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Specs to ease CD, DVD data retrieval

An industry group releases MultiPhoto/Video 1.0, which is designed to make it easier to retrieve data on CD and DVD players from discs created on PCs.

An optical-storage standards group has taken a step forward in efforts to improve compatibility between PCs and consumer electronics devices.

The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) on Thursday released MultiPhoto/Video (MPV) 1.0, specifications that aim to make it easier to retrieve data on CD and DVD players from discs created on PCs.

The new specs expand on OSTA's MultiPlay standard, which offers a uniform way to organize and display the contents of an audio disc created by a PC's CD burner. The standard helps ensure that discs created on a PC can be played back on CD players and other home electronics devices.

The new standard creates a table of contents that makes it easier to navigate multimedia stored on discs on a variety of devices, from DVD players to car stereos. Among other tasks, the standard manages various file associations using XML (Extensible Markup Language) metadata to ensure that discs play back in the way the creator of the collection intended.

Felix Nemirovsky, chairman of OSTA's MultiRead subcommittee, said the new specifications mark a breakthrough in compatibility between PCs and other devices.

"This allows manufacturers to develop devices that understand the kind of discs consumers may make and provides a way to navigate to that content," he said.

Nemirovsky added that MVP could also come into play in displaying content delivered to devices over a wireless network, meaning the standard could be used to remove the PC as a middleman in managing and displaying data such as digital photos and video.

Pointing to the metadata features, he said that MVP in effect creates a multimedia database that goes well beyond those in competing proprietary playlist technologies.

"Just by reading the XML file, the rendering device can create a menu that can then be navigated," he said.

OSTA said the new specs support JPEG, MP3, Windows Media Audio, Windows Media Video, and MPEG 1, 2 and 4, as well as popular digital camera formats AVI and QuickTime MJPEG video. It is compatible with CDs and DVDs, memory cards, hard disks and the Internet, the group added.

Companies supporting the development of MPV include Eastman Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, Imation, LSI Logic, Royal Philips Electronics, Roxio and Samsung Electronics. The standard is being offered royalty-free, according to OSTA.

"There is a clear requirement to represent collections of compressed multimedia content on CD and DVD in a standardized manner," Eggert Gudmundsson, business development manager of Philips Optical Storage North America, said in a statement. "MPV meets this requirement with a clear and technically solid specification to enable a much improved user experience."