Multimedia Networking Products

By Zeyun Cui(


Multimedia is the combined use of several media, such as movies, slides, music, and lighting, especially for the purpose of education or entertainment. Networked multimedia is to build the multimedia on network and distributed systems, so different users on different machines can share image, sound, video, voice and many other features and to communicate with each under these tools. This paper is a detailed survey of the Multimedia Networking products.

Table of Contents

General Information of Multimedia

The Multimedia Networking Products

Product--[type]--(Relative Standards)

Note the items with the * are linked to the item in Survey's Products

Product name: CU-SeeMe

Available from: Cornell University
ftp site:

Price: Free

Release date: 1994

Description: CU-SeeMe is video conferencing software for the PC and Macintosh on the Internet.

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Product name: Person to Person/2 (V.1.0)

Available from:
IBM (International Business Machines)
Old Orchard Rd.
Armonk, NY 10504
800-426-3333; 914-765-1900
Direct sales: 800-426-7255 (IBM PC Direct)

Price: $280 (single-user); $1,875 (10-pack)

Release date: 1993

Compatible with: OS/2

Description: IBM no. 53G3997, 62G4037. Provides real-time collaborative conferencing for multiple users connected by LAN, ISDN, SNA and async communication links. Allows users to share and annotate data files, graphics, images and windowed application screens. Includes multi-party data/video calls for up to 5 participants. Optional video capture via IBM's ActionMedia II card.

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Product name: Picfon System

Available from:
Specom Technologies Corp.
2322 Walsh Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95051
FAX: 408-982-1883

Price: $2,995 (2 nodes)

Compatible with: PC-MS/DOS

Description: Videoconferencing system that works over ordinary phone lines. Provides still image of person user is calling. Video window can be set to one of 3 sizes.

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Product name: PSVC (V.2.1)

Available from:
Paradise Software, Inc.
7 Centre Dr., Ste. 9
Jamesburg, NJ 08831
FAX: 609-655-0045

Price: $796-$995 (node-locked license);$29,850 (NIS domain license)

Release date: 1993

Compatible with: Sun SPARCstation/SunOS; HP OpenWindows 3.0

Network compatibility: TCP/IP

Description: Desktop video conferencing software product. Allows users to adjust frame speed, image quality and window size of video being sent across network. Video messages can be recorded to hard disk via UNIX mail subsystem to additional parties unable to join conference call.

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Product name: ShareVision Mac3000

Available from:
Creative Labs, Inc. (subsidiary of Creative Technology, Ltd.)
1901 McCarthy Blvd.
Milpitas, CA 95035
800-998-1000; 408-428-6600
Direct sales: 800-998-5227
FAX: 408-428-6699

Release date: 1995

Application: Video/Teleconferencing

Compatible with: Apple Macintosh

Descriptions: Desktop video conferencing product for Macs that support cross-platform connectivity between Macs and PCs over regular telephone lines. Includes color video camera with stand, ShareVision communications card, external 28.8K bits per second data/fax modem, ShareVision software and audio headset.

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Product name: XMedia Tools (V.1.1)

Available from:
Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC)
146 Main St.
Maynard, MA 01754-2571
800-344-4825; 508-493-5111
Direct sales: 800-722-9332 (DEC Direct/Digital PC)
FAX: 508-493-8780

Release date: 1992

Application: Application Development Systems

Compatible with: DEC DECstation 5000/ULTRIX, OSF/1

Description: Audio/video enabling software which assists software developers in building distributed multimedia applications, or adding audio/video components to existing applications or documentation. Includes Audio/Video Runtime Kit and Audio/Video Developer Kit. Provides on-line documentation, drivers, servers, sample applications, the Software Motion Pictures compiler and sample audio and video clips. Adds on-line documentation, audio and video libraries, audio clip library, and tools.

Allows multiple events to occur simultaneously. Allows commands and devices to be sequenced. Manages audio resources among different clients. Supports both DECaudio and the Personal DECstation 5000's audio capabilities. Displays live video in a workstation window. Converts a channel of analog video into a digital format. Attaches the digitized video frame to a user-specified window and allows sharing of the screen between the video window and other windows.

Allows user to set audio and video parameters such as global gain, sound library path, brightness, contrast, hue and saturation. Grabs frames from a video input using the Pioneer protocol. Plays Software Motion Pictures compiled video clip or live video through the DECvideo TURBOchannel option. Sound Browser application enables user to view a list of the sound libraries, select libraries from the list and play and record sounds.

