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Daily Computer News and Rumors

September 1-7 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking here. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Sep 06 Philips and Intersil to Make High-Speed DVD Recording a Reality
Sep 06 Home Phoneline Networking Alliance Selects Version 3.0 Technology
Sep 06 Broderbund Launches Highly Anticipated MovieShop Deluxe 6
Sep 06 Satellite TV Grows in Consumer Popularity, Cable Sees Slight Decline
Sep 06 AT&T Wireless Enters Final Phase of Next-Generation Rollout
Sep 05 Philips and Sony Announce Cooperation on Near Field Communication
Sep 05 Covad Announces Wholesale Service Agreement With America Online
Sep 05 SmartDisk Announces New PCI and PCMCIA Cards for High-Speed Upgrades
Sep 05 New Stores Drive Best Buy Second-Quarter Sales Increase of 20%
Sep 04 VIA Announces Microtel Design Win for Sub $200 PC
Sep 04 Verbatim DVD+R/RW Burner Ships
Sep 04 Technology Leaders Establish WiMedia Alliance
Sep 04 J. River Debuts MEDIA JUKEBOX 9.0
Sep 03 Toshiba and Microsoft Prepare to Make Tablet PC Initiative a Reality
Sep 03 Worldwide July Chip Sales up 2.9% from June
Sep 03 Price Key to Future Growth in Set Top Box Market
Sep 03 Norton SystemWorks 2003 Delivers Web Tools and Enhanced Virus Protection

Sep 02 VIA Hosts AGP 8X Validation Event with ATI and NVIDIA

Sep 02 HP Rises to Tie for No. 1 Position in Worldwide Server Revenue
Sep 02 IBM and USA Technologies Power Web-enabled Washing Machines
Sep 01 Sunday Shopping Watch


Sep 08 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Sep 06 - Philips and Intersil to Make High-Speed DVD Recording a Reality. Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG) (AEX:PHI) today announced an alliance with Intersil Corporation to jointly develop a reference design based on a Philips chip set and Intersil laser driver for DVD+RW/+R (DVD+ReWriteable/+Recordable) drives.

The reference design for both PC and standalone DVD recorders will support 4X record speeds, and has the potential to support record speeds up to 12X. With DVD recorders based on this reference design, consumers will have the ability to create 4.7 GByte video or data DVDs in fewer than 15 minutes, twice the speed of existing DVD recorders. Typical applications include producing home video and photo album DVDs, and PC data backup and archiving.

The DVD+RW reference design will be based on an Intersil laser driver IC, and Philips encoder and decoder semiconductors and firmware (software). The reference design will be offered to a broad range of DVD+RW manufacturers, including Philips. A DVD+RW/+R data drive allows consumers to store up to an equivalent of seven data CDs on a single disc.

"DVD writer shipments for the PC and consumer electronics markets are expected to grow from six million units in 2002 to 60 million in 2006," said Michelle Abraham, senior analyst for In-Stat/MDR. "We expect to see consumers adopt DVD rewritable quickly, because of their familiarity with CD-RW technology."

"Intersil Corporation is pleased to collaborate with Philips, a technology leader in optical storage, to bring high-speed DVD+RW recording to the market. We plan to continue working with Philips to achieve even higher DVD recording speeds," said Rich Beyer, president and CEO of Intersil.

Philips is located online at www.philips.com.

Sep 06 - Home Phoneline Networking Alliance Selects Version 3.0 Technology. The Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA), an organization driving the development and adoption of a single Phoneline networking standard, today announced the approval of a joint technology proposal by Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq:BRCM) and CopperGate Communication, Inc. for the HomePNA 3.0, next generation specification.
Technologies developed by the two companies have been integrated to reach an unprecedented throughput rate of 128 Mbps and to enable Quality of Service (QoS) for reliable content delivery to the end-user.

HomePNA's new third generation technology coexists with other services such as POTS, ISDN, and ADSL, and is fully backwards compatible and interoperable with HomePNA version 2.0 network components that are deployed in homes today.
Devices can simultaneously communicate at their native speed in networks containing both HomePNA 2.0 and 3.0 nodes, and QoS is not degraded in such mixed networks. Optimized for performance, HomePNA networking enables broadband entertainment, voice, data file, peripheral and Internet sharing applications throughout the home without affecting standard telephone service. The Voice-over-HomePNA protocol, which extends HomePNA 2.0 by enabling eight simultaneous high-quality voice streams within the home, will also be supported by version 3.0.

"Best-of-breed" intellectual property contributed by Broadcom and CopperGate achieves an overall superior solution meeting all of the industry's requirements and objectives," said John Marshall, president of HomePNA. Building upon proven HomePNA 2.0 technology, the joint proposal exploits the capacity of telephony wiring by delivering a rate of up to 128 Mbps, with optional extensions reaching up to 240 Mbps.
It also features a synchronous Media Access Control (MAC) protocol layer, which is essential to handle future entertainment and multimedia applications and services such as multiple HDTV, digital audio, and voice streams within the home. Numerous HomePNA member companies will offer the complete MAC/physical interface HomePNA 3.0 solution to OEMs.

