Compiled by Dave Raffo
The IBM ThinkPad 760CD is the Rolls-Royce of multimedia PCs--it's for people who want everything in a notebook and don't mind paying for it.
The ThinkPad 760CD comes with a quad-speed CD-ROM, giant 12.1-inch Black Matrix high-resolution screen (800x600 pixels), video decoder chip for movie-like video, and MWave media processor for stereo sound. It's capable of phone, fax and modem functions, and it comes with a 90MHz Pentium processor, up to 40MB of RAM and a 1.2GB hard disk.
For comfort, the ThinkPad 760CD's full-size keyboard tilts up automatically and includes a built-in palm rest.
And there's much more: The ThinkPad 760CD runs MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video with NTSC/PAL video output that lets you plug the unit into a color TV. It includes 16-bit wavetable audio with Sound Blaster, MIDI and WAV support, speakers, and built-in microphone and headphone jacks. The 7.4-pound unit measures 8.3 by 11.7 by 2.1 inches.
$5,349 to $7,449
The Toshiba Satellite Pro 410CDT multimedia notebook features a quad-speed CD-ROM module, an 11.3-inch TFT active-matrix display with 800x600-pixel resolution, and Sound Blaster Pro-compatible audio with MIDI and WAV support. It has a 90MHz Pentium processor, and ships standard with 8MB of RAM and a 772MB hard drive with 13-millisecond access time. The Satellite Pro 410CDT weighs 7.4 pounds and measures 2.2 by 11.8 by 9.2 inches.
Toshiba America Information Systems
You don't have to spring for a new notebook to get quad-speed CD-ROM capability. The Panasonic KXL-D740 portable quad-speed CD-ROM drive will keep that notebook you just bought with dual-speed CD-ROM from becoming old hat.
The 14-ounce unit connects to your notebook through a PCMCIA Type II card, or to a desktop PC with a SCSI II interface. The KXL-D740 measures 1.4 by 5.52 by 8.2 inches, transfers at 600Kbps and provides about two hours of data and four hours of audio on six AA batteries. It doubles as an audio CD player.
Real Impact, a 32-bit video editor, lets you seamlessly import the files you need to create digital content for multimedia presentations. Its instant full-screen, full-motion digital video playback with audio eliminates the need to compile multiple tracks. Besides presentations, you can use Real Impact for CD-ROM titles, information kiosks and cost-effective videotapes. Real Impact requires an Intel 486 or Pentium PC running Windows NT.
800-875-4699, fax 508-640-9486
VideoCraft's seven effects editors take advantage of Win95's 32-bit architecture, interface and OLE capabilities. The video production tool's editors--Overlay, Stylize, Colorize, Distort, Morph, Transition and Warp--combine to offer millions of special effects. You can use up to three effects simultaneously to edit videos or images. VideoCraft supports advanced Alpha Channel compositing for ghosting, montage and other effects.
Andover Advanced Technologies
508-635-5300, fax 508-635-5326
The Umax MaxMedia TV Mini is a pocket-sized (1.5 by 1.75 by 5 inches), 8-ounce box that converts the VGA video output of your computer into a broadcast-TV-standard signal.
The device connects to a TV for computer-based multimedia presentations or to a VCR for video publishing. It supports 640x480-pixel true-color-to-NTSC conversions as well as 800 x600-pixel PAL-based conversions.
The miroVideo DC20 video editing card provides 640x480-pixel full-motion digital video capture, along with editing, playback and print-to-tape capabilities at 60-field S-Video quality.
It uses onboard Motion-JPEG compression to work at low data rates. You can edit and store video clips and images as Motion-JPEG files on your hard drive, then output them to videotape without any loss of resolution. The package includes Adobe Premiere 4.0 LE software for digital video editing, visual effects and titling. Adobe Photoshop LE and Asymetrix 3D f/x software are also included for image enhancement and special effects. The miroVideo DC20 supports NTSC, PAL and SECAM standards.
miro Computer Products
The HP OmniBook 5000 CTS 5/120 notebook provides desktop-like performance with a 120MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of RAM and a 1.2GB hard disk. The notebook, based on a PCI bus for accelerated graphics, also includes 16-bit Sound Blaster-compatible audio, a 10.4-inch TFT active-matrix screen and NTSC/PAL video output that lets you connect the unit to a TV.
