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In Software Downloads:
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Photoshop finally supports OS X

Adobe has at last introduced a version of Photoshop that runs on Mac OS X. The launch of version 7 is good news for Apple, since it should help the company to move users over to its new operating system.

Photoshop is the most widely used professional still image editing program on the Mac platform, and many companies and individuals won't have even considered switching to OS X until the arrival of a compatible version. But, for OS X to really pick up steam, what's still needed is an OS X version of Quark Xpress - the most popular Mac professional desktop publishing program - which, amazingly, still seems some way off.

Version 7 of Photoshop - which also runs on OS 9.1 and is available for Windows as well - has much the same hefty street price as V6, £530 (inc VAT), but can be bought for about £140 as an upgrade from full versions of 4/5/6; or for about £465 if upgrading from the lite, LE, version.

Mac and Windows versions each offer three key new features - a revamped File Browser, an improved painting engine, and a clever Healing Brush tool. The File Browser now has four parts. There's a Tree view window for file navigation and a Preview pane for selected images. Images are browsed as thumbnails in the Thumbnail pane, complete with their details, and can be rotated (180 degrees), re-organised or batch-renamed - a powerful option that needs some care under Windows. The Metadata pane shows detailed information on each image selected, including format, size, colour, resolution, bit-depth, date created and modified, and Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) information generated by digital stills cameras.
Adobe, 020 8606 4000;

Beginning of the end for tape?

Hitachi is introducing a trio of products that just might signal the start of the demise of tape-based camcorders. The three are reasonably-priced digital camcorders (£805, £990 and £1,240) that record DVD movies to 1.4GByte/8cm DVDs for playing in set-top machines.

They can use write-once single-sided DVD-Rs (costing about £7 each), as well as more expensive rewritable double-sided DVD-RAM discs (£16), and look much more likely to sell in volume than the company's two previous MPEG camcorders - each of which had serious technical shortcomings and was priced well out of reach of the mass market at £1,800.

Hitachi's first attempt was with a hard-disk-based MPEG-1 unit, the MP-EG1E (review, September 1997), which was lacking in almost every department. The company went back to the drawing board and last year launched the DZ-MV100E. This did encode to standard MPEG-2, but recorded only to DVD-RAM discs that couldn't be read by 99 per cent of set-top DVD players. And, although picture quality was far better than
on the first generation machine, the MV100 tended to produce relatively poor images when encoding footage of moving subjects.

We plan to fully test the new-generation models as soon as possible but, in a brief hands-on session, we didn't notice any motion artefacts. We'd only expect to be able to do so when viewing footage on a normal TV set, though, rather than on the camcorder's small built-in monitor, which we used. If Hitachi has cracked this problem, the prospects looks very bright.
Hitachi, 01628 643000;

Sony adds DVD burning and Premiere to desktop Vaios

A revamp of Sony's edit-ready Vaio desktop PCs sees the introduction of one model fitted with a DVD burner, and the inclusion of Adobe Premiere 6 LE with three out of the four new Pentium 4 Windows XP machines. All come with v3.1 of Sony's own entry-level video editing program MovieShaker and have two built-in FireWire ports - a four-pin at the front and a six-pin at the back.

Range leader is the PCV-RX203 fitted with a 2GHz processor and a Sony-made DVD-R/DVD-RW burner (Sony is a member of both the -RW and +RW camps). Suggested price is £1,503 - which includes VAT, but no monitor. Programs provided for DVD creation are DVDit! for authoring and DVD Maker 1.1 for recording. Disk capacity is a whopping 120GByte, and there's 512MByte of DDR SDRAM, upgradeable to 1GByte.

NVIDIA GeForce2 Ti 3D graphics cards appear across the range, with 16MByte RAM on the LX2 and 64MByte on the others. A spread of Sony software is supplied with all models - DVGate; PictureGear; SonicStage; and PictureToy. Another picture editor, Adobe's Photoshop Elements, is also standard, with the LX2 offering Adobe GoLive and LiveMotion Web creation and authoring programs. The Vaios have front and rear USB ports (four in total), a Memory Stick slot and built-in Ethernet and modem. RX models have two free PCI slots, and VGA, serial and parallel ports. The LX2 has only one PCI slot (plus a CardBus slot) and is fitted with Sony's own LCD monitor port, instead of VGA.
Sony IT, 08705 424424;

Iomega external HDDs

We were somewhat critical of Iomega's Peerless modular 20GByte hard drive system (£335 inc VAT, review, January 2002, p80) but the company's latest trio of external hard drives look to use better designs and offer better value.

One is a portable FireWire unit in 20GByte (£189) and 40GByte (£309) capacities. It centres on 2.5in EIDE hard disks, and is claimed to be rugged enough to withstand a 50-inch drop onto industrial carpet - up to five times the drop height of other portable hard drives on the market today.

