NTT to use Acorn technology to build videophone prototype

Acorn Computer and Japan's Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) plan to work together to design and build a videophone based on Acorn's set-top box technologies, with support for MPEG2 digital video and audio. Acorn and NTT's Information and Communication Systems Laboratories have signed an agreement to build and design a prototype videophone, but not necessarily to build a final product, according to Acorn.

Acorn Computer and Japan's Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) plan to work together to design and build a videophone based on Acorn's set-top box technologies.

Acorn and NTT's Information and Communication Systems Laboratories have signed an agreement to build and design a prototype videophone, but not necessarily to build a final product, according to Acorn.

The prototype videophone will use Acorn's STB22 technology, a set-top box operating system and hardware reference design based Acorn's 32-bit RISC processor, Acorn officials say. The videophone will support MPEG2 digital video and audio.

Under the terms of the agreement, Acorn will license a broad range of its STB22 technology to NTT, according to an Acorn spokeswoman.

The Acorn technology licensed to NTT includes a set-top box operating system with a range of network interfaces such as ATM25.6 Mb/s and Ethernet, a built in Web-browser and support for Java, Shockwave and HTML, as well as a hardware reference design based on Acorn's 32-bit ARM 7500FE RISC processor. Two models of the reference design will be made available to NTT, supporting both PAL and NTSC video formats.

NTT will hire its own manufacturer in Japan to build the prototype, but has not yet decided who that will be, the Acorn spokeswoman says. Whether NTT decides to use the prototype to build a marketable product is undecided, she says.

Exactly how the companies will collaborate on development has not been disclosed, but there will be further involvement on Acorn's part throughout the design process, says the Acorn spokeswoman.

Acorn is based in Cambridge, England, and can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.acorn.co.uk/. Based in Tokyo.

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