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    DVI Technology: | Chronology | Products | Applications | Galactic Challenge | Publications | Photos & Videos |

DVI Technology: 1982-1992

    by Douglas Dixon

DVI (Digital Video Interactive) Technology
    Interactive video applications on the PC, in 1989 --
        with real-time interactive full-screen full-motion video and audio.

Developed at the David Sarnoff Research Center (RCA Labs) starting in 1982
    and brought to market by Intel Corp. though 1992.

2009 was the 20th anniversary of the first commercial DVI product, the Intel Pro750 ADP, which shipped in July 1989. This was the first PC product that provided real-time, interactive, full-screen, 30 fps motion video playback -- streaming from a CD-ROM, and running on the 386-based PC/AT platform -- almost a decade before the introduction of DVD.  See Intel DVI Pro750 Product Family (1989)

    DVI Technology Overview


  Simulations to product

warp_vid_office.jpg (21914 bytes)   Applications

  Prototypes and pilot apps

ipo_chips_89.jpg (42895 bytes)   Products

  Chips, boards, software

gc_title8408.jpg (81612 bytes)

  Galactic Challenge

  1984 interactive concept demo

dvpc_book91.jpg (47466 bytes)   Publications

  Books, articles, videos

tower_karin86.jpg (80665 bytes)   DVI Photos
      PR images, team, facilities

  DVI Videos
     Announcement, PR videos

See also -- DVI Group on LinkedIn -

See also -- DVI on Wikipedia -


  • 4/15/09 - Updated publications list
  • 1/25/09 - Photos and videos, additional publications

DVI Technology Overview

Digital Video Interactive (DVI) Technology brought interactive motion video applications to the PC platform. The futuristic concept of PC applications with integrated compressed motion video playing from CD-ROM was developed at the David Sarnoff Research Center beginning in 1983. DVI was then brought to market by Intel Corp. beginning in 1989, as a series of chip and board products with software development libraries for DOS, Windows, and OS/2. This technology lives on in Intel's Indeo video compression algorithms and Intel Smart Video Recorder video capture boards.

comdex91_best.jpg (41215 bytes)   Intel / IBM DVI ActionMedia II product
    Named "Best of Show" and "Best Multimedia Product"
    at COMDEX/Fall '91
sg98_dvi_crop.jpg (4768 bytes)   Digital Video Interactive named as 1987 SIGGRAPH technology development
    by the ACM SIGGRAPH 98 History Project
    in the SIGGRAPH 98 Time Tunnel (25th Conference)

    See Life Before the Chips: Simulating DVI Technology, D. Dixon, CACM, July 1989

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DVI Technology History

dsrc_bldg_logo_small.jpg (3133 bytes)   
rca_logo_meatball.gif (1632 bytes)    ge_logo.gif (2061 bytes)    sri_logo.gif (5354 bytes)
The development of DVI Technology began in 1983 at the David Sarnoff Research Center (a.k.a. RCA Laboratories), leading to the initial Galactic Challenge application simulation in March 1984. 

Chip design and pilot application development drove through 1985, through the confusion of the General Electric acquisition of RCA, which was announced in December 1985 and completed in 1986. 

The first chips arrived in December 1986, leading to the first public announcement at the Second CD-ROM conference in March 1987.

intel_logo.gif (489 bytes)    ipo_found_88.jpg (37792 bytes)  G.E. transferred the Sarnoff Labs to SRI International in February 1987, and then sold the DVI technology to Intel in November 1988. Almost all the original DVI Technology group also transferred from Sarnoff to Intel at that time. 

