LAS VEGAS--At the Consumer Electronics Show today, National Semiconductor Corp. and software supplier Planetweb Inc. said they were offering the industry's first reference platform for Internet DVD players.
The iDVD player platform is based on National's Mediamatics Pantera-DVD chip and Planetweb's software, providing support for personalized entertainment content, Internet browsing, e-mail and advanced DVD features, according to the two companies. The reference design platform is intended to helping system manufacturers reduce the time it takes to develop iDVD players.
According to National and Planetweb, several Internet service providers (ISPs) are planning to introduce "subsidized" iDVD players early this year.
"With shrinking product life cycles, accelerated growth and intense competition in the DVD space, many OEMs are demanding out-of-the-box solutions," said Prem Nath, president of National's Mediamatics group in Santa Clara, Calif. "Because of the combined strengths of our software-hardware partnership, National and Planetweb can offer our customers complete solutions that allow them to differentiate their products from those of their competitors."
The appearance of Internet DVD players is expected to give DVD technology a boost in the consumer marketplace. The Consumer Electronics Association says nearly 4 million DVD players were sold in 1999. The number of units sold is expected to double in 2000, according to a forecast by market researcher In-Stat.
National and Planetweb officials said iDVD systems and new Internet capabilities will accelerate growth. "Considering that current DVD market projections don't account for Internet functionality, we believe these figures are somewhat conservative," said Jan Gullett, CEO of Planetweb, based in Mountain View, Calif. "iDVD players could account for 25% of the overall DVD market in 2000, growing to as much as 50% by 2002. And when convergence features like time shifting and recording are integrated into players, the iDVD market could really take off."