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1.

We've been using cassette decks for years and they work fine, why should I upgrade to a digital lab ?

  The majority of your content material is now (or will soon be) in digital format.
2.
What is the difference between a fully digital lab, a hybrid lab and an analog lab?
  Digital Labs use PC's and the school network whereas Hybrid and Analog Labs require proprietary cabling and hardware with a dedicated classroom.
3.
To me it seems like their isn't much difference between the Sony System and other systems, what sets the Sony systems apart from the other systems offered by other companies?
  Sony Virtuoso contains many unique featurers not available on other systems. The Sony/SANS programmers, technical staff and source code are located "in-house" in America. Virtuoso is not an OEM version of another manufactures software designed and purchased in Hong Kong. This allows total control to add features that our users request. Virtuoso is distributed in America and world wide thru a network of educational resellers who have direct access to the Sony/SANS programming and support staff.
4.

Who is SANS, Inc.; I see the name on my materials/brochures?

 

Software And Network Solutions, Inc. is the official licensee of Sony Language Lab Software.

5.

Can I use materials/lessons from publishers (like CDs from books) with the Sony Lab?

 

Yes.

 

6.

Do you provide lessons and/or content for the system? Where can I get lessons/materials to use with the system?

 

No, we do not provide content or lessons. There are many publishers offering digital content that works with our systems.

7.

How do I know that Virtuoso won't get out-dated like my old cassette based lab?

 

We know that teaching methodologies, national, state, and local standards often demand change to produce more positive educational outcomes. Software based labs can easily be upgraded and since our programers and source code are in America we are continually enhancing our capabilities making Virtuoso the most up to date system available.

 

8.

We have a lot of old cassettes and video tapes, will I still be able to use them with the Sony Virtuoso system?

 

Yes.

9.

We want to get a new digital lab but some of my instructors are not very computer literate and may not know what MPEGs, MP3s, WAVs or digitizing is, is that a problem?

 

We offer unlimited user training, interactive training CDs, written operation guides and activity manuals for each school.

 

10.

I have seen other systems that don't need computers, why should I get a Sony system that requires computers?

 

Without computers you are denying teachers and students access to web based materials and other computer based activities including word processing in their target language.

 

11.

We already have a Sony Symphony hybred system and we want to upgrade to a Virtuoso system, is this possible?

 

Yes.

 
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12.

We really like the Sony Virtuoso system, but cannot afford it right now, what other options do we have?

 

There are four levels of Virtuoso, contact your salesman to discuss your options.

 

13.

What is the difference between Virtuoso Major and Virtuoso Minor?

 

Features and pricing, both are fully digital language labs.

 

14.

What is required to upgrade our Virtuoso system?

 

Software upgrades from APT, to Apprentice, to Minor and to Major.

15.

We already have computers and servers, do we have to get new ones from you or do we have to change what we have?

 

An evaluation of your school's systems by Bratton Corporation personnel is required. Most systems are adequate.

16.

We want to put in a Sony Digital system, but our tech people are very leery about putting anything on our servers, what is required to go on our servers?

 

Storage only. No software will be put on your servers.

 

17.

When I purchase a Language System I purchase it from the manufacturer, right?

 

No. Language System Manufacturers sell their Language Systems through an Education Reseller network. A school selects a reseller who then helps them design their school's system. With a Sony system, your reseller represents the software producer not a 
company selling a private labled version of someone elses system. Selecting a reseller needs to be a cautious in depth investigation.

 
18.

Every Sony reseller is the same and has the same training, right?

 

No. Each reseller has varying degrees of training and expertise. Schools should visit several schools from each reseller and ask why did a school choose that particular reseller over another reseller.

19.

Are the digital systems just like the analog systems only with computers?

 

No. The design and integration of a digital system is very different than an analog. The level of expertise in networks, servers, network design and computers is critical in the success of a system. A school should consider the reseller's "real" experience in digital systems with network servers.

 
20.

What is an MPEG Video Server?

 

A Video server is a specialized Network Server that is now being installed into many Digital Language Systems. The process allows language teachers to first ENCODE (digitize) the Foreign Language Departments videotapes, laser discs, satellite video broadcasts as MPEG1 Digital Video Files. This is done in a specially designed workstation where the video program is played into the encoder computer. Once the program is encoded it is then copied to the Video Server. Now all students in the lab can independently view, control, play, pause, rewind, fast forward, search the video all at their own pace. Video servers can store hundreds of hours of video programs and allow all students to independently watch the same video at different points or any of the different videos simultaneously. 

21.

Do all Language System resellers promote, sell and install Video Servers?

 

No, only several of the resellers promote, sell and install Video Servers as part of the Digital Language System Solution. An extensive background in Networks, computers, servers and network switching hardware is required to successfully integrate a Video Server onto a School LAN, WAN Network.

22.

Isn't a Video Server just a regular data server with lots of memory and storage?

 

No, in fact this couldn't be further from the truth. A Video Server delivers "time critical" data. This allows the video to be full screen, full motion video just as if you are watching a videotape. If the video is only a small window, the video is jerky and the audio (sound) is not synchronized with the video, the video is worthless for language purposes. A specialized video server allows 50-1000 students to simultaneously access the same video program or different program with full screen playback.

23.

Why do I need a video server in my digital lab?

 

One of the main reasons for designing a digital language lab is immediate access of information i.e., word processing, internet, email and audio recording. Why should video be any different? Video is extremely powerful but is not used to its full potential due to the videotape and VCR. All students are forced to watch video "lock step" so if they do not understand some part of the video the opportunity for learning is lost. With a video server all students can watch, review, re-review different parts of the program simultaneously until they understand the program. So with the immediate information need video should not be left to a tape and VCR.

24.

Should I install the same system as another school or is my system a custom design?

 

Each system must be a custom design to address the specific needs of a language department. Many questions should be asked and many discussions should take place to insure the system is designed properly.

 

25.

Our town is building a new school. When should we start discussing the new language lab for the school?

 

The earlier the better. Architects need to be informed of the space, power, data and

acoustic treatment requirements as early as possible in a new building project.

26.

How should I get started in planning a new Digital Language System?

 

First contact companies that specialize in Digital Language Systems. Ask for a Digital System customer list and go visit several schools. Ask why they chose the company they did. Ask if they looked at other companies and if they didn't ask why did they only look at one company. Next meet with the different companies and ask many questions regarding experience in digital language systems. Finally select a company and work closely with them on all aspects of the system. If your project spans several months or years ask for updates and new installation lists. If you are not getting good information go back and look at another language system reseller and maybe change your direction. Whatever you plan today will change in six months or one year therefore the company you select should be keeping up to date with technology and improving your initial system design. If they do not do this for you - go to another reseller.