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Sinking DVD prices are an exciting development for 1999's PCs.
By Sabrina Dent, Forum Manager

The hottest new technology for your PC is DVD—Digital Video Disc. DVDs look a lot like CDs, but can hold up to 28 times more data than a CD-ROM. In addition to storing text and graphics, DVD is the superlative medium for distributing movies and video for PCs. And not just the tiny (though helpful) movies you get on your current CD-ROM encyclopaedia, either—we’re talking full-length, full-blown, full-screen major motion pictures and music videos here.

Santa dropped by my house last month and left behind Sheryl Crow’s new album, The Globe Sessions, so I popped it into my DVD player, which had recently replaced my CD-ROM drive. I nearly fell of my chair when instead of just playing music, the thing took over my PC and launched a great-quality music video. One for every track, in fact. Plus interactive liner notes. Plus full-motion transitions and credits. Plus adjustable everything. I was in Geek Girl heaven.

Increasingly, the CDs you buy in music stores will be DVD enhanced, giving those with DVD players in their PCs a complete multi-media music and video experience. (Those with traditional CD-ROM drives will still be able to listen to the sound tracks as always.) More and more movies are coming out on DVD, as well, and 1999 is poised to be the year for a major glut of DVD software releases.

If you’re in the market for a new computer, lack of a DVD drive will soon make your PC yesterday’s news if you opt out of the option. But if you already have a 133 MHz Pentium machine, you can currently upgrade to DVD for as little as 150. The upgrade kit will add a DVD-Video board and an MPEG-2 decoder board for high-quality video; for sound, you’ll need either Dolby Pro Logic speakers or an AC-3-capable stereo receiver to get Dolby AC-3 Digital Surround Sound.

The best DVD hardware news is that prices are set to plummet for both upgrades and new PC components this year. The best DVD software news is that Windows ’98 is designed to support the DVD add-on, which should seriously stimulate DVD software development this year.

Whether you buy today or buy later, DVD is a standard for now and for the future that will eventually make it’s debut on your desktop.

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