Allows user to play sound and cut and paste pieces of sounds together. Includes a visual audio editor. Provides several Motif widgets and utility functions that interface X programs to audio.

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Product name: Communique! (V.3.2)

Available from:
InSoft, Inc.
4718 Old Gettysburg Rd., Ste. 307, Executive Park West I
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
FAX: 717-730-9504

Price: $2,295-$9,320 per user

Release date: 1994

Compatible with: Sun SPARCstation/Solaris, SunOS; HP Apollo 9000 Series 700/HP-UX; IBM RS/6000/AIX; Silicon Graphics; Digital UNIX Network compatibility: TCP/IP

Description: Desktop conferencing software that supports real-time full-motion color video using supported video boards. Consists of Communique!TV, Virtual Conference Room and integrated audio, video, shared whiteboard, shared applications text and graphics tools. Includes multipoint conferencing capability, hardware-based data compression, input device plug-and-play and fine tuning adjustments.

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Product name: DEC Notes (V.2.5)

Available from:
Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC)
146 Main St.
Maynard, MA 01754-2571
800-344-4825; 508-493-5111
Direct sales: 800-722-9332 (DEC Direct/Digital PC)
FAX: 508-493-8780

Price: $2,500 (Workgroup); $6,600(Departmental); $11,000 (Enterprise)

Release date: 1993

Application: Video/Teleconferencing

Compatible with: DEC VAX, VAXstation, MicroVAX, Alpha AXP/OpenVMS VAX, OpenVMS AXP

Network compatibility: TCP/IP

Description: Provides distributed conferencing capabilities in WAN/LAN environments. Conferences can be restricted to specified group of users or fully open. Provides each user with notebook index allowing specification of which conference is to be accessed. Clients run on Windows and Macintosh.

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Product name: ShowMe (v1.0)

Available from:
Sun Microsystems Computer Corp. (unit of Sun Microsystems, Inc.)
2550 Garcia Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043-1100
800-821-4643; 800-821-4642 (CA); 415-960-1300
FAX: 415-969-9131

Category: Mass Media/Communications

Price: $2,000

Release date: 1995

Application: Radio/TV/Entertainment Industry

Compatible with: Sun SPARCstation/Solaris

Network compatibility: TCP/IP

Description: Allows users to transmit/broadcast video/audio source material to any computer running Solaris and ShowMe TV Receiver software. Allows user to broadcast multiple video/audio channels simultaneously. Provides broadcast scheduler. Provides compression techniques and allows users to be added to broadcast channel.

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Product name: Smart 2000 Conferencing (V.3.2)

Available from:
SMART Technologies, Inc.
1177 11th Ave., SW, Ste. 600
Calgary, AB, CD T2R 1K9
FAX: 403-245-0366

Price: $299

Release date: 1994

Compatible with: Windows 3.X

Network compatibility: Novell; NetBIOS; Banyan; TCP/IP; SPX/IPX

Description: Windows computer conferencing software. Allows groups at multiple locations to work interactively on computer-based information. Allows remote users to share Windows applications. Annotate any application screen snapshots and still video images. Saves any notes taken during meeting for later review or print out.

Can transport a user's ideas to multiple locations over standard phone lines, ISDN connections, LAN configurations, or WAN environments. Users can, from their desktops, conduct training sessions or meetings with a group of people in another office or another country. Users can also share any Windows application with remote sites and use a variety of pen tools and pen colors to electronically draw attention to any shared computer image. Enables multiple sites to work on a file that is accessible from a single user's PC, whether or not everyone uses the same software. Each site can write, erase, type over, or point to any part of a shared image. Allows users to place documents or pictures into their program notepads and discuss them during a conference, or to bring up blank pages to brainstorm ideas. A print capture function lets users print any file directly to their notepads, and a slide sorter function permits them to arrange their images in any order before and during the meeting. Can be used with either the SMART Board or the SMART Rear Screen for meetings or classroom situations. Can project any image onto the four-foot by three-foot touch sensitive whiteboard, allowing users to press on the whiteboard to interact with live applications.

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Product name: Visit Video (V.2.0)

Available from:
Northern Telecom, Inc.
200 Athens Way, Northern Telecom Plaza
Nashville, TN 37228
800-667-8437; 615-734-4000
FAX: 615-734-5189

Price: $2,649 per user (grayscale); $4,499 per user (color)

Release date: 1994

Compatible with: Apple Macintosh II series

Description: Desktop videoconferencing system. Displays images of user and up to 8 others. Features include video image capture, allocation of bandwidth between video and data and 8 participant multiparty conferences.

