The REALmagic Hollywood DVD playback card allows existing PCs to show DVD movies.
The card is based on MPEG-2 technology, a standard for video playback. The card can also access CD audio, CD-ROM, and the older MPEG-1 standard, letting it replace CD-ROM drives in computers. The card also offers Dolby Digital surround sound and hardware scaling.
The card supports DVD's copy protection scheme; contrast, color, and brightness of the playback can be adjusted independent of the computer monitor image.
REALmagic also includes Sigma Designs' DVD-Station playback software.
The card will require a Pentium-based PC running at a minimum of 133 MHz. Sigma Designs will begin shipping the card to computer manufacturers during the second quarter of 1997 and will also sell the card as part of a DVD upgrade kit for under $500.
Later this year, personal computers with DVD-ROM drives are expected from companies such as Compaq Computer, IBM, and Toshiba. PCs with DVD-ROM drives will be able to play full-length movies with high-quality video and audio, sophisticated games, and multimedia content far beyond the capabilities of today's CD-ROM drives.
Standalone DVD players that attach to television sets are also available to play movies with subtitles in different languages, add parental ratings controls, or provide control over frame-viewing angles.