Eidos Plc appears to have a bright future ahead of it with a range of software based on its video compression and decompression technology. The Hampton Court, Surrey company is promising a prototype of its Software Videophone Codec that will run over the standard public switched telephone network by mid-August, by which time it will […]
Eidos Plc appears to have a bright future ahead of it with a range of software based on its video compression and decompression technology. The Hampton Court, Surrey company is promising a prototype of its Software Videophone Codec that will run over the standard public switched telephone network by mid-August, by which time it will be available to original equipment manufacturers as well. This will open up a potentially enormous market for the product, which was previously usable only over ISDN lines, the company claims. The software will enable anybody on a local area network or with a modem to send video mail to users with similar software, and will cost around $35 in quantities of one million. Sales and marketing director Colin Wilkinson said that the company is talking to the top 25 personal computer manufacturers, as well as makers of digital cameras and video cameras. Fitted with the software, these cameras could then double as cheap alternatives to British Telecommunications Plc’s ISDN videophone, which starts at some ú2,500. Wilkinson said the software, running on a 66MHz 80486 machine with a 28.8Kbps modem could produce video as good as a hardware implementation over an ISDN line. Eidos claims to double its compression rates about every three months, and Wilkinson said that upgrades could be easily delivered on-line, bringing it in regular revenues.
He enthuses that the company fully expects to be completely inundated come August. Despite turnover jumping 94% to ú254,225, losses for the year to December at Eidos were ú107,623, up from ú76,928 last time. The CD-ROM Games Codec is already being used by Domark Software Ltd in its Tank Commander release, and is due to be incorporated into other games in the near future. The software enables developers to include high quality video into CD-ROMs without the need for additional hardware. Wilkinson pointed to the extremely low percentage of computers with MPEG video compression boards, and claimed that the software would give comparable quality for a fraction of the price. The Codec is also marketed at the high-end machines with television-quality pictures. E idos said that it had improved the image quality and data rates for its Network Publishing Codec during the year, which enables visual information to be shared over ISDN lines. It is currently on trial with On Demand Information Plc, which Wilkinson said would give the firm near real-time video-on-demand. It is due to be launched within a few weeks. Version 4.0 of the Optima non-linear editing system is due to complete testing by the middle of this month, and discussions are underway with a number of distribution companies. The main improvement in this release is the enhancement of video quality from a quarter that of VHS with 256 colours to VHS resolution with 65,000 colours. The system enables video to be edited off-line on a computer and then downloaded to either CD-ROM or videotape. Eidos has very low overheads, with just 18 staff, but a large proportion of turnover goes on reearch and development. The share premium account was boosted by ú497,408 net of expenses after a rights issue in July 1994. The share price currently stands at 345 pence, having fluctuated between 180 and 430 pence per share during the year. Eidos will pay no dividend.