TECHNOLOGY : Graphix Zone Launches Electronic Publishing Venture Using CD-ROM

Compiled by Dean Takahashi / Times staff writer

Graphix Zone, which provides computer services and markets high-tech equipment, is getting into the publishing business with its first CD-ROM title, "Guided Tour of Multimedia."

The Irvine company has established Zone Publishing as a separate subsidiary that will focus on publishing about two titles a year on CD-ROM, or compact discs that use the same technology as compact disc players.

The contents stored on CD-ROM discs can be read by special drives and displayed on personal computer screens. Graphix Zone's first disc is an interactive, animated guide to using personal computers with so-called multimedia technology--the ability to combine computer text, animation, high-quality sound, graphics and video.

Alvin Phillips, director of the CD-ROM project for Graphix Zone, said it takes about 20 hours to go through all the information on the disc, which includes a glossary of multimedia and computer terms, an overview of where multimedia is heading, and guides for producing multimedia presentations.

Chuck Cortright, president of Graphix Zone, said the company also expects to launch a second service and marketing bureau in either Dallas or San Francisco in the next several months. Cortright said the company's original plans for expansion have been delayed as the company refines its concept in Irvine.

Cortright said he hopes "Guided Tour of Multimedia" will be bundled with computer hardware sold by major manufacturers or by software companies. Graphix Zone employs about 30 people, Cortright said, up from 17 a year ago.

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