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S3 Press Conference
by Rick Smith (August 1995)

At the recent press conference held in Sunnyvale, California, on June 13, 1995, that I attended electronically, there were several announcements that will have a direct impact on multimedia producers in the upcoming months.

The video portions of most current CD-ROM titles are adequate, but hardly great. Sure you can get a faster computer or more memory or a different video accelerator or something else, but this isn't cheap and the video may not get much better. What I expect, along with most consumers, is for the video I watch on my computer to look like the video I watch on my TV set. I want a no-compromise, smooth, real-time video with CD quality sound and I want it at an affordable price.

To try to meet these expectations, vendors have used MPEG standards, but this has not been affordable for the quickly expanding, home computer market. If this high quality video was affordable, multimedia encyclopedias developers would include 20 minute documentaries instead of 20 second video clips. Computer software packages would now include useful video help segments with the quality of a videotape and hopefully eliminate "having to read the manual".

S3 has just announced a three chip solution that will provide 16 million colors, full screen video, 30 frames per second video and CD quality sound at a reasonable cost. It consists of the TRIO 64V+ graphics accelerator, Scenic MX/1 and MX/2 MPEG audio/video decoder and the Sonic/AD audio DAC. This chipset provides broadcast quality special effects such as fade in/fade out, stretching, blending and filtering and also can display any digitized video source from camcorders, cameras, TV tuners or laser disks.

In conjunction with this announcement, Compaq Computer Corporation, the world's largest supplier of personal computers announced that it will support the MPEG standard by using this new S3 chipset in future Presario PCs and consumer PCs for this upcoming holiday buying season.

That's right - in less that six months consumers will have the affordable capability to play full motion video and CD quality audio from a live source of CD-ROM without sacrificing CPU performance! This will allow extensive graphics capability that will reduce response time in interactive games and titles which will dramatically improve the multimedia experience.

Now that the platforms are being ready and the marketplace is growing - are your titles ready?

Copyright 1995 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

   
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