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Microsoft to screen ActiveMovie

Hoping to unite the entire multimedia industry under a Microsoft banner, the Redmond, Washington, company today added to its repertoire of multimedia APIs with the unveiling of the ActiveMovie API for video playback on PCs and the Internet.

Hoping to unite the entire multimedia industry under a Microsoft banner, the Redmond, Washington, company today added to its repertoire of multimedia APIs with the unveiling of the ActiveMovie API for video playback on PCs and the Internet.

The ActiveMovie API is a cross-platform technology designed to help software developers create multimedia titles with synchronized audio, video, and special effects that run on multiple platforms.

Microsoft said ActiveMovie could be used to create titles with television-quality MPEG video playback on average PCs as well as video stored in computer formats such as AVI files, QuickTime, or the WAV format on the Net. The API is also supposed to provide an architecture for integration of new multimedia technologies, third-party enhancements, and real-time special effects.

ActiveMovie is the latest member to be introduced in Microsoft's DirectX family of multimedia APIs, which includes the Direct3D, ActiveVRML, and DirectDraw APIs. By offering a complete set of APIs that multimedia developers can write to on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, the company hopes to establish its technology as the standard for applications such as games, virtual reality environments, and now titles that incorporate video.

So far, 20 developers including Adobe Systems, Intel, and Macromedia have agreed to support ActiveMovie. Microsoft anticipates that software titles using ActiveMovie technology will debut as early as this summer.

The beta version of ActiveMovie is set to launch next week, although selected vendors such as Adobe have been working with ActiveMovie for the past five months. The final version for Windows 95 and Windows NT is slated to ship in June; a Power Macintosh version is to follow later in the year.

For more information on ActiveMovie, send email to mmdinfo@microsoft.com.

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