Applications and Availability

Silicon solutions incorporating the HomePNA 3.0 specification are being developed to power a variety of devices including pre-configured PCs, network interface cards, residential gateways, broadband modems, printers, multimedia devices, Internet appliances, set top boxes and consumer electronics products such as TVs, DVDs, DVRs and home entertainment systems.
The HomePNA 3.0 specification is scheduled for completion by Q4 2002. Silicon products supporting adapters and bridges are expected from multiple vendors in early 2003.

HomePNA is already in its second generation, delivering up to 32Mbps of performance over the phoneline, and enabling easy-to-use, high-speed, affordable home networking solutions. For more information on HomePNA visit www.homepna.org.

Sep 06 - Broderbund Launches Highly Anticipated MovieShop Deluxe 6. Broderbund(TM), a leading publisher of home productivity and digital media software today announced the release of its new video editing software program, MovieShop(TM) Deluxe 6.

Designed for consumers, Broderbund has created a program that makes editing video as easy as 1-2-3. MovieShop Deluxe 6 delivers powerful tools and step-by-step tutorials to easily capture, edit and enhance home movies. Personalized productions can be burned to CD or DVD, saved to VHS or shared on-line. The ability to preserve and share home movies and favorite family memories such as the birth of a baby, a vacation or a wedding ceremony, makes MovieShop Deluxe 6 the ideal video editing solution.

It's a snap for beginners to get started, yet MovieShop Deluxe 6 delivers powerful and flexible tools that more advanced users will appreciate. CD/DVD authoring and burning offer the ability to create custom Video CDs and DVDs. Users can transfer their analog and digital files from camcorder to computer, then edit with powerful tools to slice, stretch and rotate video clips for the perfect combination of scenes. Edits can be easily and quickly previewed in real time -- no more waiting minutes or even hours for images to render.

"Our customers know our products and trust Broderbund to deliver high quality and innovative software. Just as The Print Shop is known for being an easy to use desktop publishing solution, users will find MovieShop Deluxe to be a user-friendly, powerful, video editing product," says Joe Roberts, president of Broderbund. "MovieShop Deluxe delivers a one-stop shop for users to edit, burn, author and share their home videos."

MovieShop(R) Deluxe 6 is now shipping to stores with a suggested retail price of $89.99.

Also shipping this week, Broderbund's flagship desktop publishing product, The Print Shop(R) Deluxe 15, includes major feature updates plus a lite version of MovieShop. This exciting new version introduces users to the basics of video editing and lets them experiment with adding transitions, effects and music to their video clips.

For more information, visit www.broderbund.com.

Sep 06 - Satellite TV Grows in Consumer Popularity, Cable Sees Slight Decline. A trend continues this year of growing consumer popularity for residential satellite TV service versus cable TV service, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Residential Cable/Satellite TV Customer Satisfaction StudySM.

About 82 percent of U.S. households have some type of cable or satellite TV service, according to a combination of U.S. government and J.D. Power and Associates data. The J.D. Power and Associates study surveys consumers who subscribe to the largest satellite or cable TV services.

"While the study shows the average expenditure for both information/entertainment services is now nearly equal, more consumers are electing to switch services to satellite TV providers," said Steve Kirkeby, senior director of telecommunications for J.D. Power and Associates.

Satellite-only subscription continues to rise, increasing from 14 percent of total households in 2001 to 16 percent in 2002. Satellite subscription in 1996 was only 5 percent. Cable-only subscription continues a slow decline from 65 percent in 2001 to 63 percent in 2002.

"In overall customer satisfaction performance, DirecTV ranks highest among the 14 major providers of cable/satellite TV services nationwide-18 index points higher than the cable TV service average," Kirkeby said. "DirecTV performs well across all the factors that comprise overall customer satisfaction. Their particular strength is in the area of customer service. While the overall industry average is declining in answering questions and solving problems the first time, DirecTV's performance in this area is actually increasing."

The six factors driving overall customer satisfaction include: cost of service; credibility/billing; program offerings; equipment and service capabilities; customer service; and reception quality.

Following DirecTV in the rankings are DISH Network, Wide Open West, Cox and RCN.

The study shows that one long-standing trend has been reversed. For the first time, customer satisfaction with satellite company technician visits to customers' homes falls below that of cable companies. In addition, the cable industry's movement toward digital subscription remains strong, growing from 27 percent in 2001 to 32 percent in 2002.

J.D. Power and Associates can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpa.com.

Sep 06 - AT&T Wireless Enters Final Phase of Next-Generation Rollout. AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) today entered the final phase of the rollout of its next-generation network throughout the United States and marked the event with an unprecedented special promotion that offers unlimited calling.

People in the hundreds of cities served by the company's next-generation wireless network - including Boston, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh, where the network went into service today - can sign up for the AT&T Wireless Charter Plan, a limited-time special promotion. For $99.99 a month, consumers can make all the domestic calls they want while on-network, with long distance included and no roaming charges.

The company said this is the first offer of its kind to place no limit on monthly wireless minutes.

