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Macs see video ahead

Macworld Expo Macworld Expo will provide the first glimpse into the future of multimedia Macs when Philips demonstrates its TriMedia processor.

Macworld Expo Macworld Expo will provide the first glimpse into the future of multimedia Macs when Philips Semiconductors demonstrates its TriMedia processor, which speeds the playback of MPEG video while improving sound and graphics.

Consumers for the first time will see a demonstration of MPEG-2 on the TriMedia processor. Looking even further into the future, Philips will demonstrate an MPEG-4 prototype that can support four layers of video, allowing different parts of a screen to show video at different frame rates.

The TriMedia processor can already process MPEG-4 video, but MPEG-4 is not expected to become an industry standard until late 1998.

While many interesting capabilities lie on the horizon, the TriMedia processor will also be shown running software applications such as H.324 videoconferencing, AC-3 audio--which creates six independent channels of "surround sound" audio--and wave table synthesis.

Philips's media processor is already slated to be used in Apple products in the first half of 1997 in response to Intel's introduction of its MMX-enabled processors.

The TriMedia is a specialized but powerful processor which offloads much of the data-intensive multimedia processing from the "host" PowerPC processor.