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Multimedia As a technology it is called multimedia As a revolution it is the sum of many revolutions wrapped into one A revolution in communication that combines the audio visual power of television the publishing power of the printing press and the interactive power of the computer Multimedia is the convergence of these different professions once thought independent of one another coming together to form a new technological approach to the way information and ideas are shared What will society look like under the evolving institutions of interactive multimedia technologies Well if the 1980s were a time for media tycoons the 1990s will be for the self-styled visionaries These gurus see a dawning digital age in which the humble television will mutate into a two-way medium for a vast amount of information and entertainment We can expect to see movies-on-demand video games databases educational programming home shopping telephone services telebanking teleconferencing even the complex simulations of virtual reality This souped-up television will itself be a powerful computer This many believe will be the worlds biggest media group letting consumers tune into anything anywhere anytime The most extraordinary thing about the multimedia boom is that so many moguls are spending such vast sums to develop digital technologies for the delivering of programs and services which are still largely hypothetical So what is behind such grand prophecies Primarily two technological advances known as digitization including digital compression and fibre optics Both are indispensable to the high-speed networks that will deliver dynamic new services to homes and offices Digitization means translating information either video audio or text into ones and zeros which make it easier to send store and manipulate Compression squeezes this information so that more of it can be sent using a given amount of transmission capacity or bandwidth Fibre-optic cables are producing a vast increase in the amount of bandwidth available Made of glass so pure that a sheet
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