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(Japanese Site)

  • Toshiba to Sell System to Handling MPEG4 Image Data
  • June 8, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Toshiba Corp. on July 1 will start selling what it claims is the world's first commercially available software capable of handling MPEG4 data.
    It will allow users to create MPEG4 image and sound data, and to transmit it over the Internet or corporate intranets. The new product is called MobileMotion.

    MPEG4 is a new technology that can be used to compress image, sound and other multimedia data so that it can be handled more effectively. It has been developed as the new standard to follow the previous MPEG1 and MPEG2 formats, and it is capable of coping with both high and low data transmission speeds.

    Work to standardize it is still ongoing and is not yet complete, but Toshiba has decided to go ahead with the release of its new product in order to gain a head start over the rest of the field.

    MobileMotion can deal with data transmission speeds ranging from 6kbps up to 384kbps. For that reason, it can be used in mobile communications, even over low-speed analog telephone lines, to receive and play back image and sound data in real time by making use of its data streaming ability.

    The frame rate of moving image can range between 1 and 30 frames per second, and the image size can range from CIF (352 x 288 dots) to SQCIF (128 x 96 dots). Sound data transmission speeds can be 6.4k, 8k or 16kbps for monaural, and 20kbps for stereo.

    Toshiba is planning to target sales of MobileMotion mainly at business users. The pricing system adopted for the product means that costs will differ depending on factors such as the scale of the organizations that purchase it and the applications for which it is to be used.

    In general terms, it should be possible to construct a system for using the MobileMotion software products that includes all the necessary PCs and other hardware for about 5-6 million yen (US$36,200-43,500).

    It is also expected that MobileMotion will be employed in conjunction with the existing networks to enable companies to use moving image data for applications such as their in-house education systems, sales support systems and product promotion activities.

    Teijin Ltd., a major manufacturer of polyester fibers, is already using MobileMotion to advertise a new range of its own-brand swimsuits at http://www.teijin.co.jp/JEG/SWSHOW/SHOW/MOVIE.htm (in Japanese).

    The range of different products that make up the MobileMotion package includes a MobileMotion Producer, used for converting moving image files stored in other formats, such as MPEG1 and AVI, into the MPEG4 data format.

    There is also a MobileMotion Server, which is used for transmitting MPEG4 data over the Internet, and a MobileMotion Player, used for playback and to save motion picture data.

    The MobileMotion Set Up Support Service provides user support that covers everything from introducing the system to running it.

    In order to watch playback of MPEG4 moving images created with MobileMotion, then it is necessary to use either special software called the Viewer, or else the MobileMotion Player, which is capable of downloading and then playing images.

    The Viewer will be available from Toshiba's Internet homepage, free of charge, from July onwards. For a limited time period, until the end of June, it will be possible for users to download and play several samples of moving image data from http://www2.toshiba.co.jp/mmoti on/ (note that the information on this home page is available in Japanese language only).

    According to Toshiba, over the next three years it aims to supply MobileMotion to around 1,500 companies, and anticipates that sales of the product will reach about 9 billion yen mark (US$65 million).

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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    Updated: Sun Jun 7 01:13:47 1998