W3C W3C Issues SMIL as a Proposed Recommendation

Voting Now Underway by W3C Member Organizations on the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language Specification

For immediate release

(also available in Japanese)
Contact America -- Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>

Kathryn Esplin <kesplin@w3.org

Contact Europe -- Ned Mitchell <ned@ala.com>
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Andrew Lloyd <allo@ala.com>
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Contact Asia -- Yumiko Matsubara <matsubara@w3.org>
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http://www.w3.org/ -- 9 April, 1998 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the release of the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language specification as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. The W3C Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group has determined that the SMIL specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, is supported for industry-wide adoption, and is ready to enter the review and voting process by the W3C Membership.

W3C Process

Specifications developed within W3C working groups must be formally approved by the Membership. Consensus is reached after a specification has proceeded through the following review stages: Working Draft, Proposed Recommendation, and Recommendation.

Stable working drafts are submitted by working groups to the W3C Director for consideration as a Proposed Recommendation. Upon the Director's approval, the document becomes a "Proposed Recommendation", and is forwarded to the W3C Membership to vote on becoming an official W3C Recommendation.

The W3C Advisory Committee -- comprised of one official representative from each Member organization -- submits one of the following votes on the Proposed Recommendation: yes; yes, with comments; no, unless specified deficiencies are corrected; no, this Proposed Recommendation should be abandoned.

During this voting period, the Working Group expects to resolve minor technical issues and communicate its results to the W3C Director. After this time, the Director will announce the disposition of the document; it may become a W3C Recommendation (possibly with minor changes), revert to Working Draft status, or may be dropped as a W3C work item.

The Member voting and review period lasts approximately 6 weeks.


Created and developed by the W3C Synchronized Multimedia (SYMM) Working Group, the SMIL specification is an XML-based language for writing "TV-like" multimedia presentations for the World Wide Web.

SMIL enables multimedia synchronization over time easily; an author, for example, can write documents with sequences such as "play audio file 'A' in parallel with video file 'B' or "show image 'C' after audio file 'A' has finished playing".  A key advantage of SMIL is that it reduces the bandwidth of TV-like content, eliminating the need to convert low-bandwidth media types (such as text and images) into high-bandwidth video. In addition, SMIL documents can be authored using a simple text editor, following the success model of HTML. Multimedia authors can describe a presentation using three simple SMIL elements without the need to learn a complex scripting language.

W3C continues to evolve the SMIL specification to provide even more functionality and to ensure consistency of implementation world-wide.

The W3C SYMM Working Group includes both key industry players such as Digital Equipment Corporation, Lucent/Bell Labs, Microsoft, Philips N.V., RealNetworks and The Productivity Works; as well as research and government organizations such as CWI (Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, the Netherlands) and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA).

The SMIL specification has been produced as part of the W3C Synchronized Multimedia Activity, and is available at http://www.w3.org/TR/PR-SMIL

For more information on the Synchronized Multimedia Activity, please see http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo

For more information on the W3C Process, please see http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Process/

About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; sample code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, more than 250 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see http://www.w3.org/

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$Date: 1998/04/09 13:44:10 $