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Multimedia Project
Video on Networks
by Rick Smith (March 1994)

Starlight Networks
Starlight Networks currently produces two families of digital video networking software products. Each family allows the sharing of video information over the network, however they are each aimed at different segments of the marketplace and differ in price, performance and requirements.

StarWare operates under the Novell NetWare file system and is designed for general purpose multimedia applications such as desktop training. Software for the five user configuration, StarWare-6M [$4.495], requires a 386 or 486 - 33 MHz server with 4 megabytes of free RAM above NetWare and supports NetWare Version 3.1x and above. The ten user version, StarWare-12M [$8,750], requires a 486-33 and 8 megabytes of free RAM. Both versions support only PC compatible client (desktop) systems.

StarWorks is based on UNIX and is designed for demanding multimedia networking applications such as thirty frames per second video-on-demand systems and video databases. The 12 Mbps bandwidth version, StarWorks-12M [$8,750], and the 25 Mbps bandwidth version StarWorks-25M [$14,995], require a i486-50 EISA server with 24 megabytes of RAM. Both versions support both PC compatible (386 minimum) and System 7.0+ Macintosh clients. StarWorks-25M supports up to 20 simultaneous video users.

Each family of products is independent of video compression formats and supports a wide range of playback systems including full-screen, 30 frames per second VHS and S-VHS quality video.

Twincom has recently introduced the C-Phone system which turns networked PCs (386 minimum) into real-time, full-motion color videophones. The picture is 30 frames per second television quality with fully synchronized audio and can be scaled from icon sized to full screen. It operates with Novell NetWare or Artisoft Lantastic. It supports 32 simultaneous two-way calls on the LAN workgroup. It requires a VGA card with a VESA Feature connector.

Each C-Phone system [$1,995] (minimum of 2 required) consists of a monitor mounted camera/speaker/microphone unit, an external video network interface, an internal system controller and C-Phone system software. It has all the features of a regular telephone system like call-waiting, call forwarding, call blocking, Caller ID, speed dial and music on hold as well as also operating as an answering machine. It can connect to other C-Phone networks or H.261/H.320 protocol video conferencing equipment using either V.35 or ISDN high-speed phone lines. It can also be connected to a standard television antenna or cable so television channels can be viewed throughout the network.

Copyright 1994 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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