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The internet goes multimedia

The Story

It didn't take long for the World Wide Web to transform the internet from a world of monochromatic text into an entertainment explosion. Web browsers now feature not only pictures, but audio and video files that bring artists like Sarah McLachlan to your PC. In this clip, Mark Hyland of Shift magazine demonstrates the new technology. It isn't without its downside: Hyland says trying to download a huge video file over a telephone line is "like trying to put a pig through a python." 

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Nov. 14, 1994
Guest(s): Mark Hyland
Host: Kevin Newman
Duration: 7:13
"Good Enough" and "Hold On" by Sarah McLachlan, Nettwerk Productions, published by Tyde Music. "Hold On" video directed by Tony Pantages.

Did You know?

• Early web browsers allowed users to download audio files in a single format, Sun Microsystems' .AU format. Microsoft's Windows 3.0 included a very basic media player in 1991, and Apple's Quicktime 1.0 was released on Dec. 2, 1991.

• On July 26, 1995, RealAudio 1.0 was released, allowing internet users to listen to "streaming" audio without downloading it first. Other formats were released, including Quicktime, Windows Media and MPEG.

• Unlike other advances in audio and video technology (such as the introduction of the compact disc), the invention of many popular internet multimedia formats were grassroots efforts. They were usually created by a network of consumers, not electronics hardware manufacturers or record labels.

• The MP3 format (named for the Motion Pictures Expert Group's Layer 3 audio) was designed in 1989 and standardized in 1991. Encoders and decoders were released to the public in 1996, coinciding with the release of the Intel Pentium 120 Mhz processor, the first home computer chip powerful enough to create the files. The popularity of MP3s grew dramatically, paving the way for new software, portable devices -- and controversies over illegal duplication and file sharing networks.

• Shift magazine began in Montreal with publisher Andrew Heintzman, Mark Hyland and Evan Solomon. Hyland later worked as a media consultant for the CBC, eventually joining the broadcaster full time and becoming its Director of Broadband and Digital Services. Evan Solomon also migrated to the CBC, hosting numerous programs including Hot Type, CBC News: Sunday and Power and Politics. Andrew Heintzman is the President of Investeco Capital Corp., "a company focussed on investing in environmental businesses."

• Shift magazine advertised itself as "your print guide to digital culture." It was published six times a year. From 1998 to 2001 the group produced a half-hour television program called Shift TV for the Life Network.


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