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NuWave Prepares Game Enhancer

FAIRFIELD, N.J. -NuWave plans to shed a little more light on the video game industry. The company, which initially formed in 1995 to develop and market a chip that enhances brightness and contrast of images from DVD video players, is extending its push into the video games space.

NuWave executives have determined a need exists for their company’s technology among gameplayers, who must constantly adjust their TV settings to bring out color and detail in darker areas of some video game graphics. The process of continuously changing picture settings can be irritating to other TV set users, who must readjust picture settings to watch television programs, and potentially damaging to some video screens.

The NuWave technology is designed to go beyond simply boosting brightness and contrast in a picture. The circuitry can be used to lighten dark areas of the picture without distorting other elements of the screen.

The goal, explained global sales VP Don Legato, is to make these image-enhancing chips available to console manufacturers and eventually to manufacturers of other video components, such as television sets, set-top boxes and DVD players.

Although NuWave started out with a brightness- and contrast-enhancing chip for DVD video players, Legato said that market failed to develop because of a higher chip cost than some manufacturers were willing to add. At the time, manufacturers were watching player prices plummet and needed to keep costs down.

In the near term, NuWave plans to introduce with a third-party marketing partner, a set-top device that can be added onto video game machines and TV sets as a “video game enhancer.” The device will enable gameplayers to make brightness and contrast adjustments for various games without disturbing the settings on the television set. When the device is switched off, the set returns to its normal settings.

NuWave expected to announce a marketing partner shortly.

Legato said the NuWave-developed VGE 101 video game enhancer box should be available in late March and is expected to retail for around $49.95. The device is designed to be plug-and-play friendly and will offer a wheel for fine-tuning the picture without disturbing the settings on the TV set. It measures 5 x 7 x 2 inches and can be easily placed behind or alongside a television, the company said.

The system in its current form is designed for NTSC video displays, which NuWave expects to continue to dominate TV sales for several more years. Despite the arrival of DTV, Legato said, NuWave expects analog TV sets to enjoy a long life into the future. Nonetheless, the company is working on a version for DTV display applications.