MPEG is a method of compressing high quality sound and video to such an extent that it requires only 150 Kbytes per second or less and so allows, for the first time, full motion video and stereo audio to be stored on a conventional CD-ROM. The Movie Magic MPEG cards (which have been developed in association with OnLine Media, who uses a similar technology in its set-top boxes) allow full screen, full motion MPEG videos to be played back at VHS quality or better, with CD-quality stereo sound tracks.
MPEG videos can be played from hard disc or MPEG compatible CD ROM drives, and over suitably fast networks. Any of the new VideoCD format CDs are suitable (a wide range of feature length films and music videos are available from High Street outlets, costing under £20). MPEG is a practical means of including video in multimedia educational resources and so many existing interactive packages in the Acorn market are also becoming 'MPEG enhanced'. Examples include Anglia TVs range of multimedia CDs - titles such as Understanding The Body, Castles and The World's Weather will soon include MPEG video clips.
The Movie Magic boards are fully compatible with Acorn's Replay system, so that applications (such as Impression, Genesis and Magpie) which can display Replay movies will also be able to display the better-quality MPEG movies. The Movie Magic software offers the usual video type controls - for example pause (with a perfect, rock steady freeze frame), fast forward, rewind etc. and the ability to capture any frame directly into the computer as a 24-bit full-colour sprite (without a separate digitiser card).
The Movie Magic card includes a Scart socket suitable for connection to a separate RGB monitor or TV capable of 50Hz PAL modes (for example Acorn AKF11, Eizo 9060 or a normal TV set with a Scart connector).
Price: £100 + VAT (£117.50 inc)
Suitable only for Acorn Risc PCs with 4MBytes RAM. Requires a VideoCD-compatible CD-ROM drive and CDFS 2.23 or later.