|Industry||computer audio industry, computer and video game industry|
|Headquarters||Fremont, California USA|
Paul Jain, CEO
|Products||computer sound cards, computer video cards, computer multimedia kits, computer games|
Media Vision was an American electronics manufacturer of primarily computer sound cards and CD-ROM kits, operating from 1990 to approximately 1995 in Fremont, California. Media Vision was widely known for its Pro AudioSpectrum PC sound cards—which it often bundled with CD-ROM drives—and its spectacular growth and demise.
Media Vision was founded in May 1990 by Paul Jain (aka Prabhat Jain) and Tim Bratton. Early employees also included Russ Faust, Sandy Pfister, Dan Gochnauer and Bryan Colvin. Many of the founders and early employees had worked together under Mr. Jain at Video Seven, a video card maker which by then had been purchased by and absorbed into LSI Logic. As Mr. Bratton recalls, he wrote the company's business plan while an engineer at National Semiconductor and studying for his MBA at Santa Clara University. Mr. Jain and Mr. Bratton used the plan to raise $1 million in funding and by July 1990, after returning from the MPEG standard committee meeting in Porto, Portugal, Mr. Bratton joined the company as its first full-time employee. Mr. Faust and Ms. Pfister joined soon after. Mr. Jain remained at National Semiconductor for another month and joined the company full-time in August 1990. Within its first two years of operation, Media Vision had become the second-largest producer of personal computer sound cards, providing strong competition to Creative Labs.
In 1992, Media Vision was the first company to publish Microsoft Windows with Multimedia Extensions on CD-ROM; having beat Microsoft to market with its own product, Bill Gates's assistant telephoned and ordered two copies. During the same year, the company acquired Pellucid, Inc., a computer graphics company, and began producing a line of high-performance video graphics cards for the PC. Media Vision became a publicly traded company in late 1992.
New logotype, new image
In 1993, Media Vision updated its logotype to reflect its expanding product lines and broad foray into technologies beyond computer audio. Perhaps one of the biggest endeavors was the company's leap into software publishing with the creation of its Multimedia Publishing Group. CD-ROM titles such as Critical Path, Quantum Gate, and Forever Growing Garden were often bundled with its multimedia kits. The new logo reflected the company's desire to be known as a cutting-edge multi-media technology company. During the same year, the company expanded business operations into Europe with the establishment of Media Vision GmbH in Munich, Germany.
Media Vision could not sustain its meteoric rise. On May 17, 1994, CEO Paul Jain resigned as Media Vision quickly became the subject of the longest-running securities fraud case in Silicon Valley history. The investigation and trial lasted nearly a decade, resulting in criminal charges filed against Jain in 1998 and ultimately his indictment on 27 counts of financial fraud (Wired) and the incarceration of Jain and CFO Steve Allen ().
The collapse of Media Vision cost investors and bond holders US$200,000,000.
Media Vision ultimately became Aureal Semiconductor. When the company changed its name to Aureal, it sold all product lines, key technologies, and trademarks related to the old Media Vision to SVT Shiva, Inc. (SVTI) of San Jose, Calif. SVTI then created a new division called Media Vision Innovations, Inc. to sell existing inventory. The new division also developed and sold a few new multimedia products under the Media Vision name. SVTI agreed to purchase audio chips from Aureal for the first two years as part of the deal.
Media Vision products
Media Vision's products included PC adapter cards, other hardware, and computer games.
PC adapter cards
- Pro Audio Spectrum (1991): 8-bit ISA audio card with CD-ROM interface.
- Pro Audio Spectrum Plus: ISA audio card, 8-bit digital sampling, 16-bit digital audio playback with CD-ROM interface, Sound Blaster compatibility.
- Pro Audio Spectrum 16 (May 1992): 16-bit ISA card with CD-ROM interface, 16-bit stereo digital audio, stereo FM synthesis, Sound Blaster compatibility ; based on the MVD101 chipset.
- Thunder Board: low-cost 8-bit ISA Sound Blaster compatible sound.
- Thunder and Lightning: VGA adapter with Sound Blaster compatible sound.
- PCMCIA 16 Bit Sound Card
- Pro Audio Studio 16: enhanced version of the Pro Audio Spectrum 16 sound card, bundled with voice-recognition software and a microphone.
- Pro Audio 16 Basic: Stripped down version of Pro Audio Spectrum 16, without SCSI interface, the bundled voice recognition software and microphone; based on the MVD101 chipset.
- Pro Sonic 16: Based on Media Vision's JAZZ 16 chipset (not compatible with the Pro Audio Spectrum line).
- Pro 3-D: Based on Media Vision's JAZZ 16 chipset (not compatible with the Pro Audio Spectrum line), with built-in SRS surround sound, and KORG wavetable daughter board.
- ProZonic: Released in 1996 by Media Vision Innovations, Inc.
- Pro Movie Spectrum/Studio: a realtime video capture board.
- Pro Graphics 1024: high performance video card.
- Pro Graphics 1280: high performance video card.
- multimedia kits, each bundling a Pro Audio Spectrum sound card, CD-ROM drive and software
- Audio Port (March 1992): parallel/printer port audio device for laptop computers
- CDPC: integrated desktop CD-ROM, audio I/O, amplified speakers
- Memphis: enhanced version of the CDPC
- ReNO: portable CD-ROM/CD Audio device
- Pro Audio Spectrum Patch Panel for the Apple Macintosh
Internally, Media Vision was dominated by its large engineering and marketing departments, roughly equal in size and reporting to the Chief Operating Officer Russell Faust. Director of Manufacturing Wayne Nakamura also reported to the COO.
In addition to Component Engineer James Persall, the engineering staff included electrical engineers:
- Korhan Titizer designer of the fully custom MVA508 analog mixer ASIC
- John Minami, co-designer (with Bryan Colvin) of the digital standard-cell MVD101 ASIC
- Mike Rovner, designer of many analog PCB circuits
- John Carlsen
- John Neary
The Director of Software Engineering was Jim Gifford. Reporting to him were:
- Doug Cody (a distant relative of Buffalo Bill Cody)
- Shao Hong Ma, an ADPCM specialist who wrote embedded software
- Ken Nicholson, who later became Director of Game Software Development.
Sales & marketing
Marketing staff included:
- Tim Bratton
- Claire Miriam, Public Relations
- Ryo Koyama, Advertising
- Gary Kinsey, Developer Relations (ISV)