Friday, December 4, 2009

Microsoft DirectShow API

When developing the softphone application I had to use Microsoft DirectShow API to handle multimedia.

Microsoft DirectShow API is the media streaming architecture for streaming media on the Microsoft Windows platform. Working with multimedia is a challenge due to the following reasons.
  • Multimedia streams contains large amount of data and need to process quickly.
  • Audio and video must be synchronized and played at the same rate.
  • Data can be comes from many sources like local files, networks, cameras etc.
  • Data may come with wide variety of formats.
  • The programmer doesn’t have knowledge about the hardware of the end user’s system.
The DirectShow is designed overcome above problems and the main design goal of the DirectShow is to simplify the task of creating digital media applications on the Windows platform by isolating applications from the complexities of the data transports, hardware differences and synchronization.

DirectShow provides the support for high quality capture and play back of multimedia streams and it supports wide variety of formats like ASF, MPEG, AVI, MP3, and WAV. DirectShow is based on Component Object Model (COM) where COM is and interface standard for software componentry introduced by Microsoft in 1993. It is used to enable inter process communication and dynamic object creation in large range of programming languages. So to write a DirectShow application or a component it is necessary to have a understanding about the COM client programming.

DirectShow can be used to development of applications like audio-video capture applications, file players, TV and DVD players, video editing applications, file format converters and many more. IF the programmer needs to write his own DirectShow component to support new formats or custom effects, it provides access to the underlying stream control architecture.

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