The Trailers Pulling Up To Your Video Store

It happens to everyone: Eager to veg out with a good movie on the tube, you saunter into the local video store. But there you're faced with a major decision--whether to see Ghost Dad or Hudson Hawk. You could ask the clerk, but she might not know--or want to tell you--the truth about these turkeys. By next year, that may no longer be a problem if you rent at a Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. store. Working with IBM, the video-store chain has begun testing a computer data-base system that lets you view 30-second clips of as many as 1,100 movies. But instead of storing the footage on a 12-inch videodisk, as current preview systems do, the IBM PS/2 stores it in digitized form on a compact disk, or CD-ROM. That way viewers can find movies by title, director, subject matter, or ratings.

It's one of the latest uses of the digital-video interactive (DVI) technology that IBM has developed with Intel Corp. IBM's add-in DVI board for the PS/2 allows video information to be stored in a hundredth of the memory space usually needed, so it can fit on a small optical disk or even a conventional hard disk. But the quality isn't the same as true video. Blockbuster says it hasn't committed to using IBM's machine yet.