"We are confident that the AT&T Wireless Charter Plan will let people experience first-hand the power and benefits of our next-generation network," said Michael Sievert, chief marketing officer of AT&T Wireless. "This on-net offer provides simplicity and value in a way no other wireless carrier has. However, we urge consumers to sign up soon. This truly is a "charter" offer to mark the inauguration of our next-generation network and supplies, as the saying goes, are limited.

"AT&T Wireless has a tradition of leading the industry with simple, affordable, and innovative services. Our new on-net charter offer builds on and extends that tradition," Sievert said.

The AT&T Wireless next-generation network is based on the GSM/GPRS global standard and is already available in hundreds of U. S. cities. In addition to providing reliable voice services, the next-generation network gives customers access, through AT&T Wireless mMode Service, to information, news, games, and, most importantly, each other. Using a tiny camera that attaches to a wireless phone, customers can even take and send photos to any e-mail address in the world.

"The power of our next-generation wireless network is that it lets people stay free yet connected in ways they never imagined. The network makes our customers' mobile lives - their mLives - better," Sievert said.

Customers who do not need unlimited calling can sign up for other promotional offers starting as low as $39.99 for 1,000 anytime minutes, the company noted.

For more information on AT&T Wireless, visit www.attwireless.com.

Sep 05 - Philips and Sony Announce Cooperation on Near Field Communication. Royal Philips Electronics (AEX: PHI, NYSE:PHG) and Sony Corporation today announced that they will jointly develop a new near field radio-frequency communication technology, `Near Field Communication' (NFC).

The technology enables short-range communication networks between consumer devices incorporating an NFC interface, and is set to greatly improve the way consumers access data and services wirelessly.

Wireless NFC technology will operate on 13.56 MHz and allow for the transfer of any kind of data between NFC enabled devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras and PDA's as well as to PC's, laptops, game consoles or PC Peripherals, across a distance of up to twenty centimeters and aiming at speeds fast enough to transfer high quality images. At communication speed up to 212 kbit/s the NFC technology is fully compliant to both Philips' existing Mifare(TM) and Sony's FeliCa(TM) contactless smartcard technologies.

The aim is to build a ubiquitous open infrastructure of NFC-compliant devices which effectively incorporate smart-key and smartcard reader functions, providing a convenient communication method for services such as payment (including credit card), ticketing, and accessing online entertainment content (e.g. gaming) through the devices. This can be done simply by holding devices or smartcards near each other. It is anticipated that the technology will play a key role in allowing content and service providers to offer various new ways of accessing their services. The consumer's primary NFC device (e.g. mobile phone or PDA) acts as a smart-key to gain access to chosen services from any NFC device, anywhere, anytime.

"This cooperation between Philips and Sony marks a breakthrough in establishing a new solution for an easy communication network between consumer electronic devices," commented Mr. Yuki Nozoe, Corporate Executive Vice President, Sony Corporation. "Together with Philips, we will study a vast range of new applications for NFC, and we look forward to welcoming other electronics and service companies in support of the technology."

Karsten Ottenberg, General Manager of Philips Semiconductors' Identification business, said: "This agreement will revolutionize the way consumers access services and see the penetration of identification chips move far beyond smart cards, with NFC becoming a standard component of new electronic devices, including those from Philips."

Sony's Home Page is www.sony.net and Philips is located at www.philips.com.

Sep 05 - Covad Announces Wholesale Service Agreement With America Online. Covad Communications (OTCBB:COVD) announced today that it has signed a five-year agreement with America Online, Inc. that provides America Online with the ability to purchase wholesale Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) consumer services throughout Covad's nationwide network.

America Online will now have access to Covad's nationwide network, which currently covers more than 40 million U.S. homes and businesses and includes service in 94 of the top Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) across the United States. As a result, the agreement will increase the number of options available to America Online in offering broadband services to its members.

"The addition of America Online as a wholesale partner enhances our distribution channel enabling us to provide services to the largest Internet service provider in the country," said Charles E. Hoffman, Covad CEO and president. "It also gives America Online the flexibility and scalability of a single, national resource for their millions of customers who want to upgrade from dial-up to a high-speed, always on broadband connection."

In addition, Covad issued warrants to America Online to purchase a total of 3.5 million shares of Covad common stock, which is equal to approximately 1.5 percent of Covad's currently outstanding common stock. America Online will have the option to purchase Covad's common stock at exercise prices ranging from $1.06 to $5.00. Covad has determined that the warrants have an aggregate estimated value of approximately $3.5 million. Covad expects to record this value as a deferred customer incentive and charge it against revenue over the term of the service agreement.

Covad can be found online at www.covad.com.

Sep 05 - SmartDisk Announces New PCI and PCMCIA Cards for High-Speed Upgrades. SmartDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SMDK) today announced availability of USB2.0, FireWire and combination PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) and PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) cards for users who want to upgrade their desktop or notebook computers to the new high-speed standards.All four cards allow powering of multiple devices and improve transfer stability.

For notebook users, SmartDisk offers a credit-card-sized, 3-port, powered, Cardbus card that slides into any PCMCIA Cardbus slot and allows the addition of FireWire technology to both PC and Mac notebooks. The FireWire PCMCIA card enables the use of existing and upcoming FireWire devices including external hard drives, digital cameras, and DV camcorders.

