Multimedia Applications

A multimedia application is an application that incorporates sound, video, or both. It delivers information more powerfully than printed material or standard sound and video. Unlike printed material, a multimedia application contains more than a series of static images or text. Unlike standard sound or video presentations, a multimedia application allows the user to navigate through media and interact with information quickly and easily. Even when the focus of the application is to help a user produce a printed document or perform calculations, the application can use sound, video, or both to enrich the user's experience.

Developing multimedia applications can be as simple as adding an existing sound or video recording to an application or as complex as building an editing tool for customizing multimedia presentations.

Practically any computer that uses the Microsoft® Windows® operating system and has a VGA monitor and a sound card can exploit multimedia features. Millions of computer users already own equipment like this, and many also have compact disc (CD) players. More and more, these computers are becoming the final delivery system for information. People are sending electronic mail instead of letters. Instead of reaching for a bulky printed encyclopedia, they are enjoying the full-color graphics, sound, and video of a CD-based encyclopedia.

The definition of a multimedia computer has been established by an industry-wide group, the Multimedia PC Marketing Council. This council has defined two sets of minimum specifications for multimedia computers. For a description of these specifications, see Multimedia PC Specifications. An application does not need to take full advantage of all of this hardware to qualify as a multimedia application.

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