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Product name: LinkWay Live!(V.1.1)

Available from:
IBM (International Business Machines)
Old Orchard Rd.
Armonk, NY 10504
800-426-3333; 914-765-1900
Direct sales: 800-426-7255 (IBM PC Direct)

Compatible with: PC-MS/DOS M Minimum RAM required: 2 MB

Description: Authoring tool for multimedia presentations. Combines slides, clip art, music, voice, graphics and full-motion video in any way. Allows user to record from audio sources and play them back with the appropriate speech or music features. Plays production level video; captures and plays real time video; and captures and plays still pictures. Creates, sizes, moves and allows user to edit text, pictures and buttons. Supports the extended memory feature of DOS 4.0 and 5.0. Handles VGA-8 and XGA graphics modes.

Stores digital sound on a server, then sends it to individual workstations. Creates compressed digital movies, stores them on the server and plays them back on workstations that have DVI decompression cards. Captures low-speed movies or animation, stores them on the server and plays them on workstations with no additional hardware. Offers networked multimedia support. Includes built-in text editor and paint program.

Price: $269-$2,263

Release date: 1993

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Product name: Maestro

Available from:
NetFRAME Systems, Inc.
1545 Barber Lane
Milpitas, CA 95035
800-852-3726; 408-944-0600
FAX: 408-434-4190

Price: $1,995

Release date: 1994

Application: Network Management

Compatible with: Windows 3.X

Description: Manages clustered server components within NetFrame servers. Allows users to reconfigure and hot-swap application and I/O subsystems across network. Allows administrators to manage all resources without disrupting network users.

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Product Name: NoteCards

Available From:
1624 Franklin St., Ste. 1212
Oakland, CA 94612
800-228-5325; 510-835-8856
FAX: 510-835-8251

Price: $495

Release Date: 1991

Application: Data Base/File Management

Compatible with: IBM RS/6000/AIX; Sun-3, 4, SPARCstation/SunOS,Solaris; DEC DECstation, DECsystem/ULTRIX; HP 9000 series 700,800/HP-UX; PC-MS/DOS

Network compatibility: NFS

Source language: LISP

Description: Hypertext system that allows user to formulate, structure, manage and present ideas. Features WYSIWYG text and graphic editors that create semantic network of electronic notecards connected by typed links.

Information organizer. Allows user to formulate, structure, manage and present ideas. Incorporates text, sketches or scanned graphics. Allows user to link cards with similar information. Groups cards into file boxes of related cards. Provides a map of the links among the cards. Allows user to build a structure for data and fit cards in as they arrive. Serves as a check list of things to do or as an alert of areas that need more research.

Allows user to put each datum into its own note card with a descriptive title. Cards can contain text and images mixed freely. Integrated editors support international characters and Kanji. Allows user to have an unlimited number of cards on the screen at a time. Sorts cards into related groups, or lets user place two cards side-by-side for comparison. Create a card for the main point, then link empty cards together to represent missing information. Includes advanced page layout, paragraph formatting and character editing.

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Product name: LAN Server Ultimedia (V.1.0)

Available from:
IBM (International Business Machines)
Old Orchard Rd.
Armonk, NY 10504
800-426-3333; 914-765-1900
Direct sales: 800-426-7255 (IBM PC Direct)

Compatible with: OS/2 Minimum RAM required: 16 MB Disk storage required: 400 MB

Network compatibility: Token-Ring; Ethernet

Description: Allows as many as 40 users to simultaneously access full motion video and sound applications from a single LAN server. Supports applications based on INDEO, DVI/AVI, Ultimotion and Sound Blaster. Turns standalone applications based on MMPM/2 or AVK into multi-user applications without modification. The client portion of the application can be downloaded from the LAN Server. Network administrators can control bandwidth to ensure that multimedia service does not disrupt other network traffic. Allows simultaneous transmission of multimedia applications and other data. Runs all playback applications with known characteristics. Provides installation and tuning aids to network administrators. Uses token-ring LAN Priority Architecture to reserve bandwidth in the network. Reserves server space for disk and file access.