SmartDisk also offers a variety of PCI cards with cutting edge technology that allows users to integrate the latest in digital technology while preparing a system for future connectivity devices. SmartDisk's USB 2.0/FireWire Combo PCI Card features 3 external and 1 internal Type A USB ports, and 2 external and 1 internal 6-pin FireWire ports. The USB 2.0 PCI Card features 4 external and 1 internal Type A USB ports. SmartDisk's FireWire PCI Card features 3 external 6-pin FireWire ports.

The FireWire Cardbus card will be available at the end of September for $69.99. The PCI cards, shipping now, are priced as follows: USB 2.0 PCI Card, $39.99; FireWire PCI card, $39.99; and USB2.0/FireWire combination PCI Card, $89.99. The cards are available through retailers and distributors, as well as through the company's Web site at www.smartdisk.com.

Sep 05 - New Stores Drive Best Buy Second-Quarter Sales Increase of 20%. Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) today reported total sales of $5.00 billion for the Company's fiscal 2003 second quarter ended Aug. 31, 2002, an increase of 20 percent over the second quarter of fiscal 2002.
The increase was due to the addition of 76 Best Buy stores in the past 12 months as well as the inclusion of sales from Future Shop stores, which were acquired in November 2001. Sales also benefited from a comparable store sales gain, fueled by the expanding digital product cycle and increased online sales.

The Company's second-quarter comparable store sales rose 2.0 percent, which was in line with the Company's guidance of a modest gain. Comparable store sales at Best Buy stores increased 2.7 percent during the fiscal second quarter, on top of an increase of 2.8 percent in the second quarter of fiscal 2002.
The increase reflected a mid-single-digit comparable store sales increase in June, followed by modest gains in July and August, tied to moderating store traffic.
At Musicland stores - which includes Media Play, Sam Goody and Suncoast stores - comparable store sales decreased 3.4 percent in the quarter. Canada-based Future Shop stores posted comparable store sales gains of 6.9 percent. Magnolia Hi-Fi comparable store sales declined by the low single digits.

"Comparable store sales during August were fairly steady, as were traffic levels in our stores," said Brad Anderson, vice chairman and CEO of Best Buy.
Best Buy is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter earnings on Tuesday, Sept. 17. For more information visit www.bestbuy.com.

Sep 04 - VIA Announces Microtel Design Win for Sub $200 PC. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced that the VIA C3(TM) processor will power the new Microtel SYSMAR710, SYSMAR715, SYSMAR150 and SYSMAR151 PC systems available from Walmart.com.

The combination of the low power VIA C3(TM) processor and 128MB SDRAM on a VIA Apollo PLE133 Chipset based motherboard with integrated 2D/3D graphics provides consumers with all the performance they need to enjoy everyday computing and connectivity applications including E-mail, web browsing, CD/mp3 playback, productivity applications and games, at system prices never seen before.
The Microtel SYSMAR710 $199 PC will be equipped with the new LindowsOS, while the SYSMAR150 $299 PC will feature the Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home edition.

Offering full PC functionality at consumer electronics price points, the Microtel systems look set to redefine the desktop PC market, initially targeting the back-to-school, small office and home computer segments through the hugely popular Internet shopping channel, www.Walmart.com.

"VIA is delighted to provide the computing power inside these revolutionary new systems," said Richard Brown, Director of Marketing at VIA Technologies, Inc. "Incorporating the cool processing VIA C3 and the VIA Apollo PLE133 integrated graphics chipset, Microtel has built an exciting system that is sure to prove a real hit with customers at Walmart.com."

"VIA is a company that delivers high quality technology solutions, providing satisfaction and affordability to our customers," said Rich Hindman, vice president of Microtel. "The Microtel LindowsOS SYSMAR710 system is a new benchmark in performance and usability for mainstream PC buyers."

Visit www.buymicrotel.com and www.via.com.tw for more information.

Sep 04 - Verbatim DVD+R/RW Burner Ships. Verbatim Corporation and Peripherals Group, Inc., the exclusive licensor of Verbatim(R) optical hardware products and subsidiary of CenDyne, Inc., today together announced the Verbatim "Producer" DVD+R/RW internal drive, the next generation in storage technology for businesses and consumers.
The new Verbatim Producer drive is based on DVD+ R/RW storage technology, which provides a solid bridge between consumer electronics and personal computing devices and can write in the most popular formats today: DVD+RW, DVD+R, CD-RW and CD-R.

The new high speed Producer DVD+R/RW burner is the perfect all-in-one device for quickly and easily storing digital photos, video presentations and large data files onto DVD+RW and DVD+R media. The new Verbatim Producer drive can also burn CD-RW and CD-R media for burning smaller amounts of data, such as MP3 files. Additionally, DVD+R and DVD+RW discs written on a DVD+RW burner can be read and played on DVD-video players and DVD-ROM drives.

