Chapter 20. Multimedia Systems

In earlier chapters, we generally concerned ourselves with how operating systems handle conventional data, such as text files, programs, binaries, word-processing documents, and spreadsheets. However, operating systems may have to handle other kinds of data as well. A recent trend in technology is the incorporation of multimedia data into computer systems. Multimedia data consist of continuous-media (audio and video) data as well as conventional files. Continuous-media data differ from conventional data in that continuous-media data—such as frames of video—must be delivered (streamed) according to certain time restrictions (for example, 30 frames per second). In this chapter, we explore the demands of continuous-media data. We also discuss in more detail how such data differ from conventional data and how these differences affect the design of operating systems that support the requirements of multimedia systems.

What Is Multimedia?

The term multimedia describes a wide range of applications that are in popular use today. These include audio and video files such as MP3 audio files, DVD movies, and short video clips of movie previews or news stories downloaded over the Internet. Multimedia applications ...

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