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OSTA to Demonstrate Recently Approved MultiAudio/MultiPlay Compatibility Specs

Seminar At Meiji Kinenkan On Sept. 21 Will Help the Consumer Electronics Industry Capitalize On the Latest Trend of Consumer-Generated CDs

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 18, 2001-- The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) today announced that it will conduct a seminar for consumer electronics manufacturers at Meiji Kinenkan, Tokyo, on Friday, Sept. 21 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The briefing includes a demonstration of OSTA's recently approved MultiAudio and MultiPlay compatibility specifications, which capitalize on the latest trend of consumer-generated CDs and allow manufacturers of consumer CD/DVD players to provide a better overall user experience.

The MultiPlay/MultiAudio briefing is being held in conjunction with OSTA's quarterly meeting of industry manufacturers of optical storage devices, media and software, which will be held in Tokyo from Sept. 18 to 20.

MultiAudio Enables Faster Access to Compressed Audio Files

OSTA's MultiAudio specification ensures that discs with compressed audio files, such as MP3 or WMA, are as easy to play as standard Red Book audio CDs, whether played back on a PC or consumer electronics device. The new specification creates a Table of Contents used for retrieval, management and playback of compressed audio files and playlists by a CD or DVD consumer player.

The MultiAudio specification enables the playback device to quickly read the table of contents, bypassing the lengthy delays for disc initialization that can occur today while the player identifies all of the files on the disc. In addition, it allows custom playlists to be created by the user so songs can be accessed by genre, album, artist or other grouping.

"With today's MP3 and WMA compressed audio files, hundreds of songs can be stored on a single CD," explained Felix Nemirovsky, chairman of OSTA's MultiRead Subcommittee. "Our MultiAudio specification allows CE manufacturers to give consumers a much more satisfying experience with the CDs they have created. It provides faster access to these files while making it easier for the users to play the songs they want through multiple playlists, based on the album, artist, genre, their own favorites, or the entire contents of the CD."

Revision 1.0 of the MultiAudio CD-CA specification has been unanimously approved by OSTA's voting members, and it is posted on the industry group's Web site at www.osta.org/multiaudio. The first consumer CD and DVD players conforming to the specification are expected to appear in the market later this year. The MultiAudio specification is both inexpensive and easy for consumer electronic manufacturers to incorporate, as no hardware modifications are required for this software feature.

The MultiAudio logical disc format is an extension of current MP3 capability on consumer devices, and provides backward compatibility with current MP3 disc players capable of playing compressed audio files stored on optical disc. To facilitate creation and display of playlists, the specification provides a standardized method of storing information regarding the track name, year recorded, performer name, composer name, songwriter name, arranger name, album name, and genre.

MultiPlay Compatibility Specification

OSTA will also discuss the availability of test discs as the next step in the rollout of its MultiPlay compatibility program. This specification enables manufacturers of CD and DVD players to assure customers that CD-R and CD-RW discs created on a personal computer will play in consumer electronics devices that display the MultiPlay logo.

Upon successful completion of the self-certification program, OSTA will license the MultiPlay logo to qualifying consumer electronic device manufacturers on a royalty-free basis. The logo license will grant the right to apply the MultiPlay logo on qualifying products and related documents. The licensee will pay a one-time fee for the test discs and logo license and must comply with the licensing rules.

The MultiPlay compatibility specification, originally proposed by Oak Technology Inc., was completed and adopted by OSTA at its December 2000 meeting. The availability of the test discs and implementation of the certification program complete the rollout of this compatibility specification.

"The MultiPlay effort builds on OSTA's successful MultiRead compatibility specification, which in the past three years has accomplished full compatibility of CD-R and CD-RW discs in essentially all computer-based CD or DVD devices," stated Nemirovsky. "MultiPlay will in a similar way accomplish much needed CD-R and CD-RW disc compatibility in consumer CD and DVD players. Now that our testing and logo licensing requirements are complete, we expect the MultiPlay logo to appear in the market this year."

The need for the MultiPlay compatibility specification stemmed from recent dramatic growth of CD-RW drive adoption by computer users, fueled by the low price and widespread availability of CD-R and CD-RW discs. Consumers have found that audio or video discs written on a PC using CD-R or CD-RW media cannot always be played in consumer CD or DVD players.

All CD and DVD players available to the consumer clearly state that they are designed to play audio Compact Discs, and consumers expect that -- regardless of the type of player (home, portable, car) -- it should play all types of audio discs. Consumers are greatly disappointed to discover they cannot play an audio disc written on CD-R or CD-RW media in some CD or DVD players.

A large number of CD and DVD players can also play CD-Text audio discs and VideoCD Movie discs. The new specification defines the following requirements for a consumer CD/DVD player to be MultiPlay capable:

  • CD Players capable of only CD Audio must play CD Audio from CD-R and CD-RW discs.
  • CD Players capable of CD Audio and CD-Text must play CD Audio and CD-Text from CD-R and CD-RW discs.
  • DVD Players capable of only CD Audio (besides DVD Movie), must play CD Audio from CD-R and CD-RW discs.
  • DVD Players capable of CD Audio and VideoCD must play CD-Audio and VideoCD from CD-R and CD-RW discs.

Consumers will benefit greatly from the improved compatibility, since more and more consumers have access or ability to record CDs. With MultiPlay, consumers will be able to play not only commercially available content but also personal content, such as compilation audio discs made from their own libraries of commercial audio discs or from compressed audio files stored on their PCs. Digital photos downloaded to the PC from digital cameras or scanners can also be recorded onto CDs and played in MultiPlay-capable DVD or VideoCD players.

Furthermore, personal video in MPEG1 format can be recorded on CDs and played in MultiPlay capable DVD or VideoCD players. Additional information on compressed audio formats, with links to other industry sites, can be found on OSTA's MP3 information page at www.osta.org/mp3info.

For further information, refer to the OSTA MultiPlay compatibility specification and test plan, available at www.osta.org/multiplay. To obtain the test discs and logo licensing documents, manufacturers may contact Ray Freeman at [email protected].

About OSTA

The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) was incorporated as an international trade association in 1992 to promote the use of recordable optical technologies and products. The organization's membership includes optical product manufacturers and resellers from three continents, representing more than 85 percent of worldwide writable optical product shipments.

They work to shape the future of the industry through regular meetings of CD/DVD, file interchange, market development, high performance and planning committees. Interested companies worldwide are invited to join the organization and participate in its programs by contacting an OSTA representative at 805/963-3853, by fax 805/962-1541 or by addressing its Web site at www.osta.org.




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