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Nuon DVD technology still alive under new owners

18 Apr, 2002 By: David Ward

Don't count out Nuon DVD players just yet. A federal bankruptcy court judge last month approved the sale of all the assets of VM Labs to chip maker Genesis Microchip, which is taking a wait-and-see approach about whether to continue with the Nuon brand and its enhanced content strategy.

VM Labs CEO Richard Miller confirmed Genesis acquired the intellectual property for NUON chips out of bankruptcy for a little more than $13 million, adding that 40 former VM Labs employees--including Miller himself-- have joined Genesis and are working out of that company's San Jose, CA facility. Not joining the new venture are former VM Labs Marketing Director Greg LaBrec and home video industry veteran Paul Culberg, who had left Columbia TriStar in 2000 to lead the effort to get Hollywood studios to create dedicated content for Nuon players.

While Genesis' primary reason for buying the VM Labs' assets is to obtain a high-quality MPEG2 decoder technology for use in progressive scan DVD players, Miller insists Nuon may yet live on.
Genesis continues to manufacture chips with VM Labs technology for hardware makers Samsung and others, Miller said, adding Samsung has shipped new models with the Nuon chip to Europe. Some of these new players may contain Nuon features such as zoom and smooth scanning, but without the Nuon brand. “The Nuon brand is an option the manufacturers' have,” Miller said. “The brand means compatible with Nuon content and there's not a lot of Nuon content out there.”

Genesis officials have indicated next step is to develop single chip solution that combines VM Labs DVD decoding technology with high-end video/signal processor, which Genesis acquired when it purchased Sage earlier this year.

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