Pure DIVA Turns PCs into Digital VCRs

Move over, TiVo. Step aside, ReplayTV. Canada's MGI Software has introduced new software that will turn Pentium III computers into digital VCRs. The development was announced in mid-May at the Electronic Entertainment Expo '99 in Los Angeles.

PCs running the company's Pure DIVA (Digital Interactive Video and Audio) software will play CDs and DVDs, and they can record an hour of video in 3 GB of hard-disk space. Instantaneous pause and playback can be used even while recording in real time. Pure DIVA also has slow-motion and zoom features that might prove popular with sports fans.

Pure DIVA will let users digitally record video from cable, satellite feeds, or other sources, such as video tape or laserdisc. The software is configured to let users program their PCs to record like VCRs. System requirements include a 500MHz Pentium III, 128MB of RAM, and an AGP video card. Hard-disk capacity is the only limit on recording length. Serious users might want to install a dedicated hard drive in their computers for video recording.

International Data Corporation analyst Sean Kaldor says consumers are reluctant to buy expensive, unproven new hardware such as the hard-disk video recorders now being marketed by TiVo and ReplayTV. But MGI faces a different problem, he says: changing consumers' conception of the computer as primarily an information device. Although video games are among the most popular computer applications, PCs have not yet moved into home-entertainment systems in significant numbers. Marketed properly, Pure DIVA could help change that.

MGI Software is partially owned by Intel Corporation, which invested $2.8 million in MGI in September 1997.