Questions & Answers

What is Parallax Graphics' product strategy?

Parallax Graphics builds powerful, flexible video cards and software for high quality video on the desktop. Since many applications depend on networks to support communication across local and wide areas, Parallax Graphics products are crafted to take advantage of current and evolving network technologies. In addition, optional on-board processing for motion-JPEG compression enables efficient network and CPU use for networked video and video capture/playback, and offers compact storage of compressed video.

Parallax Graphics relies on partners to bring end-user applications to market. This strategy allows Parallax Graphics to focus on creating the foundations of successful applications: excellent, innovative hardware and comprehensive software tools. Parallax software partners, the PowerPartners, use these building blocks to create varied solutions that dramatically increase the ways that video is being used today.

What does "high quality video" mean to Parallax Graphics?

Parallax Graphics considers three attributes critical to high quality video: excellent image resolution, fast frame rates, and lifelike color. To quantify these characteristics, we refer to 640 x 480 pixel resolution images (for NTSC, or 768 x 576 pixels for PAL and SECAM), full 60 fields=30 frames per second motion (for NTSC, or 50 fields=25 frames for PAL and SECAM), and 24-bit true-color (16.8 million colors in the palette). We have found that a generation "raised on television" expects this level of quality for serious use.

What are the distinguishing capabilities of Parallax Graphics products?

Parallax Graphics has two distinct market advantages:

Does Parallax Graphics support interoperability between systems?

Yes. Products built with our Video Development Environment are interoperable across Parallax Graphics-equipped systems.

Parallax Graphics video works independently of network type and can run across ethernet, ATM, T1, FDDI, ISDN, etc.

Parallax Graphics also supports interoperability back and forth between analog and digital video. With our analog video input and output, you can connect a TV-cable or video camera input to your workstation, and send video out from your workstation to a VCR, to a standard video projector, or to a H.320 "Room-based" videoconferencing CODEC.

Why is hardware compression/decompression important?

Hardware-based compression and decompression keep the computer's CPU free to run other tasks, such as shared applications, trading programs, and analyses. If compression and decompression are handled in software, the processor is monopolized, and other work is interrupted and slowed down.

Why has Parallax Graphics chosen motion-JPEG compression?

Motion JPEG (Joint Photographers' Experts Group) offers compact compression (up to 100:1) with versatility for video users. With its frame integrity, JPEG is useful for video editing. At low compression ratios, JPEG is also relatively "lossless", allowing it to be used in quality- and information-conscious markets like security, health care, and finance. With its symmetrical encoding and decoding of data, JPEG is also excellent for real-time interactive applications like video conferencing and desktop collaboration.

Does Parallax support other standards in addition to 4:2:2 M-JPEG?

Customers interested in using other compression standards can capture and edit content in 4:2:2 M-JPEG for optimal quality, then translate in software to MPEG (Motion Pictures Experts Group) or H.261 using third-party tools. Parallax Graphics publishes its JPEG file format for easy integration and to contribute to the development of standards.

Parallax software partners have built applications that convert Parallax high-quality 4:2:2 motion-JPEG movies to other standard formats such as AVI, QuickTime, and 4:1:1 M-JPEG (MAEstro Software), MPEG-1 (North Valley Research), and that connect high-quality Parallax LAN videoconferences to standard lower-quality H.320 WAN videoconferences (Paradise Software).

What products does Parallax Graphics offer?

Parallax Graphics builds video cards and software for workstations from Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. These video products have a range of features configured for different uses, and customers can mix and match between products for maximum flexibility.

Software Products:

Hardware Products:

SBus and PCI Bus products for Sun Microsystems workstations:

EISA Bus products for Hewlett-Packard workstations:

What is Parallax Graphics' future product direction?

Enhanced features, networking, and interoperability between platforms are key to Parallax Graphics' product expansion plans. Parallax Graphics is developing products for new, high-performance architectures and systems to complement the Sun and Hewlett-Packard workstations that Parallax Graphics currently serves. Feature sets will continue to be tuned to suit specific market opportunities. Platforms under development include other Unix workstations, as well as systems supporting the PCI bus, including Windows NT. Pricing and availability will be announced in 1998.

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