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July 12, 1993

SILICON GRAPHICS INDY SETS-MULTIMEDIA STANDARD

By CBR Staff Writer

Capitalising on the enormous hype surrounding the Jurassic Park movie – and to a lesser extent the restoration of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to its original pristine condition – neither of which would have been achieved without its workstations, Silicon Graphics Inc was preparing to set the multimedia world on its ear as we closed for press yesterday with the launch of the Indy. The Indy is a $5,000 workstation with a colour video camera that can be mounted on top of the monitor, three-dimensional graphics, and professional-quality audio capabilities. The video camera is to enable people in different parts of an office, or in different parts of the world, to view each other’s image while working with their computers – for instance as well as using the system for videoconferencing, engineers could use the camera to view a single part being developed by different offices. Video from the detachable camera uses JPEG compression for 400Kbps transmission over Ethernet networks and the Indy accepts NTSC video input and other video sources via one of the video input jacks in the back. The processor is a 100MHz MIPS Technologies Inc R4000PC, it has 15 colour monitor and what is described as virtual 24-bit colour graphic capabilities. On the software front, there is a new graphical operating system called Indigo Magic – a new shell built on top of the company’s Irix Unix presumably, which is claimed to make the thing as easy to use as a Macintosh, and hopes that it will become a new standard. Indigo Magic uses mouse actions and icons for manipulation and software tools for editing and viewing of video images and an electronic mail system are included in the operating system. Users can also develop their own desk system to help them arrange their most important working files and programs the way they want them. The company’s chairman, Ed McCracken told Reuter that his Mountain View company is projecting that the Indy could triple its unit production over the next 18 months – it had turnover of $739m in fiscal 1992. As reported, Silicon Graphics has teamed up with Time Warner Inc to develop a new multimedia system for interactive entertainment uses involving the television set. The $5,000 tag is on a diskless system with 16Mb of memory and the 15 monitor and it will be available in September. A system with 32Mb of memory, a 340Mb disk and 19 colour display will cost around $17,500.

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