Two major Japanese manufacturers are vying with each other to deliver DVD (digital video disk) devices in time for early spring. Microsoft has pledged DVD support in future versions of Windows and NT provided via device and class drivers along with Active Movie and Direct Draw APIs. A universal disk format file system is being developed which will support UDF-formatted DVD discs. Compaq has promised to bring DVD-equipped PCs to market as soon as possible. Toshiba said it will introduce what it claims to be the first PC implementation of a DVD drive. At the same time, Sony announced plans for its own families of DVD products, likely to be in the retail and reseller channels by March. The Toshiba Infinia DVD PC 7220 will come with an integrated DVD drive, a 200MHz Intel MMX chip, 32Mb of standard memory, a 3.73Gb hard drive, Mpeg-2 video decompression software, a graphics co-processor with 2Mb of video memory, a 33.6 modem and two universal serial bus ports. Sony?s offerings are not confined to the PC arena, but cross over into home entertainment systems. The company will release its drives to OEMs for sampling at the end of this month and, it claimed, will introduce hardware with software in early April. Sony is hoping to push its own case by introducing a reference standard DVD video player and DVD-Rom drive. It estimates the US market will buy half a million players this year. This figure is expected to rise to 10 million worldwide by 2000.
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