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Micron builds for DVD

The PC maker will become the fourth to enter the new age of digital video discs.

Micron Electronics (MUEI) will unveil new boxes with built-in DVD drives tomorrow, becoming the fourth PC maker to enter the new age of CD-ROMs.

Digital video discs let users play movies with subtitles in different languages, add parental ratings, or provide control over frame-viewing angles. DVD drives can also play interactive games or current CD-ROM titles.

Gateway 2000 last week announced a big-screen Destination PC-TV with built-in DVD. IBM announced a desktop PC due next month with a DVD-ROM drive. Toshiba also recently announced a PC with DVD-ROM drive for DVD software developers only.

Like Gateway's Destination PC-TV, Micron is using the Mpact 3600 media processor designed by Chromatic Research and Toshiba to decode the data from the DVD-ROM drive. Chromatic's processor and Toshiba's drive mechanism are combining to popularize DVD-ROM technology for consumer PCs.

Micron's Milennia MME and XRU desktops will be the first to get the drives. Micron says its decision to use the Mpact processor means that customers will be able to get new DVD features from software upgrades instead of having to upgrade the drive itself.

Micron says the new systems will include a 266-MHz Pentium II processor and 19-inch monitor. Prices will start at $3,498.