Microsoft Announces Video for Windows

Delivering Digital Video Computing in Windows to the Mainstream

San Francisco -- November 10, 1992 -- (Business Wire) -- Microsoft Corp. Tuesday announced and began shipment of Microsoft Video for Windows, a product that extends the functionality of the Windows operating system and enables customers of Windows to use video to communicate their ideas more effectively.

Video for Windows enables users to play back, incorporate, edit and create digital video across all implementations of Windows version 3.1, from the Modular Windows operating system on consumer devices through Microsoft Windows 3.1 on today's desktop PCs to the Microsoft Windows NT operating system on high-end workstations.

``The benefits of digital video computing are tremendous,'' said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft. ``Video is a powerful communications tool for a range of applications, such as business presentations, employee training and electronic mail. With Video for Windows, we've made the benefits of digital video available to millions of customers using Windows.''

The Video for Windows Retail Product

Video for Windows is both an architecture and a retail product sold to end users. The Video for Windows retail product includes a set of tools for playback, capture and editing of video. Specific components include:

-- An enhanced Media Player that enables users to cut, paste and play back digital video sequences under Windows.

-- VidEdit, a versatile, easy-to-use video editor that enables users to combine, edit and compress digital video clips.

-- VidCap, a fast and simple tool for capturing digital video from analog sources, such as a videodisc, video camera or videotape.

-- Three compression/decompression (codec) algorithms. These codecs offer a range of compression ratios, frame rates and color depths, giving developers and users flexibility in adapting Video for Windows to their needs.

-- A CD-ROM disc containing hundreds of sample video clips that users can immediately incorporate into their documents and presentations is also included. Users may easily search through and manipulate the video clips using the Browser, a Video for Windows utility.

-- The Video for Windows Converter converts QuickTime video for playback in the Windows environment.

Scalability Enables Video for Windows to Support Wide Range of Users

A particularly important element of the Video for Windows architecture is its scalability. A video sequence played back under Video for Windows automatically takes advantage of all of the capabilities of the playback system resulting in digital video with better color, and smoother motion on higher performance PCs.

If the playback system is lacking in horsepower, Video for Windows handles the system's shortcomings gracefully, displaying as much information as possible and always maintaining audio continuity. And if the playback system features a video coprocessor, such as Intel's i750 video processor, Video for Windows can exploit that hardware to improve image quality and enhance visual impact.

``Scalability sets Video for Windows apart from previous digital video efforts,'' said Rob Glaser, vice president of Multimedia and Consumer Systems at Microsoft. ``In the past, users had to choose between hardware-assisted digital video that provided high-quality images but was expensive, or software-only digital video that only allowed very small video clips. Now with Video for Windows, we provide the best of both worlds.''

The Video for Windows architecture takes advantage of key elements of Windows, such as object linking and embedding (OLE) and the multimedia capabilities of Windows 3.1. The Video for Windows support of OLE means that more than 150 shipping Windows-based applications, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Mail, and third-party applications, such as WordPerfect and Lotus Notes automatically inherit digital video capabilities. Video for Windows extends the Windows architecture by establishing key new architectural components, including:

-- A common file format for video information, called Audio Visual Interleaved (AVI).

-- Installable Codec Interface, a standard interface for installing additional software and hardware codecs.

-- Video Capture Interface, a standard interface for video capture hardware. Video for Windows Includes Intel's Indeo Video Technology

The Video for Windows retail product includes Intel Corp.'s Indeo video technology. Indeo enables either software-only playback on 486-based PCs or with hardware assistance using products based on Intel's i750 video processor. When used with extra hardware, Indeo delivers full screen, full motion video, as well as single-step capture-and-compression of video information.

``We are pleased to have worked with Microsoft to incorporate our Indeo video technology,'' said Andy Grove, president of Intel Corp. ``We think this will open the market for digital video to the broadest possible audience.''

Today more than 50 hardware and software vendors announced support for and products that work with Video for Windows. Supporters include major hardware manufacturers, such as Dell and Digital Equipment Corp.; major video tools developers, such as Adobe and Asymetrix; and major media companies, such as Brittanica and Viacom.

System Requirements, Pricing and Availability

For playback, the Video for Windows product requires a personal computer with a 386sx/16 or higher processor running the Microsoft Windows operating system version 3.1, an audio board compatible with Windows, a VGA display (256-color or greater is recommended) and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device.

The following is required for a video capturing system: a personal computer with a 386/33 or higher processor running Microsoft Windows version 3.1; a 5.25-inch or 3.5-inch high-density disk drive; a hard disk with 50MB of storage available (more available disk space is recommended); an audio board compatible with Windows; a VGA display (256 color or greater is recommended); a video capture board and device driver; a video source, such as a camcorder, VCR or videodisc; and a Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device. The Video for Windows product is compliant with the Multimedia PC specification and the package will have the MPC trademark on it.

Video for Windows is available now from resellers nationwide for the suggested retail price of $199. For product information please call, 800/227-4679. Technical Notes describing the Video for Windows architecture can be found on the WINEXT CompuServe forum.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.


-- Microsoft is a registered trademark and Windows, Modular Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

-- QuickTime is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc.

-- WordPerfect is a registered trademark of WordPerfect Corp.

-- Lotus Notes is a registered trademark of Lotus Development Corp.

-- Indeo is a trademark of Intel Corp.

-- Not all the video clips have redistribution rights, please read the license agreement contained in the Video for Windows package.

CONTACT: Microsoft Corp., Redmond Collins Hemingway or Marty Taucher, 206/882-8080 General Sales and Product Information, 800/426-9400 or Waggener Edstrom, Portland June McLaren or Alison O'Brien, 503/245-0905 14:08 ET NOV 10, 1992

Copyright (c) 1992, Business Wire