Considerable progress has been made in the development of technologies to support distributed multimedia computing, such that there is now a wide range of pilot applications under development. The design of support systems which help in the development of multimedia applications is therefore an emerging area of research. This paper discusses the requirements of distributed multimedia applications with respect to their support environments. A number of experimental systems are then described which intend to provide the necessary facilities for multimedia applications. Particular focus is placed on the Lancaster system which provides multimedia support for open distributed systems.