Microsoft Ships DirectX Media High-Level APIs for Windows

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 1, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today released the Microsoft® DirectX® Media 5.1 Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of high-level application programming interfaces (APIs) and run times designed for the Intel architecture. The DirectX Media 5.1 SDK forms a powerful synergy with low-level DirectX Foundation APIs, delivering the first unified API set with advanced multimedia functionality from the chip level to high-level run-time engines on the Windows® operating system. DirectX Media 5.1 will empower software tool and content developers to energize their applications and Web pages with interactive 2-D and 3-D animation, streaming video and audio, and the latest technology to take advantage of next-generation digital devices.

The DirectX Media 5.1 SDK provides a solution for developing powerful multimedia tools and applications for Web authoring, video and audio postproduction, online games, multimedia content creation, and a variety of consumer applications. DirectX Media 5.1 run times are integrated into Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 software and are scheduled to be included in the Windows 98 and Windows NT® 5.0 operating systems, providing developers with a broad target audience that will experience the full impact of multimedia capabilities and rich interactive features in applications powered by DirectX Media 5.1.

Comprehensive Set of High-Level APIs

The DirectX Media 5.1 SDK contains a variety of high-level APIs and run-time services for developers of multimedia applications, development tools and Web content, including the following:

  • DirectShow

    ™

    API
    is a universal media streaming architecture for capture, processing and playback of streaming multimedia over the Internet, within media authoring applications or from local consumer devices. DirectShow includes DVD-specific APIs, support for the digital video (DV) standard and support for third-party MPEG-2 and AC-3, delivering high-quality video and audio including spatial effects. DirectShow supports most popular formats, including Intel’s Indeo Video Interactive, The Duck Corp.’s TrueMotion 2.0 video codec, MPEG, AVI, WAV, AIFF, AU and Apple QuickTime (MOV). DirectShow soon is scheduled to soon provide the universal playback client for the Advanced Streaming Format (ASF), an open specification for streaming data.

  • DirectAnimation

    ™
    API is an advanced media integration and run-time API that allows developers to easily inject highly interactive animation into Web pages and multimedia applications. DirectAnimation provides a consistent interface for dealing with and integrating 2-D vector graphics, sprites, 3-D geometry, Dynamic HTML, video and audio, along with a uniform time and event model that enables unprecedented user interactivity and interaction between different media types. DirectAnimation functionality can be accessed using a variety of programming and scripting languages, including HTML, the Visual Basic® development system Scripting Edition, JScript
    ™
    development software, Java and the Microsoft
    Visual C++® development system. Various ActiveX
    ™
    Controls are included for HTML environments, as well as a COM-based animation library.

  • Direct3D
    ®
    API Retained Mode is a high-level 3-D scene graph manager that allows developers to manipulate objects and manage complex 3-D scenes without requiring low-level programming. Direct3D API Retained Mode animation interpolators facilitate the blending of colors and smooth movement of objects. Progressive meshes enable increasing refinement of coarse meshes over time, streamlining progressive downloading from remote locations.

  • DirectPlay
    ®
    API is a high-level tool for creating multiplayer online games for the Internet, intranets, LANs or modem links. DirectPlay provides a standardized way for applications to communicate with each other, insulating developers and applications from differing connectivity protocols and other aspects of the underlying online infrastructure. DirectPlay simplifies game management for online game service providers and makes it easy for game players to locate partners and connect to multiplayer game sessions.

“Microsoft DirectX Media 5.1 advances the multimedia developer community for Windows in two ways,”
said Eric Engstrom, general manager, Direct X Media at Microsoft.
“First, it delivers a high-performance SDK for creating dynamic applications, tools and content. Second, it provides end users with optimal performance of those applications and content, through the incorporation of DirectX 5.1 run times in Internet Explorer 4.0 and upcoming releases of Windows. This advance is significant because it means that developers don’t have to spend valuable design time building their own run times, and end users don’t have to download viewers just to display Web content. That’s a huge benefit for Internet developers, and it goes a long way toward making the Internet a more enjoyable, user-friendly experience for end users.”

Tight Integration With Low-Level DirectX Foundation Functionality

DirectX Media 5.1 services are accelerated in hardware and software by DirectX Foundation APIs, which provide low-level, device-independent access to video cards, sound cards and 3-D accelerators. Because DirectX Media and DirectX Foundation are integrated internally, this acceleration of higher-level services is automatic and requires no low-level programming by the developer. As a result, developers can access full DirectX functionality regardless of their programming skill level.

The DirectX Media 5.1 SDK frees developers from the system-level work and enables them to focus on easier-to-use tools for a broader range of authoring talent, including
“prosumers”
and consumers. With the launch of DirectAnimation, the multi-industry adoption of DirectShow and run-time support included in Internet Explorer software and future
Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 platforms, Microsoft puts a new era of multimedia technology leadership and innovation into the hands of its developers.

Availability

The DirectX 5.1 SDK is available now on CD-ROM or at Microsoft’s Web site http://www.microsoft.com/directx/ .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, DirectX, Windows, Windows NT, DirectShow, DirectAnimation, Visual Basic, JScript, Visual C++, ActiveX, Direct 3D and DirectPlay are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Olivia Riley, MacKenzie Kesselring, (503) 225-0725, oliviar@mkinc.com

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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