In computer system, the data that is input gets converted into information. We identified the need for external storage media on which data can be stored for future use.

In our day-to-day lives, we store information in the form of files, be it our telephone directory, or the record of our monthly expenditure. The medium that is used in this type of manual storage is usually paper or other such physical media.

Similarly, information is also stored on the computer in form of files, but the media is either external storage or internal storage. A computer may have the following types of files on its storage media.

In this lesson, you will learn about multimedia and its different types. Multimedia is widely used in today’s life in form of your graphic audio video etc. How multimedia is helping in a different sector and giving a better experience of joy. Different types of multimedia formats and how it is being used in day to day life.

In this chapter, you will learn to:

  • Types of data
  • Multimedia and its feature.
  • Types of multimedia files
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Multimedia


Text storage on a Storage Media

Any Kind of text information, be it letters, documents or memorandums, is
stored in the computer in form of file, which may be broadly classified as a text
file. An example of a text file is shown in the following figure.

Data storage on a Storage Media

Let’s now look how a company manually stores its data. In a manual System the data is saved in the form of file. A data contains both numbers and characters.

Graphic storage on a Storage Media

The computer is also capable of storing pictures, moving videos, sketches and others forms of visual information. This type of information is stored in the form of file that may be broadly classified as graphic file. An example of graphic file is shown in the following figure.

Graphic storage on a Storage Media                        

The audio, which is recorded from the microphone, is saved as sound ü Audio storage on a Storage Media file. The information in these

Different files can be accessed and modified with the help of application software associated with them.



What Is Multimedia        


Multimedia is a technology which stores data as text, photo, pictures, music, sounds, graphic, film and animation and gives the methods to collect and modify the data as desired. It is computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images (Video), animation, audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally. Multimedia means that computer information can be represented through audio, video, and animation in addition to traditional media (i.e., text, graphics drawings, and images).

Characteristics of a Multimedia System

A Multimedia system has four basic characteristics:

  • Multimedia systems must be computer controlled.
  • Multimedia systems are integrated.
  • The information they handle must be represented digitally.
  • The interface to the final presentation of media is usually interactive.


Elements of Multimedia


Graphics/Images–Graphic images are digital representations of non-text information such as drawing, chart, or photographs which play an important role in the learning process and which is worth a thousand words. Graphics are especially useful when there is a need to illustrate something or compare information.



Animation–It is actually a series of images, presented very quickly. They are useful for the “experience” they allow the end user to have. Just as television is better than newspapers in providing a first-person, experiential account of an event, multimedia that effectively incorporates moving images takes users to the scene and allows them to experience an event for themselves.


Text –Text is an important component used in many multimedia applications. They are characters that are used to create words, sentences and paragraphs. Text alone provide just one source of information. Yet, text is good at providing basic information. It is the simplest, and often the most effective way to get one’s message across. Insufficient attention given to the presentation and flow of text within multimedia application can result in the failure to communicate the presentation’s central message.


Audio– Audio is music, speech, or any other sound that the computer converts from analog sound/waves into a digital format. Sound helps in providing an additional element. There are times when it is important to let users hear the actual sound or sounds from a person or event.


Video–Video is made up of series of frames of slightly varied images which, when shown in rapid succession, give the impression of movement. Shooting video requires video skills and an understanding of the special demands of multimedia and pictures. Video sequences are made by capturing frames.


Special Effects–visual or sound effects introduced into a motion picture, video recording, or taped television production. Special effects have also been created mechanically on the set through the use of devices such as wires, explosives, and puppets and by building miniature models to simulate epic scenes such as battles.


Minimum requirements of multimedia computer are:-

  • Intel Pentium processor or any process with MMX
  • 32/64 MB RAM / technology + graphics accelerator
  • Keyboard, Mouse, CD-ROM drive
  • 4 GB Hard disk
  • Sound card with external speaker and microphone
  • SVGA display (color monitor)
  • Voice display (built-in)


Categories of Multimedia         

Multimedia may be broadly divided into linear and non-linear categories. Linear active content progresses without any navigation control for the viewer such as a cinema presentation. Non-linear content offers user interactivity to control progress as used with a computer game or used in self-paced computer based training. Non-linear content is also known as hypermedia content.


Applications of Multimedia


Multimedia finds its application in various areas including, but not limited to, advertisements, art, education, entertainment, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, scientific research. Few application areas of multimedia are listed below:


Creative industries

Creative industries use multimedia for a variety of purposes ranging from fine arts, to entertainment, to commercial art, to journalism, to media and software services provided for any of the industries listed below. An individual multimedia designer may cover the spectrum throughout their career. Request for their skills range from technical, to analytical and to creative.