Price: $3,195

Release date: 1993

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Product name: StarWorks (V.2.0)

Available from:
Starlight Networks, Inc.
325 E. Middlefield Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
FAX: 415-967-0686

Price: $4,495-$24,995

Release date: 1994

Application: Network Resource Sharing

Compatible with: Sun SPARCserver, SPARCstation/Solaris

Network compatibility: Novell; AppleShare; LAN Manager; NFS;TCP/IP; Windows for Workgroups; Token-Ring; Ethernet; FDDI

Description: Client/server-based software that allows users on such LANs as Ethernet, Token Ring, and FDDI to share streaming video and audio data. Provides network delivery of any video and audio format and allows users to view applications while accessing other file servers on the LAN without impacting their current networked applications. Operates compatibly with such digital video systems as Indeo, MPEG, PLV, RTV, Cinepak, and motion JPEG. Provides transparent support for existing standalone multimedia applications.

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Product name: CAT Sound Studio

Available from:
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.
10132 Monroe Dr.
Dallas, TX 75229
FAX: 214-904-0888

Compatible with: PC-MS/DOS. Minimum RAM required: 640 KB

Description: Multimedia sound system. Allows user to record, play, rewind, save, create special effects, watch sound waves of voice and develop talking slide shows. Enables user to transmit voice messages through network.

Price: $39-$59

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Product name: IRIS

Available from:
11610 Wayzata Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55343
800-346-0109; 612-545-0955
FAX: 612-545-1702

Price: $6,000-$50,000

Release date: 1994

Application: Retail Trade-Point-of-Sale

Compatible with: AT&T UNIX System V; SCO UNIX; IBM/AIX; NCR/UNIX

Description: Interactive Retail Information System. Includes inventory control, purchasing and receiving, back-office POS and sales analysis. Additional modules are Register POS, Warehouse Control, AR, Telxon Processing, Electronic Vendor Communication and Demographic Analysis. Interface includes windows, pull-down menus, look-up lists and relational database.

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Product name: MediaWeaver

Available from: ASD group at Stanford University

Description: MediaWeaver is a toolkit to manage, describe, find, and compose arbitrary associations of media on heterogeneous networks. By making essentially no assumptions about the internal structure of media, the MediaWeaver deals with arbitrary media formats. Authors should be able to produce elements of their media compositions using familiar applications -- such as commercial word processors and other off-the-shelf media editors. Visitors can browse or play with the media compositions in a multiplicity of customized, dynamic environments.

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Product name: Model 3800A Multimedia Router

Bay Networks, Inc.
4401 Great America Pkwy., PO Box 58185
Santa Clara, CA 95054
800-776-6895; 408-988-2400
FAX: 408-988-5525

Description: Ethernet multimedia router

Network compatibility: Ethernet

Standard: IEEE-802.3 10BaseT

Protocols supported: XNS; DECnet; AppleTalk; IP; IPX

WAN services supported: X.25; ISDN; Frame Relay; SMDS; PPP

Price: $5,995

Date announced: 1994

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Product name: Multimedia Quad AUI Fan Out

Transition Engineering, Inc.
7090 Shady Oak Rd.
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
800-325-2725; 612-941-7600
FAX: 612-941-2322

Description: LAN Hubs

Network compatibility: Ethernet

Standard: IEEE-802.3 10Base2; 10Base5; 10BaseT

Price: $395

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Date announced: 1994

Product name: SLATE (V.1.2.1)

Available from:
TD Technologies, Inc. (SLATE Division)
2425 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 200
Richardson, TX 75080
800-669-4998; 214-669-9937
FAX: 214-669-9938

Release date: 1995

Application: System Design & Methodologies/CASE Tools

Compatible with: Sun-4, 5, SPARCstation/SunOS, Solaris; HP

Source language: C++

Description: System Level Automation Tool for Engineers. Multi-user, networked, object technology design automation tool for organizing and managing product life cycle. Allows user to manage requirements, explore alternatives, measure technical performance and automatically generate system documents. Includes transitional mapping and report generation.

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  1. Keyes, Jessica (Editor)"Multimedia Handbook" McGraw-Hill, 1994
  2. "A Survey of Distributed Multimedia Research, Standards and Products"
  3. Compueter Select (1995) Ziff Communication Company, One PArk Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
  4. Welch, Nathealir"White Pine licenses teleconferencing app.", MacWEEKMay 1, 1995 v9 n18 p4(1)
  5. Frentzen,Jeff "Internet multimedia need a wider highway" PC WeekApril 24, 1995 v12 n16 p15(1)
  6. Mageau,Therese "Listening to multimedia: the (in)sane person's guide to multimedia in education. (includes glossary and related article on networking multimedia)" Electronic LearningNov-Dec 1994 v14 n3 p28(8)
  7. Dunlap, Charlotte "First virtual links ATM/multimedia" Computer Reseller News March 13, 1995 n621 p54(1)
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Last Modified: Aug 28, 1995