March 17, 1999
Sharp Corporation

Sharp Introduces the VN-EZ1 Internet ViewCam
Records One Hour of MPEG-4*1 Video and Sound on Semiconductor Memory a World First Speeds Up Video Transmission; One Minute of Video Data Can be Sent in One Minute*3*4


OSAKA, JAPAN - Sharp Corporation, a major electronics manufacturer, introduces the Internet ViewCam, the world's most compact and lightweight video camera that uses semiconductor memory as the recording medium, and offers approximately one hour*2 of recording time.*5

The VN-EZ1 Internet ViewCam is the world's first video camera to use the MPEG-4 digital video compression standard, enabling it to effectively reduce the size requirements of recorded video data. The Internet ViewCam uses SmartMediaTM*6 to allow easy transfer of the video files to a PC and also incorporates the ASF*7 (Advanced Streaming Format) streaming multimedia file format, which allows smooth playback of video*8.

By transferring the files to a PC, video can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Users can shoot and create video documents, such as "animated" business reports, "postcards" while traveling, and send them as e-mail attachments for lively on-line communication. Home pages will also come to life with "animated" personal pages as well as eye-catching "animated" catalogs on corporate Web sites.

The Internet ViewCam can be used in many ways, from everyday life to business use, and offers exciting new communication possibilities in the age of digital networks.

For on-line product information, visit Sharp's Internet ViewCam Web site at http://inet-viewcam.sharp.co.jp

[ Outstanding Features ]

1. Add compressed video images to e-mail or Internet home pages for new communication possibilities
The Internet ViewCam's product concept is to let users easily transfer video files with sound to their PC and to allow smoother transmission and reception of these video files over the Internet. As nearly 30% of Japanese households have a PC and one out of every six people use the Internet, demand is shifting from just plain text and still images to sound and moving images. The Internet ViewCam answers such needs and is not merely for recording and viewing video as with conventional video cameras, but is an innovative product that allows users to take full advantage of video for new communication possibilities over the Internet.

2. World's first video camera to use MPEG-4 video compression and Microsoft's ASF streaming multimedia file format
The Internet ViewCam uses the MPEG-4 digital video compression standard, which means users can take minutes of video with reduced data size. The unit also uses Microsoft Corporation's ASF, the next-generation streaming multimedia file format of choice. ASF is a versatile format that allows easy video playback in Windows(R) 95/98*9. Microsoft is also looking forward to the possibilities the Internet ViewCam will bring as it is the world's first video camera that records in ASF.

3. SmartMedia storage makes it easy to upload video to a PC
SmartMedia is used as the storage medium. Uploading the images to a PC is quick and easy: simply insert a memory card into an optional PC card adapter or floppy disk adapter that connect to the PC.

4. One hour of continuous recording on 4 alkaline AA batteries
Users get approximately one hour of continuous recording time on 4 alkaline AA batteries, one hour and 40 minutes*10 on 4 commercially available nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries, or up to 15 hours with the optional high-capacity battery*11.

5. Compact size and light weight [approx. 210 cc, 148 g (12.8 cubic inches, 5.2 oz)] make this pocket-sized camera truly portable
The unit's compact size makes one hand operation a snap. Whether taking a quick shot or filming a long scene, the Internet ViewCam is portable enough to go anywhere. Plus, users can instantly view what they've recorded thanks to the 1.8-inch TFT color LCD monitor.

6. Lens rotates 270 degrees making filming with one hand easy
With one hand the user can take shots from various angles and positions-overhead, underhand, even film him/herself-while viewing the LCD monitor and rotating the lens. The lens also retracts into a protective housing, so it won't get damaged when being carried around.

7. Comes with software for managing files and creating home pages
(1) Windows(R) Media Player plays audio and video.
(2) The PixLab Browser converts video, still images and sound files to thumbnails for easy viewing and searching.
· ASF Cutter divides and edits video files.
· Bit Rate Converter converts compression rates and converts video data*12 into ASF files.
· Mail Attacher automatically re-compresses and attaches files to e-mail.
· HTML Packager packages video, still image and sound files in HTML format.

8. Other features
(1) 4x digital zoom*13.
(2) Index Thumbnail Display allows easy random access to video files.
(3) Settings protect, delete and divide video clips.
(4) Interval Filming allows filming of lengthy events in an abridged form.
(5) Users can film progressive still images (640 x 480 dots).
(6) Self-timer makes still image shooting a snap.

[ Specifications ]