The Producer comes with a blank DVD+RW disc, which is capable of holding up to 4.7GB of data, making it more cost-effective than many other forms of storage. The drive employs industry-fast speeds for writing and rewriting DVDs at 2.4x rating of 3.24MB/second; and also reads DVDs at a fast 8x rating of 10.8MB/second.

The Verbatim DVD+R/RW drive is available now at an average retail price of $349 at leading computer and consumer electronics retailers. Visit the company's web site at www.verbatim.com.

Sep 04 - Technology Leaders Establish WiMedia Alliance. Nine leading technology companies today announced that they have formed the WiMedia Alliance. The Alliance, a not-for-profit open industry forum, was formed to develop and adopt standards-based specifications for connecting personal area, wireless multimedia devices. The founding member companies include international leaders in the wireless networking, consumer electronic, and semiconductor industries.

The WiMedia Alliance will establish a certification program to accelerate widespread consumer adoption of "wire-free" imaging and multimedia solutions. Initial Alliance activity will be based on the high data-rate IEEE 802.15.3 draft standard with amendments and enhancements planned for future wireless systems such as ultra-wideband (UWB). The WiMedia brand mark will certify the interoperability of multimedia devices that use personal area wireless technologies. The brand will also let consumers know which personal devices are WiMedia-compatible and interoperable in a consumer-electronics-based networked environment. The Alliance will manage the WiMedia brand and license its use to organizations whose products pass certification tests.

"The rationale behind WiMedia solutions makes tremendous sense as OEMs are increasingly looking to complement their wired networking interfaces with wireless solutions that provide high-bandwidth connectivity in a variety of digital devices," said Navin Sabharwal, Director of Residential and Networking Technologies at research think-tank Allied Business Intelligence (ABI). "WiMedia provides them with a wireless technology optimized for their rapid data transfer and multimedia distribution needs in uses ranging from portable products, such as digital cameras and MP3 players, to line-powered devices, such as HDTV, digital set-top boxes, and game consoles. The WiMedia Alliance will play a pivotal role in making this vision a reality through its efforts to accelerate industry adoption and ensure vendor interoperability."

High-speed, low-power WiMedia-compliant solutions will enable a new generation of untethered, interoperable consumer appliance, imaging, and multimedia devices, ultimately bringing greater benefits to the end-user. They will also provide an easy-to-use consumer experience whether at home, office, or at a retail kiosk.

"WiMedia creates a personal area wireless capability not addressed by any current standard," said John Barr, Director of Standards Realization for Motorola and acting president of the WiMedia Alliance. "Our activity targets high data-rate multimedia connectivity with low-power needs, and therefore enables a broad range of applications in the consumer appliance, imaging, and multimedia markets. The brands supporting WiMedia indicate the potential for our work and ultimate acceptance of the solutions."

The WiMedia Alliance's founding member companies are Appairent Technologies, Inc.; Eastman Kodak Company; HP; Motorola, Inc.; Royal Philips Electronics; Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.; Sharp Laboratories of America, Inc.; Time Domain Corporation; and XtremeSpectrum, Inc. As an open organization, the WiMedia Alliance offers several levels of paid annual membership and is open to all companies and organizations, which agree to abide by the WiMedia bylaws and policies.

For more information on the WiMedia Alliance, visit the WiMedia website at www.wimedia.org.

Sep 04 - J. River Debuts MEDIA JUKEBOX 9.0. While the Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) marketing machine has been building up the buzz for a beta release of Windows Media Player 9, a competitor, J. River, has been diligently developing its own award-winning MEDIA JUKEBOX(TM) media management software into a superior alternative that will debut at the same time.

MEDIA JUKEBOX 9.0, available now in a preview release, exceeds the capabilities of WMP with playback of Real and QuickTime formats, open formats like OGG and MPC, image playback, and support for a wide range of entertainment hardware devices. MEDIA JUKEBOX can also serve as a media center for a home theater system.

"We've built a powerful database management and playback tool that can handle all popular media, including music, TV, DVD, and now -something that no other jukebox software does - support for image, photo and video organization," said Jim Hillegass, J. River's CEO.
"MJ's unique combination of features and flexibility make it the ideal hub for home entertainment systems. While Microsoft's WMP 9 relies on the new XP Media Center Edition for full functionality, MEDIA JUKEBOX is a stand-alone solution that works across all MS OS's and a wide variety of hardware."

For the last year J. River has worked closely with the community of audiophiles and forward-thinking audio/visual technology buffs to push the envelope on their home theater systems by combining them with PC's for DVD playback on big screens, and often controlled by remote devices, such as Web tablets, Prontos, and PDA's.

MEDIA JUKEBOX has found a niche among users who are pushing their PC's as the center of their entertainment world. It pioneered the playback of audio files from networked PC's in the home. J. River uses a lively interactive forum for support, for beta testing, and has built a community of users interested in integrating their stereos and TV's with their personal computers.

"We are significantly ahead of Microsoft in the integration of PC's with home theater hardware. We already support the popular TV tuner cards, and we're pushing on into TiVo-like recording of programs. We believe hard drive capacity growth will allow users to manage their recorded programs in the same way that they now manage MP3 files." says CTO, Nikolay Sokratov.

