The guidelines set a predetermined number of computer commands for developers programming for DVD. Specifically, the guidelines are centered on an application programming interface (API) for DVD development called Media Control Interface (MCI).
Without guidelines to govern the use of commands, programmers create software that is incompatible across various computer systems.
"[To date] Every software developer had to create their own custom [software] to ensure correct playback in all PCs supporting DVD. This customization resulted in the creation of multiple versions of each DVD-ROM software title. With the agreed upon commands...developers can now create a single version of a title [which] will play back in all PCs shipping with DVD," said Intel in a prepared statement.
"This is to move DVD forward," said Intel spokesperson Greg Berkin. "Before the announcement there was a great deal of discussion of what the commands were going to be. And now that's over."
Intel also announced a plan to help developers make the transition from MCI to Microsoft's DirectShow 2.0. Currently in its final beta version, the DirectShow API is expected to be released by the end of the month. This API will be part of Windows 98.
Intel tomorrow will post a white paper on the MCI-to-DirectShow transition to its DVD page.