MBONE: Multicasting Tomorrow's Internet

Chapter 2: Today's Technology


Although some great new multimedia tools and toys will Acertainly be heading down the pike in the coming months and years, an impressive batch of programs that work multimedia wonders on the Internet is available today now this minute! The current lineup of audio and video tools works for ordinary users who dial into the Internet from home, using plain old phone lines and 14.4 Kbps modems.

This chapter examines some of today's multimedia programs. It isn't meant to be a complete roundup of what's available today, just a sampling of what's out there and what's in store. Multimedia tools for the Internet are becoming more common. Last year, you could count on one hand the multimedia Internet programs for Macs and PCs, but things are speeding up. In the first half of 1995, the number of these tools easily doubled, and the number will likely double again before the middle of 1996. It's a great time to be an Internaut, even one with a slow modem.

The Internet has been accessible in one form or another via dial-up links for many years, so why are multimedia tools for PCs just beginning to blossom? It may be that software developers are just beginning to see the light of multimedia. A bigger reason, however, is that the SLIP and PPP connections that are necessary to use these tools have become commonplace enough and (thanks to products such as Internet in a Box and Internet Chameleon) easy enough to use that the user base is large enough to warrant creating these tools.

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