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Thomas Yuen Takes a Shot at Multimedia : Technology: The AST Research co-founder forms company called NuReality to develop and sell products.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Thomas C.K. Yuen, who made more than $60 million as one of the founders of computer maker AST Research Inc., has formed a new company, NuReality, to develop and sell multimedia products.

Newport Beach-based NuReality will initially market products to enhance sound in video games. The products are based on technology developed by SRS Labs Inc., a Newport Beach-based start-up company in which Yuen bought a majority stake last month for $2.7 million.

Yuen, who serves as chairman of SRS Labs, will be president of NuReality.

NuReality is the first of three ventures that Yuen said he intends to launch in the next several months as part of his long-planned return to the computer industry.

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“I’ve had enough rest,” Yuen said in a telephone interview Monday. “I’ve done a lot of looking. . . . I believe in this market for multimedia,” or computers and software that can combine text, sound, graphics and video.

SRS Labs was formed last summer when a group led by investor Stephen Sedmak purchased a patented sound technology developed by Hughes Aircraft Co.

Now Yuen’s company will market SRS Labs’ technology worldwide as part of its Vivid 3D sound enhancement system for video games. The device, which can be added to personal computers or Nintendo and Sega game systems, will compete with other companies that have licensed SRS’ technology, such as Calypso Micro Products in Los Gatos, Calif.

Yuen said NuReality will hire area manufacturers to produce Vivid 3D, which will be available in April for less than $100. Yuen said he also plans to start two other companies soon, including a firm that will specialize in direct marketing of portable notebook computers and accessories. He declined to identify the third company or reveal further details.

Yuen co-founded AST Research in 1981 and helped it grow to a billion-dollar company. He resigned in 1992 after a power struggle with co-founder Safi Qureshey.

After leaving AST, Yuen founded Atlantis, a Newport Beach start-up, to seek new opportunities in the computer-related business. NuReality, a subsidiary of Atlantis, will focus on developing multimedia products in addition to Vivid 3D. Yuen is the sole owner of NuReality and Atlantis.

Yuen said his company includes a number of former AST veterans, including Robert J. Becker, a former vice president of government system sales; Gregory A. Cutler, a manager in AST’s consumer products division; Alan D. Kraemer, a former vice president of engineering; Tami L. Pereira, a former vice president of international sales and marketing operations, and J. Ronald Shiroke, who held various titles in sales at AST.


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