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Multimedia. Chapter 20. Overview. In this chapter, you will learn how to Describe how to implement sound in a PC Install and configure video capture hardware and software Set up a PC to view television signals. Sound-Capture Basics. Four components for capturing and outputting sound

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Chapter 20



In this chapter, you will learn how to

Describe how to implement sound in a PC

Install and configure video capture hardware and software

Set up a PC to view television signals

Sound capture basics

Sound-Capture Basics

Four components for capturing and outputting sound

Sound card



Recording/Playback software

Sound capture basics continued

Sound-Capture Basics (continued)

Sampling = capturing sound

Sampling rate is measured in cycles per second (KHz)

Low quality (11 KHz) to high quality (192 KHz)

Doesn’t capture every nanosecond of sound

Takes samples and extrapolates, or predicts, what the data is between samples

Dotted line—can you connect the dots?

Sound capture basics continued1

Sampling = capturing sound

Bit depth—number of characteristics of a particular sound (for each sample)

Amplitude (loudness)

Frequency (tone)

Timbre (qualities from different instruments)

Sound-Capture Basics (continued)

Sound capture basics continued2

Sound-Capture Basics (continued)

Sound waves are commonly sampled with either 8 or 16 bits per sample

8-bit stores 28 or 256 different characteristics

16-bit stores 216 or 65,536 different characteristics


Monaural—one track

Stereo—two tracks

CD quality

44.1 KHz

16-bit depth

Recorded sound formats

Recorded Sound Formats

Pulse code modulation (PCM)

Developed for telephone calls

Better known as the WAV format (waveform)

Large files

Four-minute song at 44.1 KHz and 16-bit stereo is greater than 40 MB

Compressor/decompressor (CODEC) programs

Algorithms developed to compress sound files

MPEG-1 Layer 3 codec or MP3 is one example of a codec

Playing sounds

Playing Sounds

Every sound card can play WAV files using sound player software

Windows Media Player comes with Windows

iTunes is Apple’s media program

Many other good sound players are available



Musical Instrument Digital Interface

MIDI file is a text file

Contains a series of commands that describe

What note to play

How long to play it

Which instruments to use

Tiny in size compared to WAV files

First movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is 78 MB as a WAV file and 60 KB as a MIDI file

Midi continued

MIDI (continued)

Sound cards play MIDI files using one of two technologies

FM synthesis

Strictly electronic—software says what to play

Wave table synthesis

Uses recorded sounds (WAV files) to start

Modifies characteristics of sounds to create amplitude, frequency, and timbre desired

Polyphony of card—how many instruments it can play at once (64 instruments is common)

Other file formats

Other File Formats

Over 100 sound formats

AAC –Advanced Audio Coding –the native format for Apple’s iTunes

AIFF –Audio Interchange File Format – popular format for Macintosh computers

ASM - Assembly Language Source – compressed files often seen on the Internet and used in streaming sound

ASX – Microsoft Advanced Streaming Redirector

AU –Often seen in Windows, Sun, Next, UNIX, and Mac

OGG – Vorbis format – open source codex

RM – RealMedia – audio or audio and video

WMA – Windows Media Audio - proprietary

Playing sounds1

Playing Sounds

Streaming quality improving, with many stations outputting 128-Kbps signals

Media Player




Getting the right sound card

Getting the Right Sound Card

Getting the Right Sound Card

Sound cards

Sound Cards

A sound card typically has many built-in features

Two separate processors (one for MIDI and one for the rest)

Support chips for joysticks

Recording capabilities

MIDI instrument support

Surround sound

Can be a separate sound card

Often just a chip on the motherboard or part of the Southbridge

Sound card differences

Sound Card Differences

Sound cards differ in six basic areas

Processor capabilities

Audio standards

Speaker support

Recording quality


Extra features

Processor handles communication among the application, OS, and CPU

Low-end sound cards let your CPU do most of the work

Better sound cards do most of the processing, which accelerates the sound process and provides better sound quality

Audio standards

Audio Standards


Up to 6 channels

48 KHz/20-bit

Obviously an old standard, but implemented on many motherboards still

High Definition Audio (HDA)

Intel standard

Up to 8 channels

192 KHz/32-bit

Code name: Azalia

Often see implementations using “Azalia”

Sound card differences continued

Sound Card Differences (continued)

Speaker support

Basic support—two speakers or headphones

Better sound cards support five or more speakers

Often have a subwoofer

5.1 means 5 speakers with 1 subwoofer

Recording quality

Signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio expressed in decibels

Low-end cards have S/N ratio of 30 to 50 decibels

Records artifacts (noise) when there is no actual noise

High-end cards offer a 96 to 100+ S/N ratio

Sound card differences continued1

Sound Card Differences (continued)


Line In and Line Out converters enable the sound card to send and receive input and output from other devices

The Line In connector runs to a Line Out or Aux connector on the back of a stereo receiving system

Rear Out connects to the rear speakers for surround sound

Analog/Digital Out for external digital connections

Microphone and Joystick

Sound card connections

Sound Card Connections

Mini-audio connections

Main stereo speaker is green

Line In connector is blue

Microphone connector is pink

Sound card differences continued2

Sound Card Differences (continued)

Extra Features

Almost all motherboards have built-in sound

Extra goodies needed to entice buyers for standalone sound cards

Digital output to integrate PC with home entertainment system or DVD receiver

Surround-sound speaker connections

Breakout box adding ports to front of PC


Lab sound hardware

Lab – Sound Hardware

Most current motherboards have built-in sound, does yours?

How can you determine if the motherboard has built-in sound hardware?

