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Multimedia barriers drop at CeBIT in March   
Thursday, February 17 2005 @ 11:34 PM EST
Contributed by: glosser

Imagine walking through your home from room to room, and as you go, some streaming music or video follows you, always in sync, never interrupted. Multiple devices are used and one piece of software controls the entire show. This is the kind of thing that may very soon be possible with the software revealed in this story from

The Network-Integrated Multimedia Middleware developed at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, is platform- and network-agnostic, enabling it to crash through previous barriers to distributed multimedia. At CeBIT next month, NMM will strut its stuff as representatives of the university's Computer Graphics Lab demonstrate the extraordinary flexibility of their wares.

NMM can run on a Windows, Unix, or Linux operating system, but most of the concepts to be demonstrated at CeBIT will be running on Linux machines, according to the lab's Marco Lohse. As far as NMM is concerned, the devices on a network are all virtual devices, such that "a commodity mobile phone can become a radio receiver or the same video recording can be displayed on three TV sets simultaneously," he explained.

With NMM, multimedia content is readily shared among networked devices and even "handed over" from one to another. One example is media playback, a task which can be handed over from a mobile MP3 player to a hi-fi system in a living room, for example, as a person approaches and then enters his house. The demonstrations at CeBIT will be hosted by a multimedia PC, a laptop, and three PDAs, all running Linux. The PC, a "barebones" system from MSI, hosts a "Multimedia Box" that the lab says provides "an integrated and extensible software solution" for a networked home entertainment center.

In addition to live demonstrations, representatives of Saarland's graphics lab will report on a number of previous demonstrations of NMM's capabilities. In one, audio is handed over from a Linux PDA to a conceptual car infotainment system. In another, MP3 audio is moved back and forth between the PDA and a Multimedia Box.

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