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Desktop Video AGOCG Report


Even throughout the duration of this short project, the world of `video on the desktop' has been visibly changing. Every week new products on CD-ROM incorporating video are being unveiled and it seems that every other week another new application hits the market. Numerous trade shows and conferences are being set up to educate the public and exploit the power of desktop video, either as a communications package or as a state of the art presentation tool.

The Apple Multimedia Festival in November 1993 was a precursor to a nationwide attempt to raise awareness of multimedia among prospective customers. Everybody who attended the Festival was given a free pack including a brochure of the Apple product range and a free CD which included, among other things, film trailers and video guides to British cities. Much of the importance of multimedia was sold on the idea of interactivity, a buzzword almost as powerful and ubiquitous as multimedia itself.

The Festival was followed in February 1994 by the Windows Show, which somewhat predictably incorporated a multimedia centre boasting: "What is multimedia and what can it do for your company? Find all the answers in the dedicated [multimedia] centre."

This push toward video and multimedia has been echoed in the computer press, to the extent that almost all computer magazines have featured at least one article on hardware, software or applications of video on the desktop.

The convergence of the computer world and the video world has been proceeding inexorably in recent years, but in many guises. Desktop video means different things to different people. Playback of a simple QuickTime movie is desktop video. Video editing using a Macintosh as an edit controller is also desktop video. To many people the term desktop video conjures up images of PC-integrated videoconferencing, or it could mean putting a computer generated animation onto video.

As a direct result of this, the product market place is now overrun with new software and hardware to fill every available niche. It is, however, a common complaint that there are often many components to a desktop video suite and it is only once all of the contributory hardware and software is used in the right configuration that many of the applications offered by the manufacturers can be achieved in the home or office. This will be discussed in more detail in the section on product overview.

There is a view that as all of the applications of DTV are realised it is easy to gain the impression that too much is happening in the DTV market. There are countless vendors of video products, all contributing to the hazy definitions and consumer confusion created by the video market. One thing on which experts can agree is that when talking about desktop video as a phenomenon, one must first define exactly what the term means.

There is also a firm belief that although the applications of DTV are diverse, they are converging, as equipment becomes more powerful and capable. A Mac can now be used as a videophone, a video editing suite, a tool for multimedia presentations it is no longer just a computer, it is a communications device as well.

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