multimedia, in personal computing, software and applications that combine text, high-quality sound, two- and three-dimensional graphics, animation, photo images, and full-motion video. In order to work with multimedia, a personal computer typically requires a powerful microprocessor, large memory and storage capabilities, a high-quality monitor and a video accelerator, external loudspeakers or headphones and a sound card (or sound board) for improved sound generation, and a CD-ROM (see compact disc) or DVD-ROM (see digital versatile disc) drive, as well as special software to utilize many of these devices. A multimedia computer may also use other devices, such as a microphone or keyboard for audio input, a digital camera or scanner for graphics input, and a videocassette recorder or camcorder for video input or output. Multimedia software is used for electronic publishing and electronic games and in employee-training programs. The term multimedia is also used to describe home entertainment systems and other electronic products and services, particularly interactive ones, that combine text, sound, video, and the like. Uses include virtual reality simulations, interactive television, commercial advertising, and hypertext applications.
See J. Burger, Multimedia for Decision Making (1994); P. M. Dillon and D. C. Leonard, Multimedia Technology from A–Z (1995) and Multimedia and the Web from A–Z (1998); J. Keyes, The Ultimate Multimedia Handbook (1996).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.