Multimedia: Audio, Video, Speech Synthesis and Recognition
Just a few years back, the typical desktop computer’s power, although considered substantial at the time, made it impossible to think of integrating high-quality audio and video into applications. Today’s computers typically include CD-ROMs, sound cards and other hard-ware and special software which have make computer multimedia a reality. Economical desktop machines are so powerful that they can store and play DVD-quality sound and vid-eo and we expect to see a huge advance in the kinds of programmable multimedia capabil-ities available through programming languages.
The multimedia revolution occurred first on the desktop computer, with the widespread availability of CD-ROMs. This platform is rapidly evolving towards DVD technology, but our focus in this chapter is on the explosion of sound and video technology that appears on the World Wide Web. In general, we expect the desktop to lead with the technology, because the Web is so dependent on bandwidth, and, for the foreseeable future, Internet bandwidths for the masses are likely to lag considerably behind those available on the desktop. One thing that Deitel has learned—having been in this industry for nearly four decades now—is to plan for the impossible. In the computer and communications fields, the impossible has repeatedly become reality so many times that it is almost routine at this point.
In this chapter, we discuss how to add sound, video and animated characters to Web-based applications. Your first reaction may be a sense of caution because you realize that these are complex technologies and most readers have had little if any education in these areas. This is one of the beauties of today’s programming languages. They give the pro-grammer easy access to complex technologies and hide most of the complexity.
Multimedia files can be quite large. Some multimedia technologies require that the com-plete multimedia file be downloaded to the client before the audio or video begins playing. With streaming technologies, audio and video can begin playing while the files are down-loading, to reduce delays. Streaming technologies are becoming increasingly popular.
Creating audio and video to incorporate into Web pages often requires complex and powerful software such as Adobe™ After Effects® or Macromedia™ Director®. Rather than discuss how to create media clips, this chapter focuses on using existing audio and video clips to enhance Web pages. The chapter also includes an extensive set of Internet and World Wide Web resources. Some of these Web sites display examples of interesting multimedia enhancements, others provide instructional information for developers plan-ning to enhance their own sites with multimedia.
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