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it seems overly complexComplex, yes, but no overly so... it's about as simple as it can be, considering what it does.
AV frameworks aren't simple creatures.
and apparently has not been supported/updated since 2002.Which is why I wouldn't use it for anything other than a person project or an academic exercise...
I'm wondering if there might be any alternative frameworks.There are. The best one is called FMJ...
I've read about FMJ, but that seems to rely on JMF being installed, so doesn't seem like a true alternative.No, FMJ is an entirely independant thing... it's essentially a wrapper around some common AV libraries (FFMPEG as best I recall) designed to be API-compatible with JMF.
In other words, JMF code should be able to be compiled against both the JMF jars & native libraries or the FMJ jars & native libraries.
If you want to / need to do it in Java, then FMJ is probably your best bet... if you don't need to do it in Java, then you'd be better off learning Adobe Flex or Microsoft Silverlight.