Microsoft Pumps Up the Volume at 1998 Electronics Entertainment Expo With Debut of Digital Sound System 80
REDMOND, Wash., May 25, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. will publicly debut Microsoft® Digital Sound System 80, Microsoft's first PC speaker system, at this year's Electronics Entertainment Expo (E 3 ), to be held May 28-30 in Atlanta (Booth 4420 in West Hall, Georgia Congress Center). Digital Sound System 80 will bring PC users crisp, clear sound more like the audio quality they've come to expect from high-end home audio systems.
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 is an 80-watt, three-piece PC audio system that includes two satellite speakers and a subwoofer with a built-in digital amplifier. Microsoft's sound system accepts both digital and analog sound inputs, so it provides smooth, dynamic sound and tight, responsive bass with the Universal Serial Bus (USB)-compatible Windows® 98 operating system, non-USB systems and non-PC entertainment systems.
"Sound is an increasingly important part of the PC experience - and often the most overlooked," said Richard Brudvik-Lindner, product manager for Digital Sound System 80 at Microsoft. "With multimedia developers using positional sounds and other audio effects to add drama and realism to games, music and simulations, good speakers become increasingly important to enjoying everyday computing."
Microsoft is applying its experience in designing innovative hardware products to help create a new category: high-quality, high-fidelity digital PC sound. Microsoft combines its expertise with Philips Electronics, a recognized leader in digital audio and USB technology, to design its best-in-class PC audio system. The pairing gives Microsoft exclusive use of Philips' patented wOOx subwoofer technology, which provides Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 with maximum bass response and a smooth, rich sound, whether using an analog or a digital signal.
Full digital audio is possible in PCs for the first time, thanks to USB, a two-way communications link that lets users connect devices to PCs without reconfiguring any software. USB will be enabled on a wide variety of new and existing computers next month with the scheduled release of Windows 98. Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 uses USB to pull digital audio signals directly from the Internet, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs or audio CDs and converts them to analog sound in the subwoofer, rather than through a sound card inside the PC. This diminishes potential noise pollution from the PC and greatly enhances PC sound quality.
Feature Set and Consumer Benefits at a Glance
The Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 capitalizes on advancements made possible by USB, using USB to carry not only audio control signals, but the audio signal itself. USB audio signals can be customized using a 10-band programmable graphic equalizer in the software accompanying Digital Sound System 80. The equalizer lets listeners create and save personalized sound profiles, optimizing the sonic qualities of music genres (e.g., rock vs. classical), types of content (e.g., games vs. music) or audio sources (e.g., CD-ROM vs. Internet audio).
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 can also add 3-D-sound realism and immediacy to the PC experience in two ways: It simulates a home-theater-like sense of audio immersion with standard stereo sound sources, such as an audio CD or game soundtrack, and it uses Microsoft Surround Sound to decode true surround sound in games and CD-ROMs that feature it.
Satellite and subwoofer volume and mute controls are located on the right satellite speaker for fast, easy access, automatically synchronizing with software-based controls. The three-piece system is easy to set up and features a small-footprint design.
Availability and System Requirements
To take full advantage of all the USB features of Microsoft Digital Sound System 80, users will need a multimedia Pentium 166 or higher PC with USB, Microsoft Windows 98, and a compatible double-speed or faster CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive capable of playing digital audio. To use the speaker system in analog mode, users will need a PC running the MS-DOS® operating system version 5.0 or higher or the Microsoft Windows 3.x or higher operating system, and a Sound Blaster-compatible audio board with a MIDI-enabled game port. Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 is scheduled to be available in fall 1998 with an estimated retail price of $259.95.
About Philips Electronics
Philips Electronics of the Netherlands is one of the world's largest electronics companies, with sales of more than $39 billion (U.S.) in 1997. It is a global leader in color television sets, lighting, home telephony products, electric shavers and recorded music (PolyGram). Its 264,700 employees in more than 60 countries are active in the areas of semiconductors and components, consumer products, professional products and systems, lighting, and software and services. Philips is quoted on the NYSE as well as the London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and other stock exchanges. News from Philips is located at http://www.news.philips.com/ .
Microsoft Hardware Group
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