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PRNewswire: Microsoft Releases Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator to Help Speed Content Production and Lower Development Costs

PRNewswire: Microsoft Unwraps Virtualization Surprise

Kodak A3 Flat Bed Now Available

Win with Wapple

PRNewswire: Microsoft Releases Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator to Help Speed Content Production and Lower Development Costs

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator, enabling film studios and disc authoring companies to model the behavior of HD DVD disc content, including encoded video and HDi interactivity, in a virtual environment before committing to burning a single HD DVD disc. This comprehensive tool is among the first commercially available, software-based solutions of its kind, eliminating the need for expensive hardware or time-consuming and costly trial-and-error processes for testing HD DVD titles, helping to ensure that titles ship error-free.

The enhanced content and rich interactive capabilities of HD DVD increase the need for an efficient way to troubleshoot coding to maintain the highest-quality consumer experiences. The emulator uses a combination of available hardware (the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player) and specialized emulation software to ultimately enable playback of near-final assets from a network storage share, portable hard drive or optical disc. This allows focused testing of the layout, the menus, and the behavior of the interactivity functionality of a title. Detailed log reports from the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator deliver valuable tracing information to help quickly and easily pinpoint problems with advanced interactivity code that otherwise could take hours of manual debugging.

"We are committed to supporting and advancing the HD DVD ecosystem, and the new Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator reflects these efforts by providing developers with the software-based tools they need to efficiently deliver the highest-quality content," said Jordi Ribas, general manager of HD DVD at Microsoft. "Microsoft developed the Emulator to help save studios and postproduction houses time, resources and costs involved with the creation of HD DVD content, and let them focus on what really matters -- pushing the envelope with the format."

Sessions using the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator are designed to complement existing workflows so that tests can be run at various stages. The tool offers several choices for how to run a session: directly from a network storage share, from a USB drive connected directly to the Xbox 360 console, or from an optical disc in the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player. While the tool enables the testing of content playback on the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player specifically, it effectively eliminates layers in the testing process for other HD DVD players as well.

As part of the development process, Microsoft implemented a beta program from July through November of this year, involving more than 40 participants, including Deluxe Digital Studios, Enteractive GmbH, Imagion AG, Memory-Tech Corporation and NetBlender Inc. Participants found that the tool significantly decreased the number of hours and reduced the costs associated with the production process, freeing up time to refine and improve content.

"The authoring process for HD DVD is more complex and expensive than the process for standard DVD, and as with any new technology, it can require a lot of time and resources," said John Harrington, CEO of NetBlender. "In the process of working with the new Xbox 360 HD DVD Player Emulator, we were able to cut the number of test discs needed per month from roughly 200 down to 50, saving more than 100 work hours per month. This positively impacted our business essentially overnight. We estimate we will recoup the low cost of the tool in less than one month's time."

Setting up the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator simply requires establishing a connection to Xbox LIVE, navigating to the Download Games menu, and adding the Emulator software to the hard drive of the Xbox 360 console. The one-time licensing fee is $2,999.

As scenarios for next-generation interactivity continue to expand and evolve, streamlining the production process for HD DVD titles frees up resources that licensees can use to focus on refining and improving content -- maximizing the potential of HDi to create compelling user scenarios. The Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator is available for sale immediately at http://www.thisishddvd.com/emulator.

More information on the Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator and HDi License Program, as well as a downloadable case study of NetBlender's use of the emulator, is available at http://www.thisishddvd.com/emulator.

Source: PRNewswire

PRNewswire: Microsoft Unwraps Virtualization Surprise

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. this morning delivered a holiday surprise for customers and partners, unveiling a public beta for its hypervisor-based server virtualization technology called Hyper-V, a feature with some versions of Windows Server 2008. Customers and partners today can download Windows Server 2008 RC1 Enterprise with the beta version of Hyper-V to evaluate the new technology, test applications and plan future consolidation, business continuity and high-availability projects. The beta was previously expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2008 with the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Server 2008. The beta is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/ws08eval.

"Delivering the high-quality Hyper-V beta earlier than expected allows our customers and partners to begin evaluating this feature of Windows Server 2008 and provide us with valuable feedback as we march toward final release," said Bill Laing, general manager of the Windows Server Division at Microsoft. "Along with Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 offers cost-effective and flexible licensing for virtualization so that customers and partners can extend the savings realized through server consolidation and deliver on the vision of Dynamic IT."

