Macromedia announced its Director 6 Multimedia Studio authoring tool kit last week, which lets developers deliver streaming video applications over low-bandwidth connections.
The suite includes an upgraded version of the Shockwave multimedia platform, called Streaming Shockwave, which allows video files to be played over the Internet before they are completely downloaded. For example, a typical Shockwave movie of 200Kb would take about 60 seconds to start playing.
With Director 6, the user will see the same movie begin in about a second.
Nick Austin, marketing manager at Macromedia, said: "The streaming technology allows organisations to provide a high level of interactivity with the multimedia they use, which is very different to the technologies offered by Progressive (Real Media) or Microsoft (NetShow)."
Other additions to the suite include a new interface supporting objects and offering drag-and-drop capabilities, new sound editing tools, a group of Virtual Reality Modelling Language utilities and media synchronisation tools allowing tighter integration of audio and digital video.
For the first time Director now supports ActiveX controls and is a further signal that Macromedia and Microsoft are developing a close Internet-based relationship. Earlier this year Macromedia acquired Future Wave and released the Splash animation package for ActiveX. QuickTime and QuickDraw for the Macintosh, and Intel's Pentium with MMX are also supported.
Director 6 is available on Windows 95, NT, the Macintosh and PowerPC, and is priced is $999 (#624). Upgrades for users of earlier versions of Director are available for $499.
Macromedia can be reached at www.macromedia.com
Can't wait to see this product. Macromedia is one of the few companies who are actually using streaming multimedia in a product that does not need separate client and server software.
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