Much of the electronic old and new media utilized by commercial artists is multimedia. Exciting presentations are used to grab and keep attention in advertising. Industrial, business to business, and interoffice communications are often developed by creative services firms for advanced multimedia presentations beyond simple slide shows to sell ideas or liven-up training. Commercial multimedia developers may be hired to design for governmental services and nonprofit services applications as well.


Entertainment and Fine Arts

In addition, multimedia is heavily used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animations. Multimedia games are a popular pastime and are software programs available either as CD-ROMs or online. Some video games also use multimedia features.

Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of just sitting by as passive recipients of information are called Interactive Multimedia.



In Education, multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations, text about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is an informal term used to describe combining education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.


Software engineers may use multimedia in Computer Simulations for anything from entertainment to training such as military or industrial training. Multimedia for software interfaces are often done as collaboration between creative professionals and software engineers.


In the Industrial sector, multimedia is used as a way to help present information to shareholders, superiors and coworkers. Multimedia is also helpful for providing employee training, advertising and selling products all over the world via virtually unlimited web-based technologies.  

Mathematical and Scientific Research

In Mathematical and Scientific Research, multimedia is mainly used for modeling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance. Representative research can be found in journals such as the Journal of Multimedia.

Multimedia in Public Places

In hotels, railway stations, shopping malls, museums, and grocery stores, multimedia will become available at stand-alone terminals or kiosks to provide information and help. Such installation reduce demand on traditional information booths and personnel, add value, and they can work around the clock, even in the middle of the night, when live help is off duty.


File Formats


.bmp Bitmap Image File
.gif Graphical Interchange Format File
.jpg JPEG Image File
.png Portable Network Graphic
.psd Adobe Photoshop Document
.pspimage Paint Shop Pro Image
.thm Thumbnail Image File
.tif Tagged Image File
.yuv YUV Encoded Image File
. jpg Joint Photographic Expert Group
. jpeg Joint Photographic Expert Group
.gif Graphic Interchange Format
. bmp Bitmap Image
.tiff Tag Index File Format



.aif Audio Interchange File Format
.iff Interchange File Format
.m3u Media Playlist File
.m4a MPEG-4 Audio File
.mid MIDI File
.mp3 MP3 Audio File
.mpa MPEG-2 Audio File
.ra Real Audio File
.wav WAVE Audio File
.wma Windows Media Audio File



.3g2 3GPP2 Multimedia File
.3gp 3GPP Multimedia File
.asf Advanced Systems Format File
.asx Microsoft ASF Redirector File
.avi Audio Video Interleave File
.flv Flash Video File
.mov Apple QuickTime Movie
.mp4 MPEG-4 Video File
.mpg MPEG Video File
.rm Real Media File
.swf Shockwave Flash Movie
.vob DVD Video Object File
.wmv Windows Media Video File



.doc Microsoft Word Document
.docx Microsoft Word Open XML Document
.log Log File
.msg Outlook Mail Message
.pages Pages Document
.rtf Rich Text Format File
.txt Plain Text File
.wpd WordPerfect Document
.wps Microsoft Works Word Processor Document


Advantages of multimedia



We have already mentioned various advantages of using multimedia. We can still specifically list out following points that explains the advantages of the multimedia.

  • It can be used to help students and teacher to teach as well as learn the given topics easily.
  • It can be used to spread the knowledge easily all over the world wide in the cheap cost.
  • It is easy to take the multimedia files from one to other places as it can be stored in the cheap and light storage devices like CD-ROM.
  • It can be used for any subject and for anyone.
  • It can be used in Television, Films Industries and for personal entertainments.
  • It is highly used to realize the concept of Open University, Distance Education System, and Video Conferencing.
  • It is also used in Internet to make up the interactive web-page contents.
  • We can give the everlasting impression to the intended audiences on a specific topic by the use of multimedia.
  • Colored pictures, Motion pictures and other graphics could be shown in monitors and other big screens so that many people could view it and make out the impression about it.
  • Multimedia systems are generally very interactive so it is interesting to use.


Disadvantages of multimedia


In comparison to the enormous advantages we have very little disadvantages of multimedia. These disadvantages could be listed out as:

  • It is expensive to produce multimedia contents.
  • It is expensive to set up the multimedia systems.
  • It needs well trained manpower to create and use it.
  • Multimedia files are too large so, it is time consuming to transfer across the Internet and Intranet.