It'd be a tough task to write routines to playback a wide range of multimedia formats. Then you'd have to keep an eye out for new formats, write new code, and make it all so efficient that it can do real-time playback under a Java Virtual Machine. Fortunately, you don't have to do any of this!

Sun has been working on the Java Media Framework API, which offers an easy API to playback multimedia files. The API has been available for some time now, and implementations are now available from Sun, Intel, and others. For more information see http://java.sun.com/products/java-media/jmf/index.html

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