The Proxima Desktop Projector 2400 is the company's entry-level multimedia LCD projector. It's designed for traveling professionals who make lots of presentations before small audiences. The Desktop Projector 2400 provides 190 lumens of brightness, projects images at 640x480-pixel VGA resolution and weighs 21 pounds.
Two Labtec LCS-3210 speakers produce three-dimensional audio, thanks to the speakers' Spatializer 3-D stereo sound. The Spatializer interactive technology enriches the sound and makes you think it's coming at you from all sides. Because the speakers don't require a subwoofer, they generate deep bass notes despite their narrow design. The speakers measure 11.5 by 3.34 by 9 inches.
360-896-2000, fax 360-896-2020
The Sidekick 95 Deluxe CD-ROM is enough to make Oscar Madison a neat freak. Not only does it include Starfish Software's Sidekick 95 personal organizer and Dashboard 95 desktop utility, but it throws in two interactive videos on getting organized. Sidekick 95 Deluxe also makes going online a snap by offering America Online software, which includes 10 hours of free connect time.
Combining the functions of a paper notebook and computer notebook, the HP OmniGo 100 puts personal information and financial tools in the palm of your hand.
The hand-held organizer packs an appointment book, phone book, notepad, database, calculator, spreadsheet and business tools in an 11.6-ounce unit. At 1 by 3.75 by 6 inches, the OmniGo 100 fits into your coat pocket. Its 240x240-pixel monochrome screen folds back on a 360-degree rotating hinge, so you can use it like a traditional notepad.
Also available for the HP OmniGo 100 are a Connectivity Pack for connection to a Windows-based PC, Clip & Go to link it to Windows' Clipboard through a serial port, and six Strategy Games. The HP OmniGo 100 is based on the Geos operating system.
You use a pen or the keyboard to input information. The OmniGo's Jotter application lets you jot notes that you can organize later, and its Graffiti system provides handwriting recognition capability.
The OmniGo 100 comes with 1MB of RAM, a Type II PCMCIA slot and 3MB of ROM. It runs on two standard AA batteries and a lithium backup.
Looking for a way to turn your PC's video output into NTSC (National TV Standards Committee) or PAL (Phase Alternating Line) video?
The TV One DeltaScan family consists of two models that convert your computer's video signal into images that are compatible with professional display standards. The TV One DeltaScan is recommended for systems with display outputs of 800x600 pixels, although it can work with outputs as dense as 1600x1200.
The TV One DeltaScan-PRO is for computers with a resolution of up to 1024x768 pixels. Both systems include an infrared remote-control unit, are compatible with 24-bit video subsystems and include controls that allows precise adjustment of the display window size.
DeltaScan, $395; DeltaScan-PRO, $695
TV One Multimedia Solutions
The Connectix QuickCam turns your PC into an instant snapshot developer. The 4-ounce digital video camera plugs into the parallel port, installing as easily as a mouse.
The QuickCam's bundled software lets you take pictures and make movies on your PC. The device produces still and video images at up to 320x240 pixels with 64 shades of gray. It captures video images at 15 frames per second or better.
Is videoconferencing becoming mainstream? The PictureTel Live PCS 200 costs about one-third the price of PictureTel's first videoconferencing product, released in late 1994. The PCS 200, jointly developed with Compaq, has an interface modeled after Microsoft Office and plug-and-play features. It offers a customizable floating toolbar, an easy-to-use address book and support for 32-bit color in a video call.
What do you do if your hard disk crashes under Windows 95? The Tapedisk Professional for Windows 95's codeblue feature lets you recover without reinstalling Win95. From a boot diskette, the tape storage system lets you restore the complete tape backup to a newly formatted hard disk. The Tapedisk lets your PC use a SCSI tape drive like a logical disk. Any Win95 application can write files directly to the tape.
Besides providing 28.8Kbps transfer rates, the Creative Labs Modem Blaster 28.8 PCMCIA includes Internet access and fax software. The fax modem bundles NetManage's Chameleon Internet Tools and Pacific Image Communications' SuperFax software. SuperFax includes fax broadcasting, pager notification of new faxes, a phone book, fax viewer and TWAIN support.
For speed and desktop-like multimedia features in a notebook computer, check out the AST Ascentia 950N/90, which uses Intel's 90MHz Pentium processor.
