E.T.C. Video/multimedia equipment
as of March 1994

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: 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.

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 stations.
Both the M-Motion system on the PS/2's so equipped, and the 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:
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