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December 7, 1992updated 05 Sep 2016 2:38pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Fractal image compression expert Iterated Systems Inc of Norcross, Georgia and desktop video publishing company Total MultiMedia Inc of Thousand Oaks, California are to challenge industry giants Microsoft Corp and Apple Computer Inc with a new video authoring and playback system. They are pitting their joint Iterated/TMM system, which they claim offers superior video technology, against the newly announced QuickTime system from Apple and Video for Windows from Microsoft (CI No 2,054). And, despite the odds, they say they are rallying support from the personal computer and entertainment industries. They reckon the Iterated/TMM system outperforms Microsoft and Apple’s offerings in the three key areas of compressed video rendering: image quality, frame rate and data rate. For example, on 33MHz 80486-based machines Fractal video achieves software playback rates of 30 frames per second, compared with 15 frames per second for the Microsoft and Apple products. Film and video professionals who have seen the three different technologies are also said to have judged Fractal video as superior. Compression rates, which determine how much video material can be packed on a CD-ROM, can be as low as 40Kbps – less than half that delivered by the Microsoft or Apple systems.


Iterated/TMM technology is also upwardly scalable. The same video streams bound for relatively low-resolution computer monitors can be zoomed for higher resolution display with software only, or to even higher resolutions, with additional hardware. Iterated, which was given a $2m US government grant this year to develop a real-time, high-resolution decompression chip for high-definition television and multimedia, claims that no other technology delivers better images from a single video data stream. The system’s development environment has been provided by Total Multimedia. It has an advantage over the Microsoft and Apple systems in that its audio and video capture technology ensures that digital video is automatically lip-synched to each image frame. Precise lip-synching, it says, has eluded both Microsoft and Apple and has proven a disaster for publishers seeking to work with these desktop computer-based system software environments. The Iterated/TMM alliance is gathering technological and commercial acceptance, the partners claim. Iterated’s still image technology was used by Microsoft in their recently announced Encarta multimedia encyclopaedia CD-ROM for instance. Total Multimedia technology has been adapted by leading developers like the Library of the Future and various training branches of the US Armed Forces. The two companies say that they are also close to announcing deals with leading music and video content owners and several major computer hardware and home entertainment firms.

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