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Macs ready for DVD by '98

Apple will incorporate DVD-ROM drives into most of its Macintosh products by early 1998.

Apple Computer (AAPL) will incorporate DVD-ROM drives into most of its Macintosh products by early 1998, with some models appearing by late 1997.

Digital video discs are able to deliver better audio and video compared to CD-ROMs now in use. DVDs will initially be able to store 4.7GB of multimedia data, enough space for a two-hour movie with high-quality sound. They will eventually hold up to 17GB of data, while CD-ROMs can hold a maximum of around 650MB.

Company representatives in Cannes, France, today demonstrated a modified Performa with a DVD-ROM drive in conjunction with announcement of support for the Macintosh as an authoring platform from a number of multimedia content developers. Apple also said that it would be developing a Web site that will provide information to consumers and developers on DVD products.

New PowerBook and desktop models are expected to be shipping with DVD-ROM drives by early 1998, Apple said.

Integrating DVD-ROM with current multimedia and upcoming processor technologies is a top priority, according to Carlos Montalvo, vice president of Apple's interactive media group. Such technologies include the QuickTime Media Layer for integrated audio and video, 3D and virtual reality technologies, PowerPC chips from Exponential that run at 500 MHz and above, and the TriMedia multimedia processors from Philips.

Apple officials also demonstrated a new PowerBook, code-named Hooper. As previously reported by CNET, Hooper will initially be running a 200-MHz 603e PowerPC processor and will be offered later with a 240-MHz PowerPC chip.