This notebook ships standard with 256KB of cache memory, 1MB of video memory and a 32-bit graphics accelerator. It provides 16-bit Sound Blaster audio, 8MB of RAM, an 800MB or 1.2GB hard disk, and either a 10.4-inch color active-matrix or TFT screen.
The Ascentia 950N/90's dual operating system install option gives you a one-time choice of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 or Windows 95. The operating system not chosen will be deleted.
AST's Ascentia 950N/90 uses lithium ion batteries, which will power the notebook for up to 6 hours, according to the manufacturer. The portable weighs approximately 6.4 pounds without its battery charger, which charges faster with the system on.
From $3,449 (street)
Looking for an expandable multimedia notebook computer? The Kiwi OpenNote uses Cyrix's 5x86 (Intel-compatible) processor and an open architecture designed for hassle-free configuration and upgrades.
The OpenNote incorporates 16KB of write-back cache and ships standard with a 540MB removable hard disk, at least 8MB of RAM and a 100MHz processor (a 120MHz processor is optional).
Also included with the system are one Type II stacked PCMCIA slot, a 10.4-inch dual-scan color screen, touchpad pointing device, 14.4Kbps fax modem and 16-bit sound card, and nickel metal hydride batteries.
With easy upgrades in mind, Kiwi uses 72-pin SIMM modules and the Cyrix 5x86 processor, which is a plug-in module. You can expand to 32MB of RAM through one 72-pin slot. The OpenNote weighs 5.8 pounds and ships with Windows 95.
A quad-speed CD-ROM drive and 28.8Kbps fax modem are optional.
8MB of RAM, $2,495; 16MB, $2,795}
408-492-9188, fax 408-492-9187
A notebook from the Epson ActionNote 890 Series won't put you in the poorhouse, even if it's designed for multimedia. The 890C and 895C run on a Cyrix DX4-class 100MHz processor. Both come standard with 8MB of RAM, a 540MB removable hard disk, an ActionPoint touchpad, palm rest and a 10.4-inch dual-scan color display. You can choose between Windows 95 or 3.11. The 895C multimedia model adds a built-in Sound Blaster-compatible 16-bit stereo, internal microphone and speaker.
890C, from $2,099 (street); 895C, from $2,299
Does the average laptop computer lack the muscle necessary for your applications or lifestyle? The Itronix X-C 6000 Cross Country Computer is a rugged notebook that is available with a self-contained 14.4Kbps modem and wireless communications devices, a 260MB hard disk, 4MB to 16MB of system memory and 512KB of video memory. It also features a Type III PCMCIA slot, nickel cadmium or nickel metal hydride batteries, and a 40MHz low-voltage 486 processor. It's available with a 640x480-pixel monochrome display with touch screen and meets most U.S. military durability standards.
From $4,810 (with touch screen)
The Texas Instruments Extensa 550, 550CD and 550CDT are 75MHz Pentium notebooks for home and small businesses. They ship standard with 524MB hard disks, 8MB of RAM and modular floppy disk drive bays that also accept an optional lithium ion battery. The 550CD adds a dual-speed CD-ROM drive. The 550 and 550CD use 10.4-inch dual-scan displays. The 550CDT includes a CD-ROM drive, 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible stereo and a 10.4-inch TFT display.
550, $2,499; 550CD, $2,999; 550CDT, $3,599
Instant Internet 3.0 lets you use the latest and greatest resources to access the Internet more efficiently.
The new version of the hardware/software product includes a 32-bit Winsock for compatibility with Windows 95 and NT, and the newest Netscape version. It also comes with a built-in 64Kbps ISDN connection to deliver dramatically higher bandwidth than its previous versions. Its new administrative tools include SNMP support, logging and monitoring facilities, and sophisticated controls on user access.
Administrators can assign and limit access to particular Web sites on a per-user or group basis, as well as by weekday and time. A dynamic monitoring screen displays connection status, transfer rates and number of connected users.
Instant Internet connects up to 50 concurrent users.
A Windows NT-server based product, CyberJunction offers Internet access, TCP/IP and host connectivity for Novell NetWare environments. Designed specifically for workgroups, CyberJunction lets you connect to the Internet quickly and securely.
CyberJunction includes Frontier's SuperWeb Web server, and Frontier Internet applications from SuperTCP Suite 1.2 and SuperHighway Access 2.0. This bundling allows NetWare users to improve internal and external communications through the World Wide Web. By providing IPX to IP bridging through a Windows NT-based server, CyberJunction eliminates the need for TCP/IP software on every desktop.
