Sony expands network storage player lineup to accelerate graphics-based digital signage
June 9, 2004

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Sony of Canada Ltd., Canada's leading electronic
and computer products solutions provider for consumers and business, today
introduced the NSP-1 Network Storage Player, a complement to the highly
successful NSP-100 network storage player, to respond to the need for digital
signage where information is continuously revised and posted.

Together, the NSP-100 and NSP-1 comprise a comprehensive offering of IP
(Internet Protocol)-network appliances that can handle video and graphics
distribution over local IP-networks in retail, hospitality, academic and
industrial applications.

The NSP-1 is designed to operate primarily as a graphics platform to
store and forward VGA (video graphics array)-based content while also offering
MPEG2 and FLASH video capabilities. Added flexibility comes from being able to
deliver content to displays in either landscape or portrait mode. This meets
the needs of a broad range of custom installations and is particularly suited
for retail, transportation or other venues that post rapidly changing or
time-sensitive information.

"The burgeoning digital signage industry is still in its infancy, but two
distinct needs in the market - for graphics and for video content - have
already become clear," said Rick Perkins, Product Manager, Broadcast &
Communication Solutions Group, Sony of Canada Ltd. "The introduction of the
NSP-1 follows two years of evaluating customer feedback so that we could
create this complementary device to address the full spectrum of applications
as well as open opportunities to innovate new ones."

Powerful content management software specially designed for the new
device combines ease of use with sophisticated capabilities to both "push" and
"pull" material. In addition to "push" mode where content distributed and
stored on the player is displayed, it can also "pull" updated content from Web
sites and other online sources to continually refresh and enhance material to
emulate real-time information distribution.

According to Mr. Perkins, while the NSP-100 marked a major advance over
distribution of video through physical media such as videotape or DVD, the
NSP-1 makes an even more significant improvement over traditional solutions
for distributing alpha-numeric information such as pricing for retail
advertising as well as flight and train schedules, arrivals and departures.
These applications typically involve standalone proprietary solutions with
limited utility. The NSP-1 has advanced beyond this to true digital signage,
where information can be embedded and inserted into other content to create
unique, captivating messaging that communicates more than just facts and
figures.

Industry Standard Technologies and Protocols Across the NSP Family

Like the NSP-100, the NSP-1 Network Storage Player is interoperable with
industry standard technologies and protocols. They share the same IP-based
platform to afford ease of installation as well as simplicity of operation and
maintenance. Each feature DHCP to automatically assign an IP address to the
system, SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) to confirm operation and
verify information playout for ad tracking and billing, an HTTP web browser
for system check via the Internet and RS-232C control for communication with
plasma displays, projectors or any RS-232C equipped device. In addition, the
NSP-1 is USB (universal serial bus)-compatible, allowing it to be connected to
a mouse, barcode screener or other USB device. The NSP-1 is also built on the
Linux operating system, allowing software integration to other components and
systems, which enable the NSP-1 to be customized to specific applications.

The NSP-1 comes with specially designed management software to take
advantage of the unique capabilities of the graphics-based device. It allows
operators to stack multiple layers of graphical content to compose messages.
Unlike video, individual elements can easily be swapped out or substituted
without having to start from scratch. Individual program events can be built
into loops that repeat on a set schedule or in response to specific
conditions. The end result is that non-technical users are able to generate
outstanding results without need for dedicated specialists on staff.

The NSP-1 is a lightweight (3.3 lbs), laptop-sized unit with an
integrated 40 GB (gigabyte) hard disk drive and stores/plays both MPEG 2 and
FLASH video, MPEG1 audio layer 2, MP3 and .WAV audio. Supported graphics
formats include GIF, BMP and JPEG as well as Flash animation.

The player features 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking via an RJ-45
modular jack; component, composite video output, two channels of audio output,
and RS-232C, USB and GPI interface capabilities.

Sony's NSP-1Network Player and the optional BZNP-D1 server software is
planned to be available in September 2004.


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