April 6 (Update)
Is Real-Time, Dual-Stream Coming to Mac?
A little speculation is good for the soul

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

Are uncompressed dual-stream options coming to the Mac? Real-time DVEs? More graphics card options? You put three companies together like Apple, Pinnacle Systems and Matrox, and something good's going to come of it for the Macintosh platform—and that's just what's happening at NAB next week.

We thought a little speculation going into the show might be healthy.

The facts
Here are the facts as we know them. Apple has these ultimate graphics machines out on the market that are geared heavily toward digital video. Apple has made it clear that digital video is the company's future, but, in the present, video editing on the Mac has its limitations. You can't do serious video editing on a CPU, even if it is a "supercomputer on a chip." Uncompressed dual-stream hardware for the Mac is limited to one option—Avid Media Composer. There is no real-time DV editing hardware for the Mac. There are few serious graphics cards for the Mac.

Enter Pinnacle and Matrox. Although the two are competitors in the digital video hardware market, they have cooperated on projects in the past. And, since they're both going to be in on the Apple press conference at NAB, it looks like they'll be cooperating again—this time (and for the first time) to the benefit of the Mac market. The possibilities look promising. Let's try to figure out how the two could coexist peacefully while hooked up to an Apple box.

The speculation
Both Matrox and Pinnacle make lots of good stuff that's unavailable on the Mac. Both companies make real-time DVEs for PC hardware. Both make video capture hardware that supports dual-stream uncompressed video. Matrox makes a 256-bit graphics card. Throw in Final Cut Pro from Apple to tie it all together (and don't forget to leave out Adobe), and the math works itself out—Final Cut Pro RT with dual-stream support. Serious competition for the NT platform and Adobe Premiere RT? You betcha. But Apple's been gunning for Premiere since the first release of Final Cut Pro. And with a little hardware support from some powerful allies, Apple will have the firepower to wage a serious campaign. (One other option that has been rumored is Final Cut Pro for Windows.)

So who's going to make what? Will Matrox supply the dual stream, or will Pinnacle? Who's manufacturing the real-time DVE? Will they co-brand the hardware? Who knows, and who cares? All that matters is that great things are about to happen to Mac video editing.

For more information on Matrox, visit http://www.matrox.com. For more information on Pinnacle, visit http://www.pinnaclesys.com.

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