MEDIA JUKEBOX is now the #1 rated jukebox software at both CNET's download.com and at MP3.com. The 9.0 preview version is available at www.mediajukebox.com/interact.

Sep 03 - Toshiba and Microsoft Prepare to Make Tablet PC Initiative a Reality. Toshiba's Computer Systems Group (CSG) today announced the receipt of Microsoft(R)'s Windows(R) XP Tablet PC Edition Software.
Over the next two months, Toshiba will be working diligently to integrate the unique software and other Toshiba enhanced utilities into its future hardware design. Toshiba's Tablet PC will be part of the company's award-winning Portege(R) family of computers, and enable mobile customers to experience their PC in new and exciting ways.
Together, Toshiba and Microsoft will bring enhanced functionality and capabilities to today's notebook PC including digital ink.
"The Tablet PC represents the future of mobile computing Toshiba is excited to be working with Microsoft to bring customers pioneering technologies and products," said Oscar Koenders, vice president product marketing and worldwide product planning, Toshiba CSG.
"We believe digital ink is a breakthrough technology that will improve information workers' productivity and this event brings us that much closer to delivering on that belief."
Toshiba's Portege Tablet PC will be available this Fall via retail channels including computer superstores, mail order, shoptoshiba.com and traditional distribution. It will provide all the computing power of a mobile computer and marry the simplicity of pen and paper. For the Portege Tablet PC, Toshiba is targeting mobile professionals that rely on notebook PCs as a critical business tool.
"The Tablet PC team has been working closely with Toshiba and respect their expertise in delivering innovative mobile computing devices," said Alexandra Loeb, vice president of the Tablet PC division at Microsoft. "The Tablet PC offers customers the opportunity to use their PCs in ways they never imagined."

For more information visit the company's Web site at www.csd.toshiba.com.

Sep 03 - Worldwide July Chip Sales up 2.9% from June. Global chip sales reached $11.7 billion in July, a 2.9% increase over the June level of $11.4 billion, the SIA announced today. On a year-to-year basis, chip sales in July were up 8% from the $10.8 billion in revenue recorded in July 2001, the first year-over-year increase registered since February 2001.

"The July data, and the year-on-year increase, confirm that a moderate but sustainable recovery continues, putting us on track for 7-9% sequential growth in the third quarter," said SIA President George Scalise. "Growth continues to be most robust in the digital consumer market, including DVDs, video games and digital cameras, as reflected in increased demand for standard cells, consumer ASP's, optoelectronics and flash memory chips in the month."

Wireless communications also recorded an increase, spurred by brisk growth of handsets in Asia and consumers embrace of 2.5G technology. Wired communications, which include routers and networking equipment, are growing as inventory run-downs draw to a close and manufacturers are now relying on new shipments to sustain consumption. Although the PC sector grew modestly, it continues to lag historical trends, reflecting subdued IT investment levels. As inventories and supply and demand come into balance, the pricing environment has stabilized.

On a regional basis, Japan, once again the fastest-growing market due to higher demand for digital consumer products, recorded an 8.5% increase in chip sales in July. The Asia Pacific market registered 2.3% growth, as the strength of consumer electronics and demand for wireless handsets outweighed continuing weakness in the PC sector. Chip sales in the Americas and Europe were essentially flat, reflecting weak PC demand in both markets, and continued outsourcing to the Asia Pacific region.

For the year as a whole, worldwide chip sales are expected to exceed 2001 levels by 3%. The industry continues to forecast accelerated growth rates exceeding 20% in both 2003 and 2004, led by rapidly increasing demand for digital consumer and wireless products, as the consumer and communications revolution continues to unfold.

More information about the SIA can be found at www.sia-online.org.

Sep 03 - Price Key to Future Growth in Set Top Box Market. As telecommunications providers move beyond traditional voice and data service to video, the deployment of IP and DSL Set Top Boxes (STBs) will continue to increase, according to In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com).

However, the high-tech market research firm reports, that in order for the market to move beyond its current size (only 51,000 units in 2001), boxes will have to reach an average selling price below $200.

In the meantime, deployments such as rural ILECs in North America, FastWeb in Italy, TransACT in Australia, Chunghwa in Taiwan, and Scandinavian utilities are expected to consume tens of thousands of set top boxes in 2002 and 2003.

"In most cases the service provider buys the box and leases it to the subscriber, so there is a lot of pressure from service providers on box vendors to reduce prices," said Michelle Abraham, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

"With the average bill of materials on a single stream DSL box at $164 in 2002, $200 is still a long way away. Volumes are not high, so economies of scale in manufacturing are not there, and vendors still need to recover the research and development expenses from the boxes' design.

"Since the box is comprised of components that are all being manufactured in volume we do not expect large reductions in the bill of material in the future. The necessary decline in price will have to come from the aforementioned economies of scale."

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- In Europe, FastWeb in Italy and HanseNet in Germany are marching forward, wiring homes in major Italian cities and Hamburg, Germany. They were installing several thousand boxes per month at the beginning of 2002, and installations continue to climb. By 2004, Europe will consume the largest share of the market.

