Multimedia computing has emerged in the last few years as a major area of research. Multimedia computer systems have opened a wide range of applications by combining a variety of information sources, such as voice, graphics, animation, images, audio and full-motion video. Looking at the big picture, multimedia can be viewed as the merging of three industries: computer, communications, and broadcasting industries. Research and development efforts can be divided into two areas. As the first area of research, much effort has been centered on the stand-alone multimedia workstation and associated software systems and tools, such as music composition, computer-aided education and training, and interactive video. However, the combination of multimedia computing with distributed systems offers even greater potential. New applications based on distributed multimedia systems include multimedia information systems, collaborative and video conferencing systems, on-demand multimedia services, and distance learning. Multimedia Systems and Techniques is one of two volumes published by Kluwer, both of which provide a broad introduction into this fast moving area. The book covers fundamental concepts and techniques used in multimedia systems. The topics include multimedia objects and related models, multimedia compression techniques and standards, multimedia interfaces, multimedia storage techniques, multimedia communication and networking, multimedia synchronization techniques, multimedia information systems, scheduling in multimedia systems, and video indexing and retrieval techniques. Multimedia Systems and Techniques, together with its companion volume, Multimedia Tools and Applications, is intended for anyone involved in multimedia system design and applications and can be used as a textbook for advanced courses on multimedia.