Microsoft Licenses Software-based MPEG Engine from Mediamatics
End Users Gain Dazzling Video Without High-Cost Hardware; Developers Gain Broader Market for New Video-Based Titles
Redmond, WA, June 5, 1995 - Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has licensed software-based MPEG playback technology from Mediamatics Inc., based in Santa Clara, CA, for inclusion in future versions of the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) family of operating system products (after the release of Windows(R) 95). For the first time, millions of users will be able to experience the TV-like video capability and CD-quality sound of Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) titles without special add-on hardware.
"Microsoft's vision in adopting such groundbreaking technologies in Windows clearly reflects our commitment to development in multimedia today," said Brad Silverberg, senior vice president of the personal systems division at Microsoft. "Future users of Windows will benefit from an explosion of MPEG titles and hardware. Software developers and hardware manufacturers will very likely see dramatic market growth for their MPEG products."
"Windows 95 is a great multimedia platform, and we're impressed with the rich support for multimedia titles and games in Windows 95," said Prem Nath, president of Mediamatics. "This agreement gives Microsoft the opportunity to bring our high-quality MPEG software to users of Windows."
MPEG is a popular compression-decompression (codec) system for squeezing full-screen VHS-quality digital video and CD-quality audio into very small files so a significant amount of footage can fit on a single CD and be played back on a wide range of PC hardware. Mediamatics' software-only MPEG codec delivers revolutionary video playback performance and quality that previously was only possible with specialized hardware accelerators. Specifically, Windows 95-based MPEG video playback performance from CD-ROMs on 90 MHz Pentium(TM)-class computers is approximately 24 frames per second with 11 KHz audio. The inclusion of high-performance MPEG playback in the operating system will help proliferate the use of digital video into a broad range of corporate, reference, education and entertainment applications.
"As one of the world's largest multimedia semiconductor manufacturers we applaud Microsoft's move to incorporate MPEG support into its operating systems," said Katsu Itagaki, marketing manager of systems applications engineering at NEC Electronics Inc. "Software MPEG support in Windows will immediately give millions of users dramatically improved full-screen video. MPEG's compatibility and scalability will allow end users to upgrade from basic software MPEG to higher-performance MPEG hardware solutions while fully preserving their investment in MPEG-based software applications and titles."
Integrated support in Windows also means that independent software developers have an expanded audience for enhanced or new titles that take advantage of MPEG's full-motion, full-screen, VHS-quality video.
"One of our goals for the Encarta(R) multimedia encyclopedia is to bring information to life through the effective use of multimedia," said Craig Bartholomew, business unit manager at Microsoft. "We believe our users will love the full-screen, high-quality videos that MPEG technology makes possible. Our future plans include a version of Encarta that makes significant use of MPEG video. The support of MPEG playback in Windows and the availability of an MPEG version of Encarta will help encourage even faster adoption of the MPEG standard."
"This announcement will go a long way to make MPEG a broadly supported PC standard," said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Associates, a graphics market-consulting firm in Tiburon, Calif. "Developers and users will now be able to design for, and use, MPEG-based applications with confidence. This is the culmination of several converging factors: faster processors such as the Pentium, new and powerful operating systems like Windows 95, faster MPEG-ready graphics controllers, and OM1's efforts on standardization. MPEG's scalability combined with the new generation of entertainment programs are going to give the user a new level of experience and excitement."
Microsoft Windows will continue to provide different video playback solutions for users and developers; adding software MPEG gives developers increased choice. Windows 95 already supports MPEG implementations in hardware and will ship with new 32-bit versions of Intel(R) Indeo(TM) and SuperMac Cinepak codecs. Prior to its inclusion in future releases of Microsoft operating systems (post-Windows 95), the software-based MPEG technology will be available to developers through Microsoft developer relations programs.
Today's announcement is the latest in a continuing series of moves by Microsoft to bring outstanding multimedia and games support to users of Windows. In recent months, Microsoft acquired RenderMorphics Ltd., an industry leader in 3-D PC programming tools and technology and the developer of the Reality Lab(TM) 3-D graphics engine. Microsoft also recently announced the beta release of the Windows 95 Game Software Developers Kit (SDK). The SDK delivers tools and technology that will enable game developers to create high-performance games for Windows 95 quickly and easily.
NOTE: Microsoft, Windows and Encarta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Intel is a registered trademark and Pentium and Indeo are trademarks of Intel Corp. Reality Lab is a trademark of RenderMorphics Ltd.