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What Are the Different Types of Multimedia Technology?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are many different types of multimedia technology, though these various forms often consist of either hardware or software. Hardware for use in multimedia typically consists of either input or output devices, which are used to create multimedia or to display or present multimedia that has been created. Software used in multimedia is typically utilized to create multimedia, and this can include anything from programs used to create images and audio to applications used to display or showcase a multimedia presentation. There are also pieces of multimedia technology that incorporate both aspects of hardware and software to create a more comprehensive multimedia application.

Multimedia technology typically refers to any type of technology that can be used in the creation or display of multimedia content, which usually consists of combinations of images and audio in a single application. A great deal of this technology consists of hardware used to create and display multimedia productions. Input devices are often used in creating multimedia works, including microphones, digital musical instruments, art tablets, and digital cameras. Once raw source materials are used to create multimedia products then other pieces of hardware are used to display them, including monitors and screens, projectors, speakers, and light and laser displays.

Numerous software programs can be utilized as multimedia technology, including programs used to create and display multimedia projects. Audio and picture editors are often used with raw input images or sounds to create final files that can then be put together to create a multimedia application. Video editors are also a common program used to create multimedia, and these programs are often used to composite images, audio, and video to create a final multimedia product. Some software can also be used with multimedia technology to convert between file types often used in creating multimedia presentations, which may allow such files to be shared and modified more easily between users on a multimedia project.

Software multimedia technology can also include programs that allow multimedia to be played on other viewing devices. This can include anything from viewers used on Internet websites to programs on portable devices that allow video playback through such pieces of hardware. Multimedia technology can also utilize both hardware and software to display multimedia presentations in more unique or dramatic ways. This is often seen in devices used to program displays of audio, lights, and projectors to create a timed demonstration of various pieces of media.

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Discussion Comments

By dimpley — On Jun 30, 2011

I recently read on some sort of technology news website that it looks like Kindle’s and e-readers of all kinds are maybe literally taking the place of actual books.

Okay, guys; I was cool with cd’s getting replaced by the iPod. And I’m all good with getting all of my movies from the Web. Better convenience, better pricing and more flexibility make it all good.

But I will have to say that I am an avid reader and I am totally holding out on buying a Kindle. I just can’t imagine replacing my humongous book collection with an electronic device – and I really don’t think that I want to.

I could maybe use it to read some good old romantic beach trash occasionally, which is nice when you want to tackle light reading. But I can’t envision a world where my gold embossed, leather bound classics are replaced with a machine.

By blackDagger — On Jun 30, 2011

@strawCake – I really can’t imagine using a tablet the same way that I use my personal computer. However, I too am wondering if it isn’t the new biggest thing in the future of multimedia technology consumption.

The only thing keeping me from finding out firsthand is the whopping price! Wow – I don’t think I need one that bad yet! But, if they follow the way of the laptop, I should be able to afford one before too long.

It’s just an expensive toy to prove ineffective, in my book.

By Eviemae — On Jun 29, 2011

@starrynight – I think you’re probably right about computers being the ultimate catalyst in new multimedia technology today. I know that I would be completely lost without my laptop.

I use it to work, literally. Not just as a tool, but I work remotely; without my computer I don’t work at all. It is literally attached to my hip!

The thing is, though, that I use it for so much more than just work. We stream movies from it, and download almost all of our music from it. I do remember actually going to a video store to rent a show for the night and buying CD’s, but that’s a thing of the past for us now.

Shoot, I even pay my bills and manage all of my money from my PC. I really wouldn’t know what to do if something happened to it or my WIFI.

By strawCake — On Jun 29, 2011

@starrynight - I believe tablets are also being billed as "multimedia devices". Tablets are mostly used for multimedia consumption as opposed to production though. I see people reading books on tablets, watching TV shows, and listening to music. I think tablets are really the wave of the future as far as portable interactive media.

By starrynight — On Jun 28, 2011

I think computers are probably the ultimate multimedia technology tool. You can use a computer to read, listen to music, and watch video.

Computers are also used in the creation of new multimedia. All the software discussed in the article is run on a computer. Also most multimedia input devices such as scanners, video recorders, and audio recorder link up to a computer to transfer the files for multimedia design with the software.

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