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January 27, 1997
Hitachi, Ltd. today announced that on February 22, it will release in Japan the world's first Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) camera. The camera will be bundled with seven software applications which will allow PC users to easily transfer recorded video to a PC and use the PC to produce, edit and view full motion video. Initial production will be 10,000 units per month.
Hitachi's MPEG camera, weighing only 540 grams, records video and audio in MPEG-1 format and stores the data in files on a 260-megabyte PC Card (Type III) hard disk. The recorded full motion video can be viewed on the camera's 1.8-inch LCD screen. Built-in file management functions enable the user to delete and itemize files on the screen. An autoplay function allows files to be viewed in any desired order. The camera can also record still pictures in Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG) format together with or without audio data in MPEG Audio format.
The realtime compression, full-motion video recording and playback are handled by an MPEG-1 encoder/decoder (CODEC) LSI developed by Hitachi.
MPEG-1 is an internationally recognized video compression standard that compresses video data to one-hundredth of the original, compared to conventional digital video cameras, which compress video data to one fifth. The high compression ratio allows full-motion video recorded by the MPEG camera to be manipulated on an average PC. In addition, the PC Card hard disk is much faster and more flexible than the magnetic tape utilized by previous digital cameras.
"Producing full motion video on a PC used to be only for professional video editors. Now, with the MPEG camera, the average PC user will be able to produce video on a PC and add it to a Web site homepage, for example, or send it attached to e-mail," said Etsuhiko Shoyama, senior executive managing director of Hitachi.
A digital color printer, ideal for use with the MPEG camera or PCs, will also be released on February 22. The new printer will be able to produce postcard-sized prints of photographic-like quality with excellent color reproduction.
Hitachi, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's leading global electronics company, with fiscal 1995 consolidated sales (ending March 31, 1996) of $76.6 billion(*). The company manufactures and markets a wide range of products, including computers, semiconductors, consumer products and power and industrial equipment.
* At an exchange rate of 106 yen to the dollar.
Pricing & Availability
Product Price (yen) Availability MPEG camera/MP-EG-1 132,000 February 22 $B!!(JAccessory kit/MP-KIT1 16,000 February 22 $B!!(JPC card hard disk/MP-HD260 75,000 February 22 $B!!(JISA interface kit/MP-D11 25,000 February 22 $B!!(JECP interface kit/MO-ADE 1 ECP 45,000 To be announced shortly Digital Video Printer/VY-60D 59,800 February 22
Summary Specifications for the MPEG Camera
MPEG 1 CODEC chip
The first single-chip MPEG-1 encoder/decoder, adopting a 3-layer 0.5-micron CMOS process, and using only 500 mW.
- Enables realtime encoding/decoding of full motion video signals
- High-speed encoding of high-quality still images in JPEG format
PC Card (Type III) hard disk
The MPEG camera uses a PC Card hard disk to record video. The camera is therefore compact and it is easy to manipulate stored video data. The hard disk is low-power consumption and low-noise.
- Capacity of 260 megabytes, large enough to store 20 minutes of full-motion video or about 3,000 still images, and up to about four hours of audio linked to a still.
- Easy, high-speed retrieval, deletion and rearrangement of recordings.
File management functions are built into the camera to utilize the advantages of disk-based storage. Thumbnail representations of video files on the LCD screen make it easier to locate one particular image from among many. The ability to delete and itemize files in-camera also enables the PC Card hard disk to be used more efficiently. An autoplay function allows files to be viewed in any desired order without having to use a PC.
Five Capture Modes
In addition to motion video, still video and still with audio capture modes, the camera can also record still images in multiple and time-lapse modes. In multiple mode, five shots can be recorded at a time. Time-lapse mode can be set to capture images at 30-second, 1-minute or 5-minute intervals.
Large set of bundled softwareThe camera comes bundled with seven different software applications and utilities on a CD-ROM, including a software MPEG decoder, data transfer software and non-linear editing software as well as MPEG-1 and JPEG titles. The software enables video recordings obtained with the camera to be produced and manipulated even by PCs not equipped with an MPEG decoding board.
Minimum System Requirements for PC
Operating software Windows(R) 95 CPU Pentium(R)/100 Mhz (133 Mhz or more side is desirable.) RAM 16 megabytes (32 megabytes or more is desirable.) Resolution 640 x 480 dots Hard disk 80 megabytes of usable memory Disk drive 4 x CD-ROM drive
PC uplink software
Allows recorded video to be transferred from the camera to a PC. On-screen thumbnail representations of MPEG-1 and JPEG files help users locate particular files more quickly.
Enables MPEG-1 video files to be cut into sections on a frame by frame basis, rearranged in any desired order, unwanted portions deleted, and then reassembled into new MPEG files, A convenient touch is that the length of each section is indicated by the thickness of the thumbnail images.
MPEG file division software
This makes it easy to divide MPEG files into shorter lengths.
AuthoringMaster (by Momodera's Brand Inc.)
Authoring software for quick-and-easy production of presentation documents linked to video images, and electronic picture albums. Particularly useful for using video pictures to illustrate a record of a trip or event, and for preparing a video report of an exhibition or the like.
MGI PhotoSuite (by MGI Software Corp.)
Photo-retouching software enables still images to be adjusted, touched up, colored and so forth. Can also be used to make up postcards and calendars incorporating still images recorded with the camera.
Personal data management software
A multimedia-ready personal information management tool that can attach MPEG-1 and JPEG files to address lists and schedules.
SoftPEG(TM) (by Compcore Multimedia, Inc.)
This software-based MPEG decoder enables MPEG-1 files to be play back on a PC without MPEG-1 hardware support.
AC adapter, charger, battery, AV output cable, remote control, carrying strap, stand
ISA interface kit
ISA interface board, drivers, connecting cable
ECP interface kit (To be released shortly)
ECP interface board, drivers connecting cable
260-MB PC Card hard disk, battery, soft carrying case
Summary Specifications of the Digital Color Printer
- The dye-sublimation printing process results in prints with near-photographic clarity and sharpness.
- Each of the three basic colors -- yellow, magenta and cyan -- can be reproduced in 256 shades, providing a high-quality reproduction output of over 1.6 million colors.
- Fully integrated with Windows(r) 3.1 and Windows(r) 95 for easy operation.
- Automatic sheet feeder with 100-sheet capacity, combined with speedy output at 60 seconds per print.
- AuthoringMaster is a product name of Momodera's Brand Inc.
- PhotoSuite is a product name of MGI Software of the United States.
- SoftPEG(TM) is a trademark of Compcore Multimedia, Inc.
- Pentium(R) is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
- Microsoft(R) and Windows(R) are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
- The full name of Windows(R) 3.1 is Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Operating System Version 3.1.
- The full name of Windows(R) 95 is Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Operating System 95.
- Other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.