-- In 2003, more rural ILECs and a few Canadian telcos (Bell Canada, SaskTel, and Manitoba Telecom) will be consuming boxes in North America. The U.S. RBOCs will not have much impact on this market until 2005. Reductions in capital expenditure budgets are the greatest roadblock to RBOC video deployment at present.

-- In Asia, in 2003, service providers in Korea and Japan are expected to add to box demand from TransACT and Chunghwa. The number of service providers, and the size of deployments, will keep growing and in 2004 that region will surpass the Americas in demand for DSL/IP set tops.

Sep 03 - Norton SystemWorks 2003 Delivers Web Tools and Enhanced Virus Protection. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced Norton SystemWorks 2003, the new best-of-breed problem-solving suite that offers a comprehensive, integrated solution to help keep PCs running at optimal performance levels.

Available for purchase in late-September, Norton SystemWorks 2003 now features new Web optimization tools and improved antivirus protection. The award-winning suite's new Web Tools feature helps users get the most out of their online activities by integrating tools that maximize hard drive space and maintain dial-up connections while online. Norton SystemWorks 2003 also includes enhanced antivirus protection through Norton AntiVirus 2003, which offers new, state-of-the-art Instant Message scanning, worm blocking, and automatic removal of Trojans and worms.

"Symantec understands that a personal computer represents a significant investment for many consumers. Norton SystemWorks 2003 can help ensure the longevity of that investment with award-winning maintenance, optimization, and disaster recovery solutions in one, easy-to-use package," said Steve Cullen, senior vice president of Consumer and Client Product Delivery at Symantec. "We have also added new features to address the growing demand for simple, unobtrusive tools that help make using the Internet a productive, efficient and trouble-free experience."

Key features in Norton SystemWorks 2003 include:

-- Norton AntiVirus 2003, the newest version of the world's most trusted antivirus solution for home computer users.
-- Norton Utilities and Norton CleanSweep, providing integrated, comprehensive PC maintenance, problem-solving, system optimization and file removal capabilities.
-- Web Tools, a new feature offering easy-to-use tools for removing Internet clutter, managing wanted and unwanted cookies, and keeping dial-up connections alive while online.
-- One Button Checkup, with new customized scanning options, allowing users to perform the system scans they want with the click of a button. Users can also now easily accept or undo any or all of the changes made to their system by One Button Checkup.
-- GoBack 3 Personal Edition, an advanced system recovery tool that allows users to easily restore healthy system configurations and lost or damaged data.

Symantec also offers Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition, designed especially for small business and advanced users. This edition includes all of the features in Norton SystemWorks, and adds three additional tools - Norton Ghost 2003, Process Viewer and new PerformanceTest.

Pricing and Availability

Norton SystemWorks 2003 and Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition are available now for pre-order at www.SymantecStore.com at an estimated retail price of $69.95 and $99.95, respectively. Current users of Symantec products and select competitive products can take advantage of a $30 mail-in rebate when they upgrade to Norton SystemWorks 2003 or Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional Edition.

Sep 02 - VIA Hosts AGP 8X Validation Event with ATI and NVIDIA. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, announced that it hosted a Plugfest event to validate the AGP 8X performance of VIA Apollo P4X400 and KT400 chipset based motherboards.

VIA was joined by Microsoft and leading graphics vendors ATI and NVIDIA in highlighting the importance of AGP 8X to the industry. Extensive validation was performed on premium performance Socket 478 and Socket A motherboards available from a broad spectrum of manufacturers, including Abit, Albatron, Acorp, Aopen, Azza, Biostar, Chaintech, DFI, ECS, EpoX, Giga-Byte, Iwill, Jetway, Micro-Star, Shuttle, Soltek, Soyo and Tyan.

Delivering 2.1GB/s of bandwidth to the graphics engine, the new AGP 8X standard enables improved image quality and 3D performance in the highest resolution conditions, and looks set to be widely adopted by the industry. Underlining VIA's commitment to open industry standards and technical compatibility, the AGP 8X Plugfest will bring together key players to validate the latest hardware supporting this new feature.

"VIA remains committed to driving technical innovation, and working with our industry partners to facilitate - not impose - wide and rapid market adoption of beneficial new applications such as AGP8X," commented Richard Brown, Director of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "AGP 8X support enables end-users to realize unequalled image quality and performance, so this event is vital to ensure greater product compatibility, and we are delighted that key players are joining us to achieve this goal."

"VIA's Apollo P4X400 and KT400 performance chipsets both support the next generation graphics capability of AGP 8X, and OEMs and system integrators are keen to incorporate this powerful combination into their top of the range systems," said Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing at VIA Technologies, Inc. "The AGP 8X Plugfest is aimed at the harmonization of standards within the industry, so facilitating a more rapid uptake of this high performance feature."

Additional information about VIA can be found at www.via.com.tw.

Sep 02 - HP Rises to Tie for No. 1 Position in Worldwide Server Revenue. HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced that it has tied for the No. 1 position in worldwide server revenue with 27.8 percent of the market for the second quarter of calendar year 2002 according to figures released today by market research firm IDC. HP also maintained its strong No.1 position in unit shipments with 30.8 percent of total server unit shipments.

