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More Moving Pictures Will Soon Invade Your Pc


Developments to Watch

MORE MOVING PICTURES WILL SOON INVADE YOUR PC

Get ready to see lots more video on the screen of your personal computer. A soon-to-be-announced industry standard could stimulate rapid development of games, corporate training materials, and other software that includes full-screen, full-motion video. So far, only one company, Sigma Designs Inc. in Fremont, Calif., makes a plug-in board for PCs that can handle video stored on CD-ROMs in the so-called moving picture experts group (MPEG) format. But lots of other companies are getting ready to jump in.

The problem is to create software that interacts with the plug-in boards in a predictable way. To avoid a profusion of different so-called application-programmer interfaces, key industry players formed a standard-setting committee. The committee's original idea was to come up with an alternative to Sigma Designs' proprietary standard. But that could have taken a year or more. To speed things up, C-Cube Microsystems Inc. in Milpitas, Calif., whose MPEG-decompression chip forms the heart of MPEG video boards, brokered a deal in August for the industry group to adopt most of the features of Sigma's standard. The agreement is set to be announced in late September.EDITED BY PETER COY


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