Five-user package, $1,795; 100-user package, $17,250
Frontier Technologies Corp.
Design customized, interactive catalogs for the Internet or your CD-ROM with iCAT Electronic Commerce Toolkit 2.0. This three-product set--the Commerce Manager, Commerce Exchange and optional Commerce Engine--lets you create an electronic catalog and conduct business either by CD-ROM or the Internet.
Manager Pro, $4,495; Lite, $1,495; Exchange, $5,000; licensing fee for first run, Engine Pro, $35,000; Lite, $15,000
Interactive Catalog Corp.
You or your business can set up a graphical online system and access the Internet and World Wide Web with the Worldgroup Internet Server. This package includes a 20-user version of Galacticomm's Worldgroup online system/workgroup software, the Internet Connectivity Option 2.0 and a Dial-Out add-on option. The new Internet extension offers proxy and pass-through SLIP/CSLIPP/PPP.
Is your business still using slow modems to connect to the Internet? Speed things up with Netopia 630 and Netopia 640. The products are part of Farallon Computing's family of high-speed ISDN products and services. They provide Netopia Internet routers and software, including the Netopia Starter Kit, Netscape Navigator and the MS Plus Internet Jumpstart Kit. The products work with Ethernet LANs supporting Windows 3.1, 95 and NT.
The Netopia 630 supports up to five simultaneous users; the 640 supports unlimited users.
Netopia 630, $1,299; Netopia 640, $1,599
510-814-5000, fax 510-814-5023
The InterGO browser is aimed at students, parents and educators. It uses scenes, including an office, library, newsroom and even a treasure map, to connect to integrated reference resources and to the Internet.
Prospero bridges your desktop applications, databases and Lotus Notes. The visual software tool lets you quickly move data back and forth among Notes, Microsoft Excel and Word or corporate SQL databases.
And because it requires no source or OLE code, department heads can work with information systems managers to build the bridges. Prospero constructs an application from reusable components. It uses OLE to integrate applications and ODBC to integrate relational databases. You assemble graphical building blocks to perform a specific task and connect those blocks with arrows to indicate how you want the data to flow. When you run the program, Prospero reads and writes data to and from applications. The 32-bit application runs on Windows 95, 3.1 or NT.
Just because a software program analyzes and interprets data, it doesn't have to be drab. BMDP/Diamond, a tool originally developed for OS/2 and UNIX, has been redesigned for Windows and transforms data into revealing graphics.
Using tools such as 3-D scatter plots, Parametric Snake plots and a real-time spreadsheet editor, BMDP/Diamond helps you explore and manipulate data. It dynamically links each session's data representation windows. Change information or color, and the program updates those changes in all related data windows and graphics. BMDP/Diamond directly imports from Microsoft Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, dBASE and BMDP products. It also works as a front-end application to other statistical packages.
$395; competitive upgrade, $295
BMDP Statistical Software
Optimas Library is a database for the image-conscious.
The multiuser image database provides data management and batch image analysis. It enables you to cus- tomize, archive, search, analyze and automate your image management.
Optimas Library accepts images from disk or Clipboard, as well as those captured from TWAIN-supported scanners or multimedia boards.
Embla 2.0 is a 32-bit enhanced version of the network e-mail application that includes right-mouse-button access to context-sensitive menus, priority flagging, message and attachment searching, batch sending and Netscape Navigator integration. You can also now activate Embla from other applications.
Doc-To-Help 2.0 is an upgraded version of the Windows help-authoring tool. The program was updated to work with Microsoft Word for Windows 95. It uses 32-bit architecture with support for long filenames, automatically generates contents files (CNT files) and makes it easy to include multimedia elements in Help files. WexTech also released Doc-To-Help 1.7 for Word 2.0 and 6.0 users who work in Windows 95 or 3.1.
$395; upgrade to 2.0, $129; upgrade to 1.7, $29
WinHelp Office 95's ToolKit includes Help-To-Source function and Internet Access. Help-To-Source lets you convert any Windows 3.x, 95 or NT help files into their RTF (Rich Text Format) and HPJ (Help Project) source files. Internet Access allows you to create a jump from Windows Help to the Internet with any Web browser. The WinHelp Office suite also includes RoboHelp 95, Mastering WinHelp and the Moving to WinHelp 95 Kit.
Blue Sky Software Corp.