Sonic Solutions Ships DVD-Authoring System

DVD-Audio may have gotten a boost on the production end with the impending release of DVD-Audio Creator LE, an authoring system developed and marketed by Sonic Solutions. Available October 15, the authoring system will sell for $5999, a price that could enable many small recording studios and mastering houses to begin working with the format. "DVD-Audio Creator LE puts powerful tools in the hands of professional mastering studios at a very low cost," said Dietrick Hardwick, DVD-Audio product manager at Sonic Solutions. "This enables facilities to significantly expand their service offerings by providing their clients DVD-Audio title creation at an affordable price."

Based on "core technology" from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., DVD-Audio Creator LE will enable audio mastering studios or DVD-Video authoring facilities to expand their business by adding authoring and mastering for the advanced, high-resolution DVD-A format. Sonic's announcement was made September 13 at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

"DVD-Audio Creator LE includes the ability to author all nine DVD-Audio title groups with 99 tracks per group, sequential and browsable slideshows, CPPM copy protection, and menus for accessing either High-Density Audio in Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) or LPCM formats, DTS or Dolby Digital audiostreams, and MPEG-2 motion video. Running on Windows 2000, DVD-Audio Creator LE can be used in conjunction with Scenarist, DVD-Creator, or DVD Fusion to provide the ultimate DVD-Authoring suite. Sonic provides a complete upgrade path from DVD-Audio Creator LE to the full version of DVD-Audio Creator," the announcement explained.

Novato, California–based Sonic Solutions has long been at the forefront of DVD authoring systems, having originated more development tools for the format than any competitor. These include Scenarist, DVD Creator, DVD Fusion, DVD Producer, MyDVD, and DVDit!. Sonic claims that more DVDs are created using its technology than with "all competing systems combined."

Sonic Solutions worked closely with Matsushita to develop its suite of DVD-Audio authoring and formatting applications; DVD-Audio Creator LE was more than four years in development. Combined with other Sonic Solutions DVD tools, the new authoring system is "uniquely equipped to format titles in the industry-standard 'Universal' DVD format, enabling content holders to publish discs that are 'backwards-compatible' with the millions of DVD-Video players already installed around the world," said the announcement.

"We have been waiting for an attractively priced solution to enable us to begin mastering DVD-Audio titles, but up to now the authoring systems were too expensive or didn't offer the features our customers really wanted," said Reiner Oppelland, managing director of Bauer Studios GmbH, Germany. "Sonic DVD-Audio Creator LE provides us with an exceptional range of capabilities . . . to provide our customers with the professional DVD-Audio mastering services they demand."

[It should be noted that a much-lower-cost DVD-Audio authoring package is available from Minnetonka Audio Software, though the most basic $495 version of Discwelder has much less functionality than the Sonic Solutions package.—Ed.]