RealNetworks Inc. has announced its contribution of SMIL source code to developers in the Helix Community. "With the source code of SMIL 2.0 and the Helix DNA Client, Helix community developers can support display of complex presentations in their products." The Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) is a W3C Recommendation which "defines an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations. Using SMIL 2.0, an author can describe the temporal behavior of a multimedia presentation, associate hyperlinks with media objects and describe the layout of the presentation on a screen." The Helix DNA Client being developed within the Helix community is "a universal playback engine supporting the decode and playback of any data type on any device. It is designed as an open, comprehensive platform that enables playback of digital media products and applications for any format, operating system, or device; it supports any audio or video codec through well-defined file format and decoder APIs." The RealNetworks' cross-platform SMIL source code is available "under a no-cost open source or a royalty-based commercial license to the registered developers of the Helix community; Windows, Mac, and Linux sources are available today."
Advantages of Using the SMIL Standard
- Presentation layout and timing: SMIL enables content providers to arrange and manipulate elements of a presentation such as video, audio, graphics animation, and text elements to play simultaneously or on a specific time sequence.
- Tailor a presentation for different audiences: SMIL can stream different clips to audiences based on criteria such as language or available bandwidth while enabling the different presentations to be accessed with just one hyper link. When the link is clicked, the Helix DNA Client-based application reads the options in the SMIL file and chooses the appropriate presentation.
- Flexibility in media organization: A SMIL file lists a separate URL for each clip so presentations can be put together using clips stored on any server, e.g., a video clip on a Helix Universal Server and an image clip on a Web server. With this capability, SMIL eliminates the need to merge multiple clips into a single streaming file. [adapted from the RealNetworks announcement]
Details from the Announcment
With the source code of SMIL 2.0 and the Helix DNA Client, Helix community developers can support display of complex presentations in their products. The Helix DNA Client is already in use by major middleware and consumer electronics companies to enable Internet media on consumer electronics devices such as DVD players, set top boxes, PDAs, and mobile devices.
RealNetworks is a contributor to both the SMIL 1.0 and 2.0 specifications and is proud that SMIL 2.0 is both a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation, the highest level of authorized standard, and a key component of the 3rd Generation Partnership Product (3GPP) specification for mobile multimedia. Supported in industry leading media players, such as RealOne Player, SMIL is typically used for multimedia presentations that integrate streaming audio and video with images, text or any other media type.
"Desktop, mobile and consumer electronics developers need easy access to an industry standard presentation language along with a reference implementation to jump-start development of their audio/video-enabled products," said Nagesh Pabbisetty, vice president, Helix Products and Solutions, RealNetworks, Inc. "We are pleased to contribute our world class implementation of SMIL into the Helix community to assist Helix DNA developers in leveraging the most comprehensive and open multi-format platform for digital media."
"As a visual authoring program for Web designers, Adobe GoLive users rely on industry standards like SMIL to create unique experiences on the Web," said Mark Asher, group product manager for GoLive at Adobe. "RealNetworks' efforts to empower device manufacturers with this advanced technology will ultimately enable GoLive users to develop world class presentations."
"SMIL is the W3C Recommendation for multimedia that allows authors to create XML-based interactive multimedia presentations," said Philipp Hoschka, Deputy Director for the W3C. "We are pleased to see SMIL support expanded into the Helix Community, making the power and flexibility of SMIL available to more developers and more users, and encouraging the even broader adoption of an open multimedia format."
Developers interested in offering content providers the ability to display their content on devices, such as set top boxes, mobile and handheld devices, can implement the Helix DNA Client with SMIL functionality. This simplifies both the product development process and the creation of content -- as SMIL enables content owners to create complex media presentations without using scripting languages. RealNetworks' cross-platform SMIL source code (Windows, Mac and Linux available today) is available under a no-cost open source or a royalty-based commercial license to the registered developers of the Helix community.
As part of the Helix DNA Client, the SMIL source code is licensed under both an OSI-certified public source license and a commercial community source license. Both licenses are free of charge for research and development use. The open source RealNetworks' Public Source License (RPSL) is royalty free and requires licensees to open source their application. The RealNetworks Community Source License (RCSL) includes a royalty for commercial use and enables licensees to retain proprietary control over the intellectual property in the products they build using the code.
Helix is the industry's only open comprehensive multi-format digital media platform. The Helix platform consists of source code developed by RealNetworks over the past nine years for the creation, delivery and playback of digital media, as well as a set of interfaces for building media-enabled applications. With over 10,000 members, the Helix community is enabled to use this source code to build media-capable products with industry-leading technology, intellectual property and commonly used interfaces...
- Announcement 2003-07-07: "RealNetworks Releases Industry Standard SMIL Source Code to Helix Community. Helix Developers Can Now Easily Create Helix DNA Client Products Supporting Synchronized Multimedia."
- Helix Community development website
- 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)
- RealNetworks Inc. Corporate
- RealNetworks website
- See also: "Nokia Offers Mobile Security and Print-on-demand." By Tony Smith. In The Register (June 16, 2003). Details in the announcement.
- Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL 2.0)
- W3C Synchronized Multimedia website
- W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity Statement
- SMIL Authoring Tools
- "Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL)" - Main reference page.