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Part V: Unleashing Multimedia: The Sight... > DirectX and Windows 98 Video

Chapter 24. DirectX and Windows 98 Video


The essential is to excite the spectators. If that means playing Hamlet on a flying trapeze or in an aquarium, you do it.

Orson Welles

The English language is a veritable factory of new words and phrases. Inventive wordsmiths in all fields are constantly forging new additions to the lexicon by blending words, attaching morphemic tidbits to existing words, and creating neologisms out of thin air. Some of these new words strike a chord in popular culture and go through what I call the “cachet-to-cliché” syndrome. In other words, the word is suddenly on the lips of cocktail party participants and water-cooler conversationalists everywhere, and on the fingertips of countless columnists and editorialists. As soon as the word takes root, however, the backlash begins. Rants of the if-I-hear-the-word-x-one-more-time-I'll-scream variety start to appear, the Unicorn Society includes the word in its annual list of phrases that should be stricken from the language, and so on.

The word multimedia went through this riches-to-rags scenario a couple of years ago. Buoyed by the promise of media-rich interactive applications and games, techies and non-techies alike quickly made multimedia their favorite buzzword. It didn't take long, however, for the bloom to come off the multimedia rose.

Part of the problem was that when multimedia first became a big deal in the early '90s, the average computer just wasn't powerful enough to handle the extra demands made on the system. Not only that, but Windows' support for multimedia was sporadic and half-hearted. That's all changed now, however. The typical PC sold today has more than enough horsepower to handle basic multimedia, and Windows 98 has a number of slick new features that let developers and end-users alike incorporate multimedia seamlessly into their work. So now, instead of railing uselessly against overuse of the word multimedia, people can get down to the more practical matter of creating exciting multimedia-based documents.

This chapter kicks off your look at Windows 98 multimedia by focusing on two important multimedia components: DirectX and digital video.



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