Inc.

“Media professionals are looking for a fast and efficient way to meet the exploding demand for high-definition Windows Media content,” said Kevin Unangst, director of Windows Digital Media at Microsoft. “Gridiron X-Factor will provide professional film, video and broadcast producers with a high-performance, cost-effective tool for delivering high-quality content.”

GridIron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder uses the same patent-pending peer-to-peer technology that is used to speed preview processing and rendering in Adobe After Effects, and takes advantage of hardware already in place for other steps in the digital post-production process to enhance creative workflow and improve productivity. “Gridiron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder further validates the feasibility and success of high-performance grid computing solutions for the desktop, something never thought possible before,” said Steve Forde, president of GridIron Software. “Digital post-production professionals who embrace a new distributed computing workflow supported by Microsoft and Adobe, two of the world’s most respected and successful desktop software application developers, will experience significant performance benefits that will provide unprecedented creative freedom, flexibility and artistic opportunity.”

GridIron is demonstrating X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder at NAB2005, the world’s largest electronic media show, this week in Las Vegas in Microsoft Booth SL 332.

GridIron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder will be available in the second quarter of 2005. A free Basic edition of X-Factor will be made available for download with Microsoft Windows Media Encoder. Further information about further pricing and licensing options can be found at GridIron’s Web site,

About GridIron Software Inc.

GridIron is a software development company whose mission is to bring the power of high-performance computing to the mainstream by making it Profoundly Simple (TM) to develop and use desktop software applications with the added speed of distributed grid computing. GridIron products such as GridIron XLR8 (TM) , GridIron X-Factor for Adobe After Effects and GridIron X-Factor for Windows Media Encoder enable computationally intensive software applications to run faster on multiple computers.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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

GridIron, X-Factor, XLR8 and “profoundly simple” are registered trademarks or trademarks of GridIron Software Inc.

Adobe and After Effects are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Inc. 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.

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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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