In addition to its total market share leadership, in the standard Intel(R) architecture server space, its HP ProLiant servers gained more share than any other vendor in the United States and moved HP into a tie for the No. 1 position. HP also continued its five-year track record of leadership in the mid-range UNIX(R) server market. HP claimed a strong 42.0 percent share of mid-range UNIX server revenues, which represents a 9-point gain year over year.

HP also maintained its long-standing No. 1 position in the rapidly growing Linux server market across all server platforms with 28.1 percent unit (30.2 percent revenue) market share. In the high-volume worldwide market for industry standard servers running Windows(R), HP holds a commanding No. 1 position with 33.2 percent of the market, an almost 11 percentage point market share lead over its nearest competitor.

"The new HP is tracking well in this challenging economy and we're moving quickly and aggressively to maintain and grow our leadership position," said Janice Chaffin, vice president of enterprise marketing and solutions, HP Enterprise Systems Group. "We continue to refresh and enhance our product portfolio to offer customers even more choice and value for their IT dollars. Don't blink, we're moving fast."

In emerging technology, HP was No. 1 in blade servers with 54.8 percent unit market share. In the 64-bit Itanium market, HP also holds a strong No. 1 position with 58.3 percent of the market in units.

More information about HP is available at www.hp.com.

Sep 02 - IBM and USA Technologies Power Web-enabled Washing Machines. IBM and USA Technologies (NASDAQ: USTT) today announced that they will Web-enable 9,000 washing machines and dryers at U.S. colleges and universities, eliminating much of the hassle associated with laundry day at the dorm.

Called e-Suds, the systems replace traditional coin-operated technology with a new method that allows students to pay with the swipe of an ID card or the push of a few buttons on a cell phone.

American Sales (ASI), Inc will provide the e-Suds-enabled machines to colleges in the U.S.

Far more sophisticated than traditional coin-operated laundromats, the machines will be linked to an intelligent back-end systems hosted by IBM. Using the system, students will be able to visit a Website to find out when a machine will be available. They'll be able to select various functions, such as the dispensing of soap and fabric softener -- choosing from a range of products in storage bins attached to each machine. When the wash is done, they'll be notified via an email sent to their pagers or PCs.

Laundromat owners will go online to monitor machine performance and conduct proactive maintenance, as well as check filter clogs, water temperature and usage patterns -- helping to reduce the need for on-site service calls.

IBM will host the e-Suds transaction data and Web sites and integrate the washing machines and dryers with customers' back-end systems that handle inventory, payment authorization and reports. USA Technology will provide the technology, which makes transactions of less than a dollar cost effective for vendors.

Visit the companies online at www.usatech.com and www.ibm.com.

Sep 01 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - Almost all desktops and notebooks were good buys in the categories we follow, with the exception of high-end notebooks, which were significantly higher than last week's prices. (See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.)

Weekly Comparison. System prices were a little lower than last week.

Notebooks - Notebook prices were lower for low-end notebooks, however, high-end notebooks went up $300 or more compared to last week.
Desktops - Pentium 4 and Athlon XP desktop prices were lower Celeron prices were about the same as last week.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase and 12 month no interest financing on all notebooks.
Additionally, they are giving $200 mail-in rebates on all Pentium 4 desktop packages, $100 mail-in rebates on all Celeron desktop packages, and $100 mail-in rebates on all notebooks.
Circuit City is now giving away 3 months of free AOL (instead of a free year of CompuServe) on any in-store computer purchase. In addition they are giving $100 off all desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot has 6 month no interest, no payment financing for purchases over $298.
CompUSA is offering 6 month no interest, no payment financing on any HP product costing $249 or more. They are also offering mail-in rebates of $150 on Pentium 4 or Athlon XP desktops, $200 on Athlon XP notebooks, $150 on Celeron notebooks, and $100 on Toshiba Pentium 4 notebooks.
Staples is offering $200 off any computer purchase with 2 year MSN contract.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron/Duron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron/Duron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

Note on the "Loaded Celeron" Intel Celerons at speeds of 1.7 GHz or faster are potentially upgradeable to Pentium 4 processors. Slower Celerons are not socket compatible with the Pentium 4.
These faster Celeron systems are more like a low end Pentium 4 system as they often include: 400 MHz bus speed, DDR RAM, CD-RW or DVD drives, and flat screen monitors.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 10 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Ad Deals this Sunday
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
1. Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
Best Buy
2. Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 1.4 GHz complete system
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 2.0 GHz complete system
Best Buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.26 GHz complete system (build-to-order)
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1800+ complete system
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2000+ complete system
Circuit City
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.5 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
Best Buy
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP 1400+ with DVD/CD-RW (build-to-order)
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 1.7 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Sony DVD+R/+RW
$349 (after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 80 GB 7200 RPM hard drive
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Radeon 8500 128MB DDR Video Card
$129 (after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Memorex 48X CD-RW
(after rebates)
Best Buy


InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime


Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.



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