Microsoft on Monday released the DirectX Media 5.1 Software Development Kit (SDK), a set of programming interfaces for developers wishing to add multimedia features to their Windows 95/NT 4.0 programs. The DirectX Media 5.1 run-time libraries are already integrated into Internet Explorer 4.0 and are scheduled to be included in Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0, both due next year.

The SDK includes the DirectShow, DirectAnimation, Direct3D, and DirectPlay APIs.

"Microsoft DirectX Media 5.1 advances the multimedia developer community for Windows in two ways," said Eric Engstrom, general manager of DirectX Media at Microsoft. "First, it delivers a high-performance SDK for creating dynamic applications, tools and content. Second, it provides end users with optimal performance of those applications and content, through the incorporation of DirectX 5.1 run times in Internet Explorer 4.0 and upcoming releases of Windows. This advance is significant because it means that developers don't have to spend valuable design time building their own run times, and end users don't have to download viewers just to display Web content. That's a huge benefit for Internet developers, and it goes a long way toward making the Internet a more enjoyable, user-friendly experience for end users."

The DirectX 5.1 SDK is available now on at Microsoft's DirectX Web site