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Coolest Product We Didn’t See

While its main focus is on photo and video editing products such as PhotoSuite II and VideoWave II, MGI Software is working behind the scenes on a digital audio/video entertainment software product that turns a PC into a digital VCR and DVD-based home entertainment center.

The product, called Pure DIVA – short for Digital Integrated Video and Audio – won’t be officially unveiled until the Electronic Entertainment Expo next month. The software-based package, which is able to simultaneously encode and decode MPEG-2 video streams, requires a DVD-equipped 500MHz Pentium III or faster PC and a graphics card with a TV tuner and video in. Pure DIVA is initially being offered to PC OEMs, and MGI says the first PCs to include the technology will roll out during the fall time frame.

Pictures can be displayed on a computer monitor, or more likely, a large-screen TV. The system uses the PC’s hard drive to act as a digital VCR, actively buffering signals to allow for features such as replay, pan and zoom. Other features include CD audio playback, DVD movie playback and Dolby Digital sound. MGI says Pure DIVA can take advantage of the WebTV electronic program guide, but hasn’t ruled out offering its own. Pure DIVA should be available to OEMs in the next 60 days.