Currently, the beta for Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V is available for the x64 Enterprise Edition in English. This beta release provides customers and partners with expanded features and capabilities not previously available in the September 2007 Community Technology Preview of Hyper-V, such as Quick Migration, high availability, Server Core role and Server Manager integration. The final version of Hyper-V remains on target for release within 180 days of the RTM of Windows Server 2008. As a feature of Windows Server 2008, Hyper-V is designed to provide a broad range of customers with familiar and cost-effective virtualization infrastructure software that can help reduce operating costs, increase hardware utilization, optimize infrastructure and improve server availability.

To provide integrated management of physical and virtual environments, Microsoft is also developing the next version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager. Customers will be able to use this integrated management tool to rapidly provision and configure new virtual machines, and centrally manage their virtual infrastructure, running on Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, VMware ESX Server and Virtual Infrastructure 3 (V13).

The release of the Hyper-V beta marks another significant milestone for Windows Server 2008 as it approaches final release by the "Heroes Happen Here" launch in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2008. The launch, featuring Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, will mark the largest enterprise launch for the Redmond, Wash.-based company and is just one of many events planned for a worldwide rollout. So far, almost 2 million customers around the world have obtained Windows Server 2008 evaluation code. With such an extensive network of testing by customers and partners, Windows Server 2008 will be the most reliable and highly secure server platform on the Windows platform Microsoft has yet delivered, introducing role-based installation and management that will make it easier to help manage and secure specific server roles.

More information about Windows Server 2008 and the Hyper-V beta is available at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/virtualization/default.mspx.

Those wanting to read more about Windows Server 2008 and the Hyper-V beta on TechNet Blogs should go to http://blogs.technet.com/stbnewsbytes.

Source: PRNewswire

Kodak A3 Flat Bed Now Available

Eastman Kodak Company today announces that following the launch of its i1400 series scanner range for small to medium sized businesses, an A3 flat bed accessory is now available. This is attached to the main unit by means of a 1.8m tethered USB cable allowing the flat bed to be positioned away from the actual scanner unit or quickly unplugged and stored out of the way when not needed. It is capable of up to 600dpi optical resolution and is ideal for exception scanning of larger bound documents, books and magazines.

For the first time, this flat bed can also be used with all i1200 or i1300 series scanners providing a cross platform "mix and match" capability unique in the marketplace. This means that both the i1200/i1300 series and i1400 series can now be fitted with the same A4 or A3 flat beds, offering maximum flexibility, depending upon business requirements.

The A3 flat bed also supports Kodak Smart Touch technology auto-enabling up to 9 quick and easy functions such as scan-to-email and scan-to-searchable PDF, using the Start button, to help maximise productivity.

With their very small footprint and robust design, the i1200/i1300 series have enabled Kodak’s continued growth in the desktop scanning market with the i1400 series models also being extremely well received. Kodak offers both simplex and duplex models in all ranges, with various options in terms of the amount of paper which can be scanned each day. This varies from 3,000 pages per day at the lower end to 10,000 for those companies needing more throughput.

All scanner models come with Kodak’s enhanced Perfect Page image processing technology to ensure high quality scanned images independent of original document quality.

Hauke Fast, EAMER Product Marketing Manager explains, "Kodak is renowned for its ongoing product development and the combination of these scanners with interchangeable flat bed accessories across these product ranges is yet another example of how we are addressing customer needs in ever more innovative ways."

The A3 flat bed accessory is available immediately from Kodak Document Imaging authorised distributors and resellers throughout the EAMER region, with recommended pricing of ˆ1,295.00.

Source: webitpr

Win with Wapple

Wapple (www.wapple.net) has launched a competition to design the most innovative mobile website using its web-based development tools. The winner will get free Mobile Internet site hosting for a year worth £2,000; an unlocked Nokia N95 8GB multimedia handset worth £500 plus a Nintendo Wii with any choice of game worth £200. Three runners up will also win a Nintendo Wii. The competition is free to enter and runs from 20 December to Midnight GMT on 28 February.

"The mobile Internet is fast becoming an essential marketing tool but it there is still a lot of confusion about what makes a good mobile website," said Anne Thomas, business development director at Wapple. "Wapple makes it possible for anyone to quickly design a highly functional, professional mobile website that is instantly optimized for any mobile phone or device. But unlike other development tools, Wapple doesn’t force users into fixed structures or layouts and gives them the freedom to implement their own creative ideas. Entrants certainly don’t need in-depth design or technical knowledge to win and we are looking forward to seeing what people come up with."

To enter the competition simply go to http://wapple.net/winregister for the competition package and get started. Along with entry to the competition and the live site, Wapple is providing a free Wapple Partner Package until the end of the competition that enables users to design up to ten sites for their clients or for themselves.

Sites will be judged by an in-house team and winners will be announced on 10th March 2008.

Source: webitpr

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