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  • Sony Teams with Candescent, Pluto in Advanced TV Technologies
  • November 5, 1998 (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Sony Corp. is cooperating with U.S. venture companies to develop core technologies for thin, flat-panel computer displays and an MPEG-based multi-channel server for digital TV production and transmission.
    Sony, which has an extensive presence in the Silicon Valley, is partnering with U.S. start-up firms in California and elsewhere to advance its technology in the digital TV arena. Because the television know-how of tomorrow is so highly specialized, even global innovators like Sony must find partners to develop new technologies.

    The Tokyo-based electronics company is working with Candescent Technologies Corp. to commercialize high-voltage field emission display (FED) know-how for flat-panel computer displays. Candescent is based in San Jose, Calif.

    Also, its Sony Electronics unit is collaborating with Pluto Technologies International Inc. to build an MPEG-based multi-channel server for digital TV systems. Pluto, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, is developing a non-linear MPEG server system for SDTV operations that is based on Sony's MPEG technology.

    In its work with Candescent, Sony seeks to develop 14-in. and larger full-color high-voltage FEDs as a flat-screen display format for volume production before 2001.

    The high-voltage FED hardware that Sony and Candescent is developing is intended to be used to create full-color displays in which each pixel on the screen produces light separately by an electrical discharge array (micro-electron gun). Each electrical discharge array utilizes advanced microchip technology to activate a single picture element (pixel).

    Candescent said that this is the same light-generating principle used by CRTs, and for this reason it is feasible to achieve a similar level of brightness, viewing angle and response speed.

    And, because there is no need for an electron gun or deflection plate, FED displays can be manufactured using thin and lightweight panel-type designs.

    High-voltage FED displays employ technology that can produce a high level of brightness, and they offer longer life, reduced power consumption and superior color quality as compared with low-voltage types.

    "Candescent is a leading developer of high-voltage FED technology and we're looking forward to working closely with them to bring this very promising display technology to market," said Ryosuke Ashiya, senior vice president of Sony's Display Co.

    Candescent said it seeks to become a major supplier of flat panel displays for notebook computers, communications equipment and consumer products.

    Also, Sony Electronics and Pluto Technologies International are collaborating to develop an MPEG-based multi-channel server for digital TV production and transmission.

    Pluto is developing an MPEG server system for SDTV operation that is based on Sony's MPEG technology. Shipments are expected to begin in the second half of 1999.

    The new MPEG-based multi-channel server will provide broadcasters and production facilities with an environment for seamless non-linear editing and program play-out as part of an end-to-end MPEG broadcast solution for digital TV transmission. The companies said that users in the production system will be able to easily handle digital audio-video media on an MPEG network.

    MPEG is a digital broadcasting format that facilitates flexible digital network operations. With its scalability, MPEG handles SDTV multi-channel operations as well as high-definition TV.

    As digital TV rolls out, the demand for MPEG-based broadcast systems is projected to increase in an industry that requires reasonably priced solutions for its digital broadcast operations.

    "Sony and Pluto both share the goal of providing MPEG products to deliver the MPEG value proposition for DTV implementation," said Anthony Gargano, senior vice president of the Communications Systems Division of Sony Electronics. "Pluto is providing a critical product in the end-to-end MPEG production systems of the future."

    Sony's plans call for its MPEG products to interface directly with Pluto servers, Gargano said.

    "From a total operational point of view, and with consideration to the emergence of DTV, Sony's philosophy is that MPEG is the solution that provides the very best quality throughout the production chain," Gargano added.

    (Neil Davis, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Wed Nov 4 16:59:06 1998 PDT