Next is a desktop USB 2.0/1.1 model (£279) holding an 80GB 2.5in EIDE drive. Range leader, at £399, is another desktop unit, but with a 120GByte drive and FireWire connectivity in addition to USB 2.0/1.1. All models come with Iomega's own QuikSync automatic backup software.
Iomega, 020 7365 9527;

ADS 2.5in FireWire drive bay

ADS is introducing an external FireWire enclosure for 2.5in EIDE hard disks. The Pyro 2.5in Drive Kit - RRP £100 (inc VAT) - can be used with an Ultra ATA/33/66/100 drive and runs under Windows (98SE/2000/ME/ WinXP) and Mac OS (9 and X).

The portable unit has two six-pin FireWire ports and comes with a six-pin-to-six-pin FireWire cable (2m) plus a CD of Mac and Windows drivers. The drive is powered from a FireWire port and has no power supply of its own. However, ADS does provide a cable for powering the drive from a USB port if it's connected to an unpowered FireWire port.

The 2.5in kit will sell alongside the company's established Pyro Drive Kit for 5.25in hard disks and CD/DVD drives, and its recently launched USB 2.0 equivalent, the Pyro USB 2.0 Drive Kit.
ADS Technology, 0035 36170 2018;

Pinnacle extends DV500's DVD capabilities

Pinnacle is replacing its £500 analogue/digital dual-stream editing package, DV500 Plus, (review, July 2001, p42) with a version costing £50 more and offering better DVD capabilities, including the time-saving ability to re-import MPEG-2 files into Adobe Premiere for further editing.

The new version, the DV500 DVD, has an improved MPEG-2 export plug-in for Premiere that's said to double the speed of the encoding process to near real-time when used on PCs with fast processors. Also included is a stand-alone software MPEG encoder, the T-Rex Universal Multimedia File converter, for converting individual AVIs and audio files to and from MPEG-1 and 2.
Pinnacle, 01895 424228;

Roxio adds DVD burning and Win XP support to WinOnCD

One of our favourite CD burning programs - Roxio's WinOnCD - has been upgraded to offer DVD capabilities and run under Windows XP, not just Win 2K, ME and 98.

WinOnCD 5 Power Edition (PE) is expected to sell for around £55 (inc VAT) - £10 more than its predecessor, the multiple award-winning version 3.8 (review, May 2001, p64). V5 comes with an upgraded DirectCD utility that supports drag-and-drop data burning to DVD and is claimed to work with DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+RW and the new write-once DVD+R format.

Promised soon is a DVD Video/MPEG-2 plug-in for creating interactive menus and buttons during DVD authoring. This will be made available shortly as a download - price still unknown. The integrated ArtWork editor has been enhanced in keeping with the new changes and can now produce library covers for DVDs, as well as CDs.
Roxio, +49 2405 45080;

DVC opens in London's Oxford Street

Video editing specialist DVC has earned an enviable reputation for the quality of the systems it builds and the support it offers. However, its main office is a bit off the beaten track in the south coast town of Hove - not the first place one would think of for buy editing hardware and software.

For that, the area around Soho and Tottenham Court Road comes to mind - which, sensibly, is where DVC has recently opened a London sales and demonstration office, at 77 Oxford Street, W1 (nearest tube, TCR). The company's usual mix of desktop and laptop systems is on show, running hardware and software from Adobe, Avid, Canopus, Matrox, Pinnacle and others.
DVC, 020 7659 2096/ 01273 707200;


CD Creator adds DVD support and complete XP compatibility

Roxio's technology underpins the CD burning capabilities of Windows XP, but this hasn't ensured that users of Roxio's own CD burning software have had an easy time when trying to run it under XP.
April's Updates (p14) gave details of how to upgrade Easy CD Creator 5 Platinum for XP, including the hoops that users had to jump through when installing. Now, though, Roxio has launched a further updater (to v5.1) that goes on easy - well, as easy as a 17.74MByte download can - and sorts out a number of usability issues. One is the complete elimination of the troublesome Take Two module under all versions of Windows. But perhaps the biggest improvement is that the Direct CD packet writing software that comes with Easy CD Creator no longer seems to battle against XP for the rights to burn data CDs created by drag-and-drop.
Also very good news for CV readers is that moving to v5.1 is said to provide a new DVD data project option with support for DVD-R and DVD-RW. There's now also support for drag-and-drop writing to DVD formats and rather more of it than in the project option. Supported DVD formats for drag-and-drop are DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM and DVD+RW. There's not yet any confirmation of DVD+R support, but we tend to think this will be included, too, if not immediately.
The full v5.1 is now also coming available retail, and at much the same sub-£50 price point as its predecessor.

Roxio, +49 8382 275 633;

For more news, see the June 2002 issue of Computer Video.

Recent features...
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Reviewed in June's issue:
NAB 2002
Apple Final Cut Pro 3
Apple iMac with SuperDrive
Pioneer DVR-7000

In June's news:
Photoshop supports OS X
The end for tape?
DVD burning for Vaios
Iomega external HDDs
ADS 2.5in FireWire drive bay
Pinnacle DV500
Roxio WinOnCD
CD Creator DVD support

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