Newcomer V Inc. Goes for the Gold

Every year at the Consumer Electronics Show, previously unknown companies make their debut. One that caught our attention this year is Fountain Valley, CA-based V Inc. This year, the company hopes to leverage its expertise in the computer display field with a foray into home entertainment, with a line of affordable plasma displays and an MPEG-4 DVD player.

The Bravo D1 DVD player will be first of its kind with the ability to decode MPEG-4 video via Sigma Design’s DVD8500 chipset. MPEG-4 is the latest digital video compression standard, enabling content developers to create programs containing audio, video, text, graphics and interactivity. The object-oriented environment of MPEG-4 provides for complex scene compression at low bit rates with correspondingly small file sizes, making it ideal for either lower cost or higher capacity storage. An MPEG-4 equipped CD/DVD recorder could capture up to two hours of standard definition video on low cost CD-Rs. Panasonic's new MPEG-4 Digital Palmcorder MultiCam would be an ideal source for such recordings.

The D1 will feature DVI/HDCP (digital video interface/high definition copy protection) digital output. The advantage of DVI output is the use of Direct Digital Picture (DDP). DDP offers a digital picture from DVD to display without any of the noise or artifacts normally associated with analog conversion. DDP technology also allows for the image to be digitally scaled to the native resolution of the display device, the manufacturer claims.

The Bravo D1 supports playback of DVD, DVD-R/RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW MPEG-4, J-PEG, MP3 and WMA discs. The player supports Dolby Digital and DTS pass-through on optical and S/PDIF outputs, and features NTSC composite, S-Video and Component Video output for interlaced or progressive video signals. "The standard definition video outputs implement Macrovision(R) copy protection with the DVI output implementing HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) encryption for absolute security where applicable," according to a new product announcement. Available in February, the Bravo D1 will have a suggested retail price of $199.99.

V Inc. is also launching a line of enhanced definition/high definition plasma displays in four sizes: 32", 42", 46", and 50". All models feature DVI connections for "a pure digital video signal path." Suggested retail prices will range from $2,999.99 to $5,999.99 respectively.