MT1: UNIT 1 OVERVIEW OF MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY-Introduction to Multimedia Technology

INTRODUCTIONThe term "multimedia" describes a new application-oriented technology that is based on the multisensory nature of humans and the evolving ability of computers to convey diverse types of information. Fundamental to this technology is the ability to manipulate digital forms of audio and video information in the realm of the computer.Multimedia requires integrating storage, communication and presentation mechanisms for diverse data types in a single technology. This unit will introduce you to the multimedia basics. It will also provide an overview of the essential aspects of multimedia. Thus, it is recommended that you go through the entire module systematically to gain some insight of the course.2.0 OBJECTIVESAt the end of this unit, you should be able to:Give a concise definition of multimediaDiscuss the history of multimedia technologyIdentify the desired features of a multimedia System.

HISTORY OF MUTLMEDIA

The term “multimedia” was first coined by Bob Goldstein to promote the July 1966 opening of his “LightWorks at L’Oursin” show at Southampton, Long Island. In the late 1970s the term was used to describe presentations consisting of multi-projector slide shows timed to an audio track.

However, by the 1990s ‘multimedia’ took on its current meaning. In the 1998 fourth edition of McGraw-Hill’s Multimedia: Making It Work, Tay Vaughan declared, “Multimedia is any combination of text, graphic art, sound, animation, and video that is delivered by computer or other electronic means. When you allow the user – t he viewer of the project – to control what and when these elements are delivered, it is interactive multimedia.

Some computers which were marketed in the 1990s were called “multimedia” computers because they incorporated a CD-ROM drive, which allowed for the delivery of several hundred megabytes of video, picture, and audio data.

3.2 DEFINTION OF MULTIMEDIA

Several authors have defined multimedia in different ways. Essentially, it can be described as the integration of sound, animation, and digitized video with more traditional types of data such as text. It is also seen as an application-oriented technology that is used in a variety of ways, for example, to enhance presentations, and is based on the increasing capability of computers to store, transmit, and present many types of information.

A general definition is: Multimedia is the field concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images (Video), animation, audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally.

For the purpose of this course, we will consider some definition from the CEMCA & COL (2003) and some others. According to Fenrich (1997) “Multimedia” is the existing combination of computer hardware and software that allows you to integrate video, animation, audio, graphics, and test resources to develop effective presentations on an affordable desktop computer”

Phillips, (1997) also states that “Multimedia is ch aracterized by the presence of text, pictures, sound, animation and video; some or all of which are organized into some coherent program”

From all we have seen, Multimedia is an inter-disciplinary subject because it involves a variety of different theories and skills: these include computer technology, hardware and software; arts and design, literature, presentation skills; application domain knowledge. It is a woven combination of text, graphic art, sound, animation, video and other kinds of elements.

3.3 DESIRABLE FEATURES FOR A MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM

The word multimedia in a computer environment implies that many media are under computer control. Thus a multimedia computer is a system capable of processing multimedia data and applications. A multimedia computer should support more than one of the following media types: text, images, video, audio and animation. However, that means that a computer which manipulates only text and images would qualify as a multimedia computer. A Multimedia System is characterized by its capability to process, store, generate, manipulate and render multimedia information. The following features are desirable for a multimedia System:

Very High Processing Power: This is a requirement for dealing with large data processing

and real time delivery of media.

Multimedia Capable File System: This feature is essential for delivering real-time media –

e.g. Video/Audio Streaming. Special Hardware/Software needed e.g. RAID technology.

Data Representations/File formats that support multimedia: Data representations/file formats should be easy to handle yet allow for compression/decompression in real-time.

Efficient and High I/O:

Input and output to the file subsystem needs to be efficient and fast. It is necessary to allow for real-time recording as well as playback of data. e.g. Direct to Disk recording systems.

– Special Operating System:

A special operating system is required to provide access to file system and process data efficiently and quickly. Consequently, the multimedia system needs to support direct transfers to disk, real-time scheduling, fast interrupt processing, I/O streaming etc.

– Storage and Memory:

Large storage units (of the order of 50-100 Gb or more) and large memory (50 -100 Mb or more) are needed. Large Caches are also required and frequently those of Level 2 and 3 hierarchy for efficient management.

– Network Support:

Client-server systems commonly known as distributed systems. – Software Tools:

User friendly tools are needed to handle media, design and develop applications, deliver media.

3.4 MULTIMEDIA APPLICATIONS

In recent times, multimedia applications use a collection of multiple media sources e.g. text, graphics, images, sound/audio, animation and/or video. Some examples of multimedia applications are: business presentations, online newspapers, distance education, and interactive gaming, advertisements, art, entertainment, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, scientific research and spatial temporal applications. Other examples of Multimedia Applications include:

World Wide Web (WWW)

Hypermedia courseware

Video-on-demand

Interactive TV

Computer Games

Virtual reality

Digital video editing and production systems

Multimedia Database systems

Video conferencing and Teleconferencing

Groupware

Home shopping

• Games

Virtual reality

Digital video editing and production systems

Multimedia Database systems
Mention the essential features for a Multimedia system

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4.0 CONCLUSION

In this unit, we highlighted the history of the Multimedia Technology. We learnt that Multimedia is the field concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images (Video), animation, audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally.

We equally considered the essential features of the multimedia and the different multimedia applications such as World Wide Web (WWW),Hypermedia courseware, Video-on-demand, Interactive TV, Computer Games, Virtual reality etc

5.0 SUMMARY

This unit provided an overview of the history of multimedia, the definitions of multimedia, its features and applications. Now, let us attempt the questions below.

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