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Saturday, December 14, 2002
Sonic intros DVD Tester

Sonic Solutions introduced at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), DVD PrePlay, a new Windows-based DVD-Video emulation system designed to simplify and enhance quality assurance procedures for professional DVD authoring facilities. Leveraging Sonic's years of format and production-critical DVD title creation experience, DVD PrePlay provides DVD producers with a new level of quality control by emulating a DVD Player as it plays through a DVD title, revealing errors that may have been introduced in the authoring process.

"Our DVD customers are demanding larger and increasingly complex DVD titles, and we need a way to accurately identify issues introduced during authoring," said Ian Macdougald, technical director of the Interactive Studio at The Yard, a leading DVD authoring facility based in Dublin, Ireland. "DVD PrePlay enables us to analyze how a DVD player will interact with the advanced DVD titles we create, allowing us to correct problems before they are written to DLT masters, saving us hundreds of lost hours in trial-and-error revisions."

Designed to meet the demanding requirements of professional authoring facilities producing titles for commercial distribution, DVD PrePlay provides detailed auditing of DVD playback functions as the disc plays through the DVD volume structure of DVD-5 or DVD-9 image files. DVD Preplay includes hardware with Y/C video output and SPDIF digital audio output to accurately deliver the end-user experience as a title is viewed on a set-top DVD player.

This diagnostic tool provides viewing of all SPRM and GPRM parameters during emulation as well as Text Data support. With line-by-line debug mode and command sequence logging output, DVD PrePlay is designed to allow authors to verify the interactivity programmed into any DVD disc. This analysis of a DVD title not only accelerates the debugging process during authoring, but also verifies the functionality of finished discs even after they have been replicated, providing the ability to compare final discs with pre-replicated DVD masters to check the integrity of the manufacturing process. "Commercial title production studios have been looking for additional means of speeding workflow, as the demand for DVD titles continues to soar," said Matt Palmer, senior product manager for the Professional Products Group at Sonic. "DVD PrePlay gives our customers an advantage in the constant race against time by identifying issues early in the authoring process, and enabling the delivery of DVDs in the most efficient means possible."

Research and development for PrePlay has happened for the most part in Japan. The code was written by Daikin, a company whose main business was air conditioners until it got into DVD authoring with Scenarist.

Unlike the many other offerings from Sonic Solutions, the DVD PrePlay emulation system does not currently work on a Mac. Comparable products have been the Sony Emulator-which has been discontinued-and an emulation system from Panasonic that Sonic claims is three times the price of the PrePlay.

A distinction is made between DVD testing products known as verifiers and emulators. A verifier like the one from Eclipse checks the code of the whole product offline against the DVD spec whereas an emulator simulates playback in a real-world DVD player. DVD PrePlay is available immediately through Sonic's worldwide network of value added resellers (

Based in Marin County, CA, Sonic Solutions is a leading manufacturer of solutions for DVD creation. Sonic MyDVD is the first DVD authoring application for consumers, and is a leading DVD solution among DVD recorder and PC manufacturers. Sonic DVDit! is a leading DVD authoring application for videographers and corporate video producers.

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