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The NUON was a 128-bit multimedia processor chip that was sold to a variety of electronics companies to add extra functions and features to their DVD players and set-top boxes.

As well as providing advanced functions for people wanting to user their DVD players to listen to CDs, play karaoke discs or, shock horror, watch DVDs, the NUON acted as a 3DO or MSX-style standard format for gaming.

Consumer electronics companies that released NUON-based players included Samsung, Toshiba and RCA (Thomson).

The Games

A small selection of games were released for use on NUON-capable DVD players. By far the most notable and desirable was Tempest 3000, Jeff Minter’s update to his Atari Jaguar classic.

Minter also created a Virtual Light Machine that was pre-loaded onto the NUON chip.

Other titles included Space Invaders XL, The Next Tetris, action game FreeFall 3050 A.D and kart racer Merlin Racing.

People

A number of industry veterans worked for VM Labs, the comapny behind the NUON processor.

Chairman and CEO Richard Miller founded VM Labs after leaving Atari where he was vice president of technology and was one of the key figures behind the ill-fated Atari Jaguar console.

Nicholas Lefevre, VM Labs vice-president of Business and Legal Affairs, was the man responsible for building third-party relations and strategic partnerships. Before VM Labs he worked for a number of hardware and software companies, including Commodore, Atari and Sega.

Bill Rehbock, vice-president of Third-Party Development, came to VM Labs after working at Sony where he headed North American library development for the PlayStation. One of his projects at Sony was the launch of Net Yaroze, the home development system for the PlayStation.

Jeff Minter. See arrgh’s Jeff Minter/Llamasoft section.

Thanks

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Major events

Early 2002
VM Labs file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Genesis Microchip buy VM Labs’ IP

July 2002
Genesis cancel the NUON project and lay off all former VM Labs staff

Emulators

Mac OS X

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iOS

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OUYA/Android

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Features

NUON Media Processor

MPEG-2 MP@ML Audio/Video Decode
Video Scaling, Zoom, Picture in Graphics
Dolby AC-3, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, LPCM, PCM
3D Spatializer, ProLogic
CD-DA, HDCD, CD-TEXT
DVD Audio, MP3, DTS
Advanced Karaoke functions
OpenGL 3D graphics engine