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What is SMIL?


Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL, pronounced as “Smile”) is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommended open specification XML markup language to define multimedia (video, audio, image, text, HTML, widget) presentations. It is used for real time newscasts, advertisements, interactive multimedia experiences. Media contents in SMIL can be loaded from different source locations: the Internet (by using URL), local drives or mixed (use contents from the Internet and local drives in the same presentation). SMIL scripts can be pushed to a large number of devices easily thought the Internet.

Key features of SMIL:

  • Synchronized Media content playback (scheduling)
  • Screen layout (multi-regions, multi-layers)
  • Priority-based scheduling
  • Interactive playback control
  • Bandwidth throttling (prefetch),
  • Contents transition effects

The official SMIL 3.0 specification at the W3C Web site:

Standard for Digital Signage

POPAI (Point of Purchase Advertising International) is a Digital Signage Standards Committee created three new subcommittees to focus on critically needed standards for Screen Media Formats, Media Players Interoperability and Server Intercommunications.

SMIL Programming

SMIL's file extension

SMIL uses plain-text file formats and SMIL script can be written with any text-editor program. The plain-text file needs to be named as *.smil.

SMIL players

Products that utilize SMIL are available from leading companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Real Networks. SMIL files can be opened with:

Platform Applications
Windows RealNetworks RealPlayer Cloud, Apple QuickTime Player, Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Mac RealNetworks RealPlayer Cloud, Apple QuickTime Player.
Linux RealNetworks RealPlayer Cloud.