Spring Comdex and Windows World was held jointly in Atlanta, May 23rd to 26th, 1994. One interesting note was that during his keynote address, Motorola CEO Galvin felt that multimedia was the first industry created by the press release. Here's a quick overview of some of the many new and exciting products were shown.
Software - New Titles
7th Level demonstrated their upcoming CD title A Complete Waste of Time about Monty Python, the 70's British comedy seen on PBS. It has excellent animation and a fun to use interface. It was one of the best multimedia demonstrations I have seen.
Medio introduced three edutainment CD titles. Medio Magazine is a general interest CD magazine for adults and children. Jets! is an interactive history of jet powered aircraft and their pilots including 30 minutes of full motion video. World Beat features an interactive collection of over 160 music styles from around the world.
Through his Turner Interactive division, Ted Turner is now in the interactive market. Some recent/upcoming releases are Flintstones, Pagemaster (an upcoming Macaulay Caulkin movie) and Screen Lovers (screen savers with great scenes from classic movies and cartoons).
Software - Tools
HSC Software demonstrated several exciting software packages. Kai's Power Tools version 2.0 has some very powerful features such as a gradient designer, real-time preview, fractal explorer and texture explorer. The latest brainchild of HSC is Bryce's New Worlds Explorer, which generates landscape and scenery. Digital Morph 2.0, a morph generator, was also announced.
Anicom demonstrated an easy-to-use, low cost 3D animation tool called 3D Choreographer. It allows a novice animator to control the movement, size, speed, placement and orientation of a three dimensional "actor".
Blue Sky Software demonstrated Multimedia WinHelp, a multimedia extension to the standard Windows help engine which adds sound, 256 color graphics, videos and live tutorials.
Crayola and Micrografx demonstrated two children's programs, Amazing Art Adventure for preschoolers and Art Studio for children six and up. Art Studio has a Picture Show Maker which allows kids to produce their own animated cartoons with color and sound!
Animotion Graphics demonstrated their CD Master CD player software, SoundSavers audio activated screen saver, SoundRevue 44K CD-ROM sound clip library, SoundTrak 3D sound editor and Stereo recorder/mixer/editor/MIDI player "rack system". These products look and sound great and are quite affordable.
ULead displayed Media Studio, a software package that combines video capture, audio and video editing, image editing, morphing and screen capture. The library feature helps you manage the various files used in multimedia production. Thumbnails of video, audio, animation, image and graphic files can be cataloged into albums for easy, "at your fingertip" access.
Fauve Software displayed Matisse, a software package similar to Fractal Painter.
In:sync displayed Razor, a powerful sound and video editing software package.
Serif demonstrated an Page Pro, an easy to use $59.95 desktop publishing product which competes with Aldus Pagemaker and Quark Express.
Hardware - Printers
To print the exciting digital images you create, several photo realistic color printers were shown at Comdex. Fargo Electronics, Inc. displayed the new PrimeraPro, an $1895, 600x300 dpi photo realistic, dye-sublimation / wax transfer printer. It's compatible with the PC, Mac and Amiga and has optional Postscript Level 2.
LaserMaster displayed their DisplayMaker Professional wide-format printer which prints 36 inch wide photographic quality color images. It also has a unique "on-line" ink replenishing system which refills the ink cartridges while you print.
Hardware - Disk drive
A new high performance AT (IDE) style drive technology called Fast ATA is available from Seagate Technology. It can attach to a standard IDE controller with standard BIOS but needs to be used with an ATA controller to achieve the incredible 13.3 megabytes/ second burst transfer rate. You can literally "see" the difference when playing full screen computer animations.
Teac America introduced the Super Quad, a quadruple speed CD-ROM drive which has a 600 kilobytes/second transfer rate, a 195 millisecond access speed, power eject and supports CD-ROM XA with multi-session Photo CD compatibility. Teac has also packaged this CD-ROM drive with a 3.5" floppy disk drive into a single half-height package!
Hardware - Video
Advanced Digital Systems demonstrated several VGA to NTSC (Standard television) converters with prices ranging from $169 to $399.
Fast Electronics, well known for their Video Machine, demonstrated the Movie Machine Pro, a $549 product which provides a TV tuner, framegrabber, video overlay, video editing, and video out functions. A $395 Motion-JPEG option is available which allows hard disk video editing.
Hardware - Workstations
Some very impressive multimedia presentations and virtual reality demonstrations were made using powerful technology and systems from NekoTech, Intergraph and MIPS Technology.
Hardware - Proprietary format players for your PC
Creative Labs announced that they will be the exclusive provider of add-in cards which incorporate the 3DO interactive technology into the PC. This means you will be able to play 3DO titles on your PC!
International Interactive Media announced the MediaPlayback board which enables a CD-ROM equipped PC or Macintosh to play Compact Disk Interactive (CDI) programs, Phillips Digital Video (DV) movies and Video CD disks. This board allows the playback of 30 frames per second, full motion video, in millions of colors with full interactive control.
The Second Annual New Media awards were delayed due to technical problems, but we were treated to the comedy of Charles Fleischer and the music of the "New Media INVISION Multimedia Band" which included Scott Page, a former Pink Floyd member and Jeff Baxter of Steely Dan. The Master of Ceremonies was "Weird Al" Yankovic, known for his musical parodies.
© 1994 Rick Smith All rights reserved.