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October 20, 1995

LOUGHBOROUGH SOUND IMAGES UNVEILS MULTIMEDIA ARCHITECTURE

By CBR Staff Writer

Loughborough, Leicestershire signal processor specialist, Loughborough Sound Images Plc, has announced its Video Processing Architecture – ViPA – multimedia architecture. There are four major components: hardware based around a signal processor, Texas Instruments Inc’s TMS320C80, and proprietary ViPA media chip; a software environment to enable multiple media applications to be run at once; control application programming interfaces to handle the various different inputs; and media applications, which can be added and rewritten individually. The first product to incorporate the technology will be a plug-in board with an AT bus for video conferencing on a personal computer, costing $1,000, followed by a PCI board, for around $750, said the company, but there is a planned year-on-year price reduction of 40% on current pricing. Applications run under the company’s LCI operating system although the board has Media Manager software that allocates ISDN telephone line capacity between each application. The Media Manager provides intelligent allocation of resources – we have one telephone line, and we have to use it for the videophone, facsimile and modem. Sometimes it won’t be possible to do everything simultaneously, but if so it will tell you, said Ralph Weir, the company’s business manager for video multimedia. As standard, ViPA will come with media applications for a videophone, data conferencing, facsimile modem, telephone answering machine and business audio. In future, said the company, MPEG1 and MPEG2 will be added to enable compressed video on CD-ROMs to be played back and recorded. The company hopes to license the technology to public telephone operators and OEM customers, and claims that some 20 companies – all under non-disclosure – have licensed it already. They are believed to include France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom AG, as well as television manufacturers and computer companies. Loughbrough Sound Images is a privately-owned company and expects to achieve a revenues of $22m this year, rising to $35m next year. It spends around 40% of annual turnover on research and development.

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