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Framethrower Press Release
Contact: Susan Zellmann-Rohrer; Symbolics, Inc.; (617) 221-1021
Sterling Hager; Sterling Hager, Inc.; (617) 259-1400
Symbolics' FrameThrower family of high-definition videographics processors and interface modules
provides high- performance, real-time color graphics and video capabilities for VMEbus-based workstations
and computers including the Company's 40-bit XL Series workstations. FrameThrower is the first product
that supports both high resolution video and graphics, eliminating the barrier between these two worlds.
It enables users to develop and deliver real-time color applications that require both high resolution
graphics and video, such as medical imaging, photo reconnaissance, simulation and scientific visualization.
The FrameThrower architecture supports one or more powerful videographics processors and a choice of
several optional video interface modules to provide a cost-effective, customizable system that is readily
expandable. The videographics processors provide standard frame buffer capabilities, including flexible
addressable image memory, universal genlock across all resolutions, and support for high-speed graphic
manipulation operations, such as BITBLT and boolean, vector, and scalar operations on large pixel arrays.
The optional video interface modules allow users to customize their workstation to support the video
peripherals in their environment.
FrameThrower is designed to be completely configured in software. This improves system flexibility and
eliminates the need for hardware components to support a variety of monitors. As a result, the FrameThrower
is uniquely able to display images across the entire range of video resolutions, including all popular broadcast,
computer and proposed HDTV formats, with a single board.
FT100, the first product of the FrameThrower family, is a single videographics processor with optional
analog or digital I/O interface modules packaged as a single 9U VMEbus board. The FT100 includes eleven
Symbolics- designed application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs, which accelerate special-purpose
graphic operations. FrameThrower products plug into a workstation's backplane, allowing the workstation
direct high-speed access to FrameThrower image memory. This memory is software configurable as either one
large 8-bit array for pseudocolor applications or as a 2 million pixel, 32-bit array for full color applications
and those requiring overlay planes.
FrameThrower is a trademark of Symbolics, Inc.
Contact: Susan Zellmann-Rohrer; Symbolics, Inc.; (617) 221-1000
Sterling Hager; Sterling Hager, Inc. ; (617) 259-1400
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
--First High-Definition Videographics Processor And Workstation Unveiled
--Programmable Architecture Ensures Ongoing 'Multi-Standard' Adaptability
TWO INDUSTRY-FIRST, HIGH-DEFINITION PRODUCT BREAKTHROUGHS FROM SYMBOLICS ACCELERATE THE
PACE AND DIMINISH THE RISK OF HDTV DEVELOPMENT
-- Emerging Product Family Seen as Potentially Vital OEM Development Tool
-- New Solution Bridges Computer and High-Definition Video Technology Gap
BURLINGTON, Mass., March 20 -- Symbolics, Inc., today made two major product announcements that
could cut years from new product development cycles for scores of international firms banking on the future
of HDTV-based technology. The Company unveiled the industry's first commercially-available, high-definition
videographics processor, called FrameThrower and announced the availability of an all-in-one, high-definition
videographics workstation incorporating the new FrameThrower processor.
According to Symbolics, current efforts to develop and bring to market a broad range of high-definition
applications are stymied by technology obstacles which the FrameThrower uniquely addresses. FrameThrower
offers three primary and immediate advantages:
Merges computer and high resolution video technologies enabling practical solutions for challenging
applications from medical imaging to remote diagnosis;
Supports current and evolving industry standards with a programmable architecture configurable in real-time;
Based on the VMEbus standard providing system integrators with a building block for delivering customized
HDTV applications on a variety of workstations.
SYMBOLICS ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH HDTV PRODUCTS
HDTV Viewed As Cornerstone Technology for the 90s and Beyond
According to Tom McMahon, development director of Symbolics Graphics Center, FrameThrower
allows developers, for the first time, to merge computer graphics and high-definition video in real-time,
eliminating the technology barriers that have previously existed between these two traditionally separate worlds.
"FrameThrower is a technological gateway to a new class of high-definition applications and the first
practical product that will support these applications today and tomorrow, thereby reducing new product
development time and investment risk," commented McMahon. "We believe that HDTV is a cornerstone technology
of the information industry for the 1990s and beyond and that FrameThrower is an essential product to advance
HDTV technology development. "
Market Demand Accelerating For HDTV Applications
Symbolics said it expects immediate interest in the new processor and workstation products to come
from developers focused on building real-time applications including medical imaging, satellite reconnaissance,
and remote diagnostic applications where high-definition technology can provide enormous payback. Recently
the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) used Symbolics' high-definition technology to analyze
HDTV video images of the Discovery launch in real-time. This high-definition system enabled NASA engineers to
get an instant replay of critical launch systems. The engineers were able to enhance and enlarge high-resolution
images of the lift-off in order to analyze the condition of and spot potential problems with space shuttle tiles.
Without this HDTV capability, engineers would have had to wait a day or more for the availability of conventional
35mm photographs. HDTV today can support a level of real-time analysis and decision support impossible with
Family of Products Scheduled for Launch This Year
Symbolics announced plans for a series of products targeted to the high-definition videographics market.
The Company also announced the first product in the FrameThrower family, the FT100, which supports Symbolics' newest
HDTV workstation. Symbolics stated that it is in active discussion with major electronics and computer manufacturers
regarding development of customized FrameThrower products as an OEM supplier.
The Company's FT100 will support Symbolics' XL400 High-Definition ColorStation (HDCS), which is based
on the Company's popular symbolic processing workstation, the XL400. With the addition of the FT100, the XL400 HDCS
brings dramatic performance improvements to existing XL400 color applications and enables the rapid development of
new high-definition applications. The XL400 HDCS features a comprehensive software development environment and
extensive graphics library proven in over 6,000 installations.
SYMBOLICS ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH HDTV PRODUCTS
The FT100 processor add-in board and base-level software library is priced at $23,900 (U.S.). The
XL400 High-Definition ColorStation, which includes the FT100, a high-resolution monochrome monitor and the
color graphics software library is available for $58,800 (U.S.). This system supports a variety of HDTV
monitors and projection systems. Introductory pricing of $18,900 for the FT100 and $53,800 for the XL400 HDCS
is available through September 30, 1990. Both systems are scheduled to ship in June, 1990.
Symbolics, Inc., headquartered in Burlington, Mass., is the leading provider of symbolic processing systems
used for the development and delivery of sophisticated applications including advanced scheduling and planning,
large-scale documentation management, and mathematical computation. The Symbolics Graphics Center (SGC) develops
and supports advanced hardware and software products for graphics imaging and processing. The Center is recognized
as an innovator in displacement and behavioral animation, and high-definition television (HDTV) computer graphics.
Symbolics, FrameThrower and XL400 are trademarks of Symbolics, Inc. 1990