E.T.C. Video/multimedia equipment
Concerning the videodisc players listed here: each is capable of
so-called level III interaction, meaning that a host PC
controls it to use the videodisc in it as part of the software
that the PC is running. The connections to let it do so are:
as of March 1994
The serial connection is used to initialise and control the player,
and to obtain information from it such as status and frame number.
This means that the videodisc player is a parallel device which
inherently makes complex demands on the controlling software if it
is to be managed in a robust fashion.
RS-232C serial cable; the author regrets the precise pin connections
have not been determined;
- an phono-plug connection for the players
video output to whatever equipment will integrate its video with
the PC's CRT signal;
- and one phono-plug connection each for the
left and right audio channels, connecting to whatever equipment
(such as an external speaker or amplifier) will be used to play
It is hoped that CD-ROM drives can be substituted in the not too
distant future; however, our software requires random access
to any frame on the disc, which tends to complicate video compression
schemes. We have heard estimates that it will be 4 or 5 years
(from January 1994) before CD-ROM's have this capability, so for the
moment we are obliged to remain with videodisc players.
- Sony LDP-2000 videodisc player
- ETC recieved 2 of these with the 2 multimedia stations
that came from Fujitsu for the Spoken Japanese prototype
in 1986. However, one appears to be feeling its age and
is having great difficulty moving to frames correctly,
displaying action that might be compared to "stuttering".
Sony inform us that it is not considered consumer equipment,
and must be taken to Cypress, Calif., if it is to be repaired.
As this has not been feasible, it has been set aside, and
the Sony LDP-2000 contained in the Sony View
system has been substituted for the FM-16Beta's use.
The second LDP-2000 is now used on one of the demonstration
Both the M-Motion system on the PS/2's so equipped,
FM-16beta's, will drive the LDP-2000; however, the FM-16Beta
expects a higher baud rate, probably 9600 baud, in its serial
connection than does M-Motion (at least, when the Japanese
prototype is running, which to date is the only way it gets used).
It is therefore necessary to adjust the DIP switches on the rear
panel of the player if it is to be moved between FM-16 and PS/2.
Both sets of software have the required baudrate hard-coded
into them, so resetting by software does not address the
difference. Note: on an M-Motion-equipped
system, when changing the player on a given video input, the
MCONFIG program in the MMEDIA directory
must be used.
Managers should be aware that the Sony LDP-2000 does not seem
to be very broadly marketed in the US, although our experience
shows it to be faster and more responsive than the Pioneer
players below which are much more commonly marketed.
- Pioneer LDV 4200 videodisc player
- Pioneer LDV 4200 videodisc player
- Pioneer LDV 4400 videodisc player
These are ETC's remaining videodisc players. They are used
on the demonstration machines, and on the PS/2 model 70. Their
maximum baud rate is 4800, so the video presentation they create
is notably slower than that of the Sony LDP-2000's. They are,
however, more economical. At present, M-Motion-equipped PS/2's
are the only machines ETC has that can run them. Notable features:
- the Pioneers' connecting plug for the
RS-232 cable, on the
rear panel, is a non-standard configuration, with an unusual
number of pins, which requires
a special configuration of the standard serial cable
- when playing under PC direction, the control panel on the
front is so completely locked that the videodisc cannot
even be removed. Release by software control is necessary.
While this may be robust during the actual running of
multimedia programs, it complicates the procedure for
non-technical end users.
- Wireless (probably infrared) remote controls, and bar-code
reading controls, come with the players, as do connectors
in television aerial configurations for connection to TV
sets. These have remained unused and are on the shelves.
- Fujitsu "Superimposer"
Occupies most of the right-hand "cabinet" of the blue desk
on which the FM-16 and its Sony monitor sit. It is similar
in purpose, though quite a bit more limited in functionality,
to such multimedia live video boards as VideoLogic's DVA-4000 or
IBM's M-Motion/A. However, it is a prototype model, from roughly
1985 or 86, of which we were told only 10 were built.
It superimposes the CRT image from the
FM-16 onto the video image from the laserdisc player, with
the "black" tone of the CRT image transparent to the video.
It has some very particular cabling to the Sony Trinitron
multisynch monitor, which monitor we have discovered is
available only in Japan.
- Sony "View" system and monitor
- Originally delivered as part of the Understanding Spoken
Japanese project, as the target machine of the USJ phase
before its return to ETC.
At present it serves as the videodisc player for the Fujitsu
FM-16 and Superimposer, since it incorporates a Sony2000
player, whose driving is hardcoded into the USJ prototype
software, and is therefore the only player the lab has
which could replace the ailing Sony 2000 that originally
came with the FM-16.
Educational Technology Center,
Department of Information and Computer Science,
University of California, Irvine
Irvine CA 92717-3425