Model nameVN-EZ1
Video compression formatMPEG-4 standard
Still image compression formatJPEG standard
Recording formatVideo: ASF, still image: JPEG (Exif 2.1) DCF compliant*14
Recording mediumSmartMedia (SSFDC), 3.3V
2MB, 4MB, 8MB, 16MB, 32MB memory cards
Image sizeVideo: 1/4 VGA mode (320 x 240)
LP, normal, fine, S-fine (160 x 120)
Still image: 640 x 480
Video recording time
2MB8MB16MB32MB
LPApprox. 8 min. 30 sec.Approx. 34 min.Approx. 1 hr. 8 min.Approx. 2 hrs. 17 min.
NormalApprox. 3 min. 45 sec.Approx. 15 min.Approx. 30 min.Approx. 1 hr.
FineApprox. 1 min. 15 sec.Approx. 5 min.Approx. 10 min.Approx. 20 min.
S-fineApprox. 37 sec.Approx. 2 min. 30 sec.Approx. 5 min.Approx. 10 min.
1/4 VGAApprox. 37 sec.Approx. 2 min. 30 sec.Approx. 5 min.Approx. 10 min.
Still image storage capacity (no.)
NormalApprox. 36Approx. 144Approx. 288Approx. 576
FineApprox. 18Approx. 72Approx. 144Approx. 288
Image sensor1/4-inch CCD with approx. 350,000 pixels (total number of pixels), progressive scanning CCD
Square pixel, RGB filter, 4x digital zoom compatible
LensFull range auto focus with macro
F=3.4, f=3.8 (equivalent to 35-mm camera with conversion value of 37 mm)
Photometry systemTTL central focus photometry
Exposure controlF=3.4, F8 manual
Shutter speedVideo: 1/15 - 1/4000, still image: 1/4 - 1/4000
LCD monitor1.8-inch TFT LCD color monitor (61,000 pixels)
Power consumption3.4W (when filming) 2.7W (when playback)
Continuous operating timeApprox. 1 hr. (with included alkaline AA batteries)
Approx. 1 hr. 40 min. [with nickel-metal hydride batteries (1450 mAh)]
Approx. 15 hrs. (with optional VR-LBL120 high-capacity battery)
Speaker20 mm diameter, 100mW (monaural)
DC input jackFor optional AC adapter (6V DC rated input)
External dimensions (W x H x D)78.8 mm x 88 mm x 42 mm (not including protrusions)
(3.1" x 3.5" x 1.7")
Main unit weightApprox. 148 g (5.2 oz)
Operating weightApprox. 240 g (8.5 oz)
(with SmartMedia card, alkaline batteries)
Power sourceAlkaline AA batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries or optional AC adapter
Supplied accessories4 alkaline AA batteries, 2MB SmartMedia memory card, hand strap, software on CD-ROM, instruction manual, warranty card

[ Required Specifications for PixLab Integrated Digital Media Software ]

Computer*16IBM PC/AT compatibles (DOS-V), NEC PC98-NX series, NEC PC98-9821 series
OS*18Windows 95 Japanese version*17 / Windows 98 Japanese version (recommended)
CPU*18Pentium 133MHz or better (MMX Pentium 200MHz or better recommended)
RAM32MB or more (64MB or more recommended)
Hard disk space required for installation
· Approx. 15MB (for PixLab only)
· Approx. 170MB when fully installing the following*15:

Microsoft Windows Media Player
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack1
Microsoft DirectX 6.1
Microsoft DirectX Media 6.0 Runtime
Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0aj
Hard disk space required to run softwareApprox. 60MB (when using a 16MB video file)
Disk space depends on the size of the file being handled.
Does not include space for saving files.
Hard disk performanceUltra ATA/33 or better recommended
Video card*19800 x 600 dots or better, able to display 65,535 colors or more and is compatible with DirectX 6 or higher
Sound card*19Compatible with SoundBlaster and DirectX 6 or higher
InterfacePCMCIA Type II ATA regulation standard card slot or FDD required
CD-ROM driveRequired

[ Optional Accessories ]

Product nameModelList priceAvailabilityRemarks
AC adapter (new)VR-AA204,000 yenApril 27Compatible with 100-240V AC
High-capacity batteryVR-LBL12032,000 yenNow
8MB SmartMedia card (new)VR-FM8Open priceApril 27Flash memory card for storage 3.3V (8MB)
16MB SmartMedia card (new)VR-FM169,800 yenApril 27Flash memory card for storage 3.3V (16MB)
32MB SmartMedia card (new)VR-FM32TBAIn the near futureFlash memory card for storage 3.3V (32MB)
PC card adapter (new)VR-PCA110,000 yenApril 27PC card adapter for SmartMedia cards. Compatible with PCMCIA Type II/III. 3.3V (for use with 2MB-32MB cards)
Floppy disk drive adapter (new)VR-FPA112,000 yenApril 27Floppy disk drive adapter for SmartMedia cards. Can be used with IBM PC/AT
compatibles, NEC PC9821, PC98-NX series, and machines running Windows(R) 98/95 Japanese version.
Note: Options other than those listed above can also be used. Please see catalog for details.


Notes
*1 What is MPEG-4?
Digital video images require a large amount of memory for storage. For example, a DVD with a large 4.7 GB memory can only record four minutes of video when recording TV-quality video without compression.
The data transmission speed for computer-based communications, including the Internet, is much slower compared to broadcasting communications such as CS and storage media such as DVDs. Sending large amounts of data over computer networks takes a long time; therefore, it is necessary to make the video data smaller using a compression technology that has even higher compression rates than MPEG-1 or MPEG-2. MPEG-4 was thus developed to handle compression of lower bit rates (higher compression rates), which MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 could not handle. MPEG-4 Version 1 is slated to become an international standard in April 1999.
MPEG-4 incorporates the latest compression technology and is ideal for compressing video to an ultra-low bit rate of under 64 kbit. Therefore, MPEG-4-compressed video can be sent and received over networks smoothly. Plus, approximately 60 minutes of video can be stored on a 32MB SmartMedia card when recorded at a rate of 64 kbit/second.
*2 When using a 32MB SmartMedia card in normal mode.
*3 Personal computer required for Internet connection.
*4 When sending video in normal mode over a 64 kbps (ISDN connection) network.
*5 As a device able to record video with sound, including video cameras and digital still cameras with video recording functions.
*6 SmartMediaTM is a registered trademark of Toshiba Corporation.
*7 ASF (Advanced Streaming Format): Streaming multimedia file format developed by Microsoft Corporation.
*8 Streaming playback requires a phone line connection that has a faster transmission rate than the recorded video.
*9 Windows(R) is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries .
*10 When using a nickel-metal hydride battery (1450mAh).
*11 The VR-LBL120 high-capacity battery (waist or shoulder type) requires a special cable. Ask your dealer for details.
*12 Video data that can be played back on Windows Media Player can be converted into ASF files.
*13 Digital zoom can only be used for filming video at 160 x 120. 2 of 5