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From The Floor: Formac Introduces New Video/Audio Capture, Writable Media Products

MWSF - From The Floor: Formac Introduces New Video/Audio Capture, Writable Media Products

by , 6:15 PM EST, January 10th, 2001

We were able to attend a special meeting, away from the hustle and bustle of the show floor, with members of the Formac team. Peter Papaioannou, Product Manager, and Oliver Bergmann, President & CEO, gave us an overview of some of the new and exciting products that they recently announced for the video/audio capture and writable storage markets.

The first, and we thought the most exciting product, is Formac studio, a FireWire video digitizer and TV/FM capture device. Like similar products, Formac studio can input and output composite video, stereo audio, S-Video and DV video. DV video is handled via two FireWire ports. But unlike other products, Formac studio also includes a cable TV tuner, capable of tuning up to 125 channels. It can also digitize FM radio. Imagine being able to take your TV shows and save them for later viewing! Formac studio is bundled with their TV and Radio Tuner software, webtools for streaming and broadcasting. Announced in November, the product is now shipping, and has a retail price of $429.

For those who have more modest viewing and capture needs, there is the ProTV Stereo. This is a PCI card which provides inputs for cable TV, FM radio, S-Video and composite video. It also has sound output and an accessory power jack, for connection to a camcorder or other device. It comes with ProTV software, which provides a way to tune TV channels. ProTV also includes a nifty "zapping" feature, where you can view a thumbnail of the content on all available TV channels, and then click on the one you'd like to view. ProTV Stereo is now available for $149.

For the writable storage crowd, Formac announced several FireWire writable drives, with their own case design and FireWire bridge electronics. Their CD-RW drives are available in a high-end 16X/10X/40X version, and a lower-priced 12X/10X/32X model. The cases are stackable, and can also be operated on their side. They can also be powered by the FireWire bus, eliminating the need for a power supply. Both units come bundled with Adaptec Toast software. The high-end unit is $499, the lower-priced unit $329, and are now shipping.

On the DVD-RAM front, they have a 9.4 GB unit, with the same spiffy case as their CD-RW units. It shares the benefits of this design, such as being stackable, and having the option to be powered only by the FireWire bus. It comes with Formac's ProDisc software for partitioning, formatting and accessing DVD-RAM media. The drive is now available with a retail price of $599.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We think the introduction of the Formac studio and ProTV products, combined with the announcement of Apple products such as iTune and iDVD, will help the Mac continue to become the platform of choice for digital content professionals. No matter if it is graphics, sound or video. And their writable products will help distribute such content once it is created.

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