What is the difference between SMIL and SAMI?

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AccessIT Article ID: 1074

SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, pronounced "smile") is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specification markup language that enables simple authoring of multimedia presentations that integrate streaming audio and video with images, text, or any other media. It accomplishes this by dividing the different media components into separate files and streams and then displaying them together on the user's computer as if they were a single multimedia stream. For example, SMIL is commonly used for delivering captioned text and/or audio description, synchronized with an accompanying video file. Current desktop versions of QuickTime Player, Real Player, and several other media players support SMIL. For additional information, consult the W3C Synchronized Multimedia page.

SAMI (Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange) is similar to SMIL but was developed by Microsoft and is supported solely by Microsoft products, including Microsoft Encarta® Encyclopedia, Windows Media™ Player, and some Microsoft multimedia titles. For further information, consult Microsoft's documents Understanding SAMI 1.0 and Adding Closed Captions to Digital Media.

Both SMIL and SAMI are easy-to-learn HTML-like languages, and authors often write SMIL and SAMI presentations with a simple text editor. Additionally, the National Center on Accessible Media's free software tool called Media Access Generator (MAGpie), which is commonly used for producing accessible multimedia, produces both SMIL and SAMI output.

Last update or review: May 12, 2008