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Monday, April 18, 2005
Apple shows HD edit software

Apple Final Cut Studio offers High-definition finish

Apple has rolled out Final Cut Studio, a suite of video production software for professionals that includes a new program called Soundtrack Pro, aimed at making video and film projects sounds as good as they look in high-definition formats.

Apple announced the upgraded and new software programs at this week's National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Numerous issues are expected to be discussed at the conference, including decency standards on broadcast television and radio, the transition to new, higher-quality digital television and getting cable companies to carry the extra digital channels broadcasters are developing.

At Apple's Macworld convention in January, the company's chief executive Steve Jobs took the stage to declare that 2005 is the year of HD, or high definition. Consumers are increasingly buying HD television sets and this year alone about 16 million HD TV sets will have been sold, said Rob Schoeben, head of applications product marketing for Cupertino, California-based Apple.

While Apple is best known for its iPod digital music players and its Macintosh computers, it has a large presence in the digital video and film editing software market.

Apple's Final Cut Studio includes Final Cut Pro 5, described by Apple said as a big upgrade to its Emmy award-winning editing software. It also includes Soundtrack Pro, Motion 2, what Apple called the first real-time motion graphics application and DVD Studio Pro 4, which lets professionals create HD DVDs to the latest HD DVD specifications.

"Until recently, I think they didn't have all the pieces" of a complete digital video editing suite demanded by professionals, said Kathleen Maher, an analyst with market research firm Jon Peddie Research, of Apple's editing software. "With this announcement, they come really close to having all of the pieces."

Mr Schoeben said that HD is turning a corner this year.

"We've talked about it for a long time but as an industry you can now really feel it for the first time," he said. "We're at that inflection point."

Apple competes in the professional video editing market with, among others, Avid Technology Inc. and Pinnacle Systems. Last month, Pinnacle said it agreed to be acquired by Avid.

Mr Schoeben said all the programs will be available in May.

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