The Web: That's Entertainment!

Spring 2002 CSANews Issue 42  |  Posted date : Apr 05, 2007.Back to list

We have all surfed from site to site and viewed countless pages of information that we have used. Have we tried using our computers as a new platform for entertainment? Yes, I'm talking about listening to music and radio ... watching television ... playing video games ... and, viewing movies and movie trailers.

Multimedia is one of the most exciting things about the Web. Life online can be a much richer experience when you aren't restricted to just words and pictures. What would television be like if it only offered rotating still images. It certainly wouldn't be what is today. Well, the same bodes true for the Internet. It got its feet wet presenting an endless selection of images and text. Now, it's an exciting multimedia entertainment venue, waiting just for you.....well maybe 2,000,000,000 other people too.

What do I need to experience multimedia online?
To experience multimedia online, you need a computer equipped with a sound card, to which you connect a set of speakers. Then, you need special software programs called plug-ins. A plug-in, also referred to as a player, extends the capabilities of your Web browser, turning your computer into a radio or television.

When you encounter a Web page that requires a special plug-in, you will often be prompted to download it. If the page is set up properly--some aren't--clicking the appropriate button takes you to the Web site of the plug-in developer, where you can download the plug-in. Most plug-ins are free and, since they are small programs, they download quickly. Whether you use Internet Explorer or Navigator, the installation procedure is basically the same.

Get Plugged in Now
To prepare for your next Internet outing, take the time to download the following multimedia plug-ins that will enhance your Web experience.

Get animated and interactive with Shockwave, one of the most useful plug-ins on the Net. More than 270 million Web users have installed Macromedia Shockwave Player. They now have access to some of the best the Web has to offer - including dazzling 3D games and entertainment, interactive product demonstrations, and online learning applications. Visit http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave to download the latest copy by clicking on the download button. If you are using a modem, it might take 10 minutes to download. After it installs, it will ask you if you wish to play some online games. Go for it....

Flash Player is another popular plug-in from Macromedia. It turns your computer into an interactive animation machine. Visit http://www.macromedia.com/software/flashplayer/ to download the latest copy by clicking on the same download button as Shockwave.

Turn your computer into a radio or television with the RealPlayer. Visit http://www.real.com/ and select "Free RealOne Player" in the centre of the page. Once you install the RealPlayer, you can listen to the latest newscasts from http://www.cbc.ca/audio.html, offering a choice of news broadcasts from cities across Canada.

QuickTime from Apple Computer is a plug-in for playing video clips. You can watch movie trailers and other multimedia with this useful little program. Visit http://www.apple.com/quicktime/ to get your copy. The download file sizes range from 3.5 MB to 8 MB. The download time with a modem may be 20 ­ 30 minutes. Once you have installed it, go to http://www.apple.com/trailers/ and watch some trailers of upcoming movie releases.

There is some functionality duplication among these products, but their presence on your system will ensure a full multimedia experience.

This should be enough to get you going. Your thirst for more plug-ins and capabilities will come from your experience and desire to use the Internet as an entertainment medium to its fullest. This is all great stuff, but remember that the real world needs some of your time too. Hug your spouse, spend time with friends and family, be active and enjoy our Canadian summer.

Technology can't do that for you.......yet!!