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Pioneer Delays DigitaLibrary To ’04

Pioneer dropped plans to launch its DigitaLibrary networked A/V server more than a year after demonstrating a pre-production prototype at CES 2002.

The company cited “functional issues,” mainly a tendency for the Linux-based system to freeze up, requiring users to reboot. “Extensive” beta testing uncovered that problem and other needed improvements determined to be “critical to maximum performance and customer satisfaction,” a spokesperson said. Among other things, beta testers wanted better video quality, he said.

Because these “basic issues wouldn’t be solved” in time for a 2003 launch, Pioneer will concentrate on developing a second-generation version that will be available in the “2004 timeframe,” the spokesman said. The company originally targeted late-2002 shipments for the first-generation version.

Pioneer will also add new, but as-yet undetermined, features to the second-generation model based on beta tester feedback, the spokesman said. Some users wanted a DVD player and PVR capabilities built in, the spokesman noted.

The $999 suggested retail 80GB device was to use wired Ethernet technology, and add-on no-new-wires networking adapters, to distribute music, still pictures, and video from its hard drive to multiple TVs and audio systems in a house. TVs and audio systems would be connected to library “branches” a cost of $599 at retail.

Video downloaded from the Internet or transferred from home-movie videotapes could be stored in Windows Media Video, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4 form. It wasn’t designed to store DVD movies. Music ripped via a built-in CD player could be stored in MP3 or Windows Media Audio form.

The device could also stream Internet audio and video via a broadband connection from Internet streaming services.