What audio standard does the sound hardware support?

How many speakers does it support?

Audio cables

Audio Cables

Playing audio CDs through your sound card used to require a cable from your optical drive to the sound card

Most optical drives come with an MPC2 audio cable for this purpose

Modern systems don'tuse this cable

Speaker standards

Speaker Standards


Left and right

2.1 systems

Pair of speakers calledsatellites and a subwoofer

Surround sound standards

Surround-Sound Standards

Dolby Digital

Supports five channels plus subwoofer (5.1)

Front right, front left, front center, rear left, rear right

Digital Theatre System (DTS)

Competing standard that also supports 5.1

Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDIF)

Uses single connector for entire 5.1 (or greater) system

Surround sound standards continued

Surround-Sound Standards (continued)

DirectX provides applications, primarily games, with direct access to hardware

Offers developers easy-to-use commands

Easy to program sounds in the desired channel

DirectSound3D (DS3D)

Can place a sound anywhere in 3-D space

Known as positional audio

R.I.P. in Vista (Try OpenAL now)

Environmental audio extensions (EAX)

Creative Labs’ response to DS3D

Audio presets for realism in sound

Speaker features

Speaker Features


Volume controllers

On/off switch

Can be on speakersor on special box

Headphone jack

Some systemscan automaticallysense when plugged in

Installing a sound card in a windows system

Installing a Sound Card in a Windows System

Physical installation

Physical Installation

Installs like any other PCI card

Plug in the card

Load the drivers


Hardest part may be identifying where to plug in speakers

Refer to documentation

Typical stereo or 2.1 speaker system plugs into Speaker or Speaker 1 port

Surround-sound speakers may use single S/PDIF

Physical installation continued

Physical Installation (continued)

Basic steps

Shut down your computer, unplug it, and open the case

Find an open PCI or PCIe slot and install the card

Connect the CD audio cable to the drive and the card

Installing drivers

Installing Drivers

Let Windows install drivers

If necessary/desired, use CD that came with sound card

If installing a USB sound card

Follow the cardinal rule for USB drivers: Install the USB driver before the USB device

Verify driver is installed by checking Device Manager


Windows configuration applications

Windows Configuration Applications

Most sound card configuration can be done with the operating system utilities

Control Panel applet: Sound in Vista, Sounds and Audio Devices applet in Windows XP, Sounds and Multimedia in Windows 2000

Five tabs in 2000/XP






Windows configuration applications continued

Windows Configuration Applications (continued)

Vista has better support for multiple speakers and HDMI

Proprietary configuration apps

Proprietary Configuration Apps

Adds access to other features that aren’t otherwise available

Autosensing—allows hardware to be plugged in using different ports and the ports adjust

Plug microphone into speaker port and speaker port becomes a microphone port

Installing applications

Some sound cards install extra software

Goal is to provide user with extra free software

These programs aren’t needed to use any of the features

Intended to provide extra value for the purchase

Installing Applications

Hardware problems

Hardware Problems


Check physical controls

Check software controls

Windows Volume controls


Ensure they are turned on and getting good power

Make sure they are plugged in

Check for visual indicators that a sound is playing

Replace speakers if blown speakers suspected

Configuration problems

Configuration Problems

First place to check: Device Manager

Consider reinstalling driver

Ensure the latest device drivers are installed

Check the manufacturer’s Web site for updates

Review the Sounds and Audio Devices applet settings

Application problems

Application Problems

First, look for an error message

Check the application’s support site

Second, check the sound file

Sound files might be corrupted

Last, reinstall the application

Video capture


Designed to accept incoming video

Video Capture

Video capture continued


Controls the hardware

Usually also edits

Video Capture (continued)

Multimedia file formats

Consists of two parts, video and audio

Each part may have its own compression

Compressed audio and video combined into a container file (wrapper)

The file name does not always tell you the compression

Multimedia File Formats

Video codecs

Videos typically have sound built in

Some common video codecs:

Video Codecs




Used for DVDs


Used in Internet broadcasts


Used in high-def movies for Blu-ray discs & others


Windows Media Video


Open source codec for Ogg project


Used in Adobe Flash (VP6) and Skype (VP7)


Microsoft hi-def codec usually wrapped in WMV file

Video wrappers

Video Wrappers

Somecommon multimedia wrappers




Mainly for WMA/WMV streams


Standard file for Windows


Flash Video can use H.263, VP6 or H.264


Apple QuickTime container for Mac and Windows


MPEG-2 Transport Stream for many streams


Open source container for Vorbis & Theora codecs

Troubleshooting video

Troubleshooting Video

Try these if you experience dropped frames

Turn off unnecessary programs

Turn off background processes

Turn off playback/preview

Try these for sync problems

Change or update software

Try capturing analog to digital video cam and then go from video cam to PC

Check out

Troubleshooting video continued

Troubleshooting Video (continued)

For poor capture quality, try these

See “dropped frames”

Upgrade hardware

Should have a top-notch CPU

Need gobs of RAM

Check video source

Not much can be done if source is degraded

Troubleshooting video continued1

Troubleshooting Video (continued)

Missing Codecs

Sound, but no video

Player will warn you

Check your codecs

Tuner hardware

Tuner Hardware

Acts as the interface between cable/satellite or over-the-air TV signals and your computer

Tuner software

Tuner Software

Controls the tuner hardware to let you watch TV programs

Beyond a

Beyond A+

Sound card benchmarking

PC performance issues may be related to your sound card

Analyze your sound card with RightMark 3DSound from iXBT.Com/Digit-Life

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