Intel moved the Princeton Operation to the Plainsboro building in June 1989.

ipo_chips_89.jpg (42895 bytes)  ds2_at91.jpg (27362 bytes)  comdex91_best.jpg (41215 bytes) The Pro750 ADP 7-board set shipped in July 1989 with AVSS DOS software, followed by the ActionMedia 750 boards in April 1990

The ActionMedia II boards with the second-generation i750 PB/DB chips shipped in November 1991, and won "Best of Show" at Comdex/Fall '91

The next-generation AVK software shipped for IBM OS/2 1.3 in November 1990, followed by the Windows 3.1 and OS/2 2.0 versions in May 1992

indeo_logo.gif (1737 bytes)    intel_svr_box.gif (6314 bytes) In Fall 1992 Microsoft announced Video for Windows with Intel scalable Indeo Video algorithm (derived from RTV). Intel also announced the RT Video board which evolved into the continuing Smart Video recorder product line.
On Sept. 17, 1992 Intel announced the closing of the Princeton Operation, to be merged into its facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon and Chandler, Arizona.

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DVI Technology Achievements

pyrlenna8306.jpg (123043 bytes)Early technical simulations of the DVI product concept developed at Sarnoff in 1983 demonstrated the feasibility of aggressive motion video compression to PC / CD-ROM data rates

  • Motion video compression with multi-resolution pyramid approach, becomes PLV
  • YIQ color subsampling to 4:1:1 for data reduction


gc_title8408.jpg (81612 bytes)  

The Galactic Challenge demonstration developed at Sarnoff in 1984 included many seminal ideas which were to become key concepts in DVI technology and future multimedia applications

  • Compressed motion video and audio at PC data rates
  • Interactive control of motion through environment
  • 360-degree panoramas seamed from still photos
  • Animated overlays of objects and motion video


warp_vid_office.jpg (21914 bytes)

 The microcodable video processor architecture developed through 1985-86 provided powerful support for video / graphics operations

  • 2-D video effects: fast polygon generation and moving objects
  • 3-D rendering: texture-mapped 3-D scene generation with hidden-surface removal and smooth (Gouraud) shading
  • Fisheye panoramas


The DVI Pilot applications developed in 1986 demonstrated the potential of interactive video-graphic applications

  • Palenque: Surrogate travel adventure with motion video travel, 360-degree panoramas, video help, and graphical overlays
  • Sesame Street: Children's wordbook with coordinated video and audio clips, and text effects
  • Design & Decorate: 3-D texture-mapped interior design visualization
  • Flight Simulator: Real-time 3-D texture-mapped scenes



First real-time Video Processor chips, 750 PA/DA, December 1986
     Decoded first compressed motion video sequences

 First public demonstration of DVI Technology, March 1987

  • Pilot applications playing motion video from CD-ROM on 6 MHz IBM PC/AT
  • First real-time AVSS DOS development software, multi-tasked applications and real-time video and audio decompression under DOS


indeo_logo.gif (1737 bytes) Introduction of RTV Real-Time Video compression algorithm in March 1988, which evolves into the Intel Indeo video and audio compressor product lines

 First PC product for real-time, interactive, full-screen, 30 fps motion video and audio playback: Shipped Pro750 ADP, July 1989
Shipped ActionMedia 750 board set with AVSS 2.10 DOS software, April 1990

comdex91_best_reduce.jpg (11604 bytes)

Intel and IBM ship ActionMedia II board set, November 1991
    with i750 PB/DB second-generation Video Processor chip set
    Wins "Best of Show" and "Best Multimedia Product" at COMDEX/Fall '91

First Digital Compression Facility (DCF) for PLV compression, 1991

Real-time video playback and capture under OS/2 and Windows, Nov. 1991, May 1992
Portable AVK software (Audio / Video Kernel) for multiple video & audio streams

  • Full-screen or genlocked windowed, fully interactive, full frame rate
  • Programmable resolution and frame rates for playback and capture
  • Runs on PC / ISA and PS/2 MCI bus, under Windows, OS/2, and DOS
  • Displays NTSC and PAL formats on VGA and XGA displays; Captures NTSC and PAL


intel_svr_box.gif (6314 bytes)

Indeo real-time PC software decompression (from RTV) under Video for Windows, Fall 1992
    Becomes Intel Indeo video and audio scalable compression product line

RT Video board product (becomes Smart Video Recorder) for real-time capture
    Becomes Intel Smart Video Recorder product line

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