Moving Picture Experts Group

Moving Picture Experts Group
MPEG logo
MPEG Format is used on several media. This picture relates some of the most known media to the MPEG Format version and container format (TS and PS) used.

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is a working group of experts that was formed by ISO and IEC to set standards for audio and video compression and transmission.[1] It was established in 1988 by the initiative of Hiroshi Yasuda (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) and Leonardo Chiariglione[2], who has been from the beginning the Chairman of the group. The first MPEG meeting was in May 1988 in Ottawa, Canada.[3][4][5] As of late 2005, MPEG has grown to include approximately 350 members per meeting from various industries, universities, and research institutions. MPEG's official designation is ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29 WG11 - Coding of moving pictures and audio (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 29, Working Group 11).[6][7][8][9]



Compression methodology

The MPEG compression methodology is considered asymmetric as the encoder is more complex than the decoder.[1] The encoder needs to be algorithmic or adaptive whereas the decoder is 'dumb' and carries out fixed actions.[1] This is considered advantageous in applications such as broadcasting where the number of expensive complex encoders is small but the number of simple inexpensive decoders is large. The MPEG's (ISO's) approach to standardization is novel, because it is not the encoder that is standardized, but the way a decoder interprets the bitstream. A decoder that can successfully interpret the bitstream is said to be compliant.[1] The advantage of standardizing the decoder is that over time encoding algorithms can improve, yet compliant decoders continue to function with them.[1] The MPEG standards give very little information regarding structure and operation of the encoder and implementers can supply encoders using proprietary algorithms.[10] This gives scope for competition between different encoder designs, which means better designs can evolve and users have greater choice, because encoders of different levels of cost and complexity can exist, yet a compliant decoder operates with all of them.[10]

MPEG also standardizes the protocol and syntax under which it is possible to combine or multiplex audio data with video data to produce a digital equivalent of a television program. Many such programs can be multiplexed and MPEG defines the way such multiplexes can be created and transported. The definitions include the metadata used by decoders to demultiplex correctly.[11]

Sub Groups

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 - Coding of moving pictures and audio has following Sub Groups (SG):[6]

  • Requirements
  • Systems
  • Video
  • Audio
  • 3D Graphics Compression
  • Test

Cooperation with other groups

Joint Video Team

Joint Video Team (JVT) is joint project between ITU-T SG16/Q.6 (Study Group 16 / Question 6) - VCEG (Video Coding Experts Group) and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 - MPEG for the development of new video coding recommendation and international standard.[6][12] It was formed in 2001 and its main result has been H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10).[13]

Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding

Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) is a group of video coding experts from ITU-T Study Group 16 (VCEG) and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 (MPEG). It was created in 2010 to develop High Efficiency Video Coding, a new generation video coding standard that further reduces (by 50%) the data rate required for high quality video coding, as compared to the current ITU-T H.264 / ISO/IEC 14496-10 standard.[14][15] JCT-VC is co-chaired by Jens-Rainer Ohm and Gary Sullivan.


The MPEG standards consist of different Parts. Each part covers a certain aspect of the whole specification.[16] The standards also specify Profiles and Levels. Profiles are intended to define a set of tools that are available, and Levels define the range of appropriate values for the properties associated with them.[17] Some of the approved MPEG standards were revised by later amendments and/or new editions. MPEG has standardized the following compression formats and ancillary standards:

  • MPEG-1 (1993): Coding of moving pictures and associated audio for digital storage media at up to about 1.5 Mbit/s (ISO/IEC 11172). The first MPEG compression standard for audio and video. It is commonly limited to about 1.5 Mbit/s although the specification is capable of much higher bit rates. It was basically designed to allow moving pictures and sound to be encoded into the bitrate of a Compact Disc. It is used on Video CD, SVCD and can be used for low-quality video on DVD Video. It was used in digital satellite/cable TV services before MPEG-2 became widespread. To meet the low bit requirement, MPEG-1 downsamples the images, as well as uses picture rates of only 24–30 Hz, resulting in a moderate quality.[18] It includes the popular MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3) audio compression format.
  • MPEG-2 (1995): Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information (ISO/IEC 13818). Transport, video and audio standards for broadcast-quality television. MPEG-2 standard was considerably broader in scope and of wider appeal – supporting interlacing and high definition. MPEG-2 is considered important because it has been chosen as the compression scheme for over-the-air digital television ATSC, DVB and ISDB, digital satellite TV services like Dish Network, digital cable television signals, SVCD and DVD Video.[18] It is also used on Blu-ray Discs, but these normally use MPEG-4 Part 10 or SMPTE VC-1 for high-definition content.
  • MPEG-3: MPEG-3 dealt with standardizing scalable and multi-resolution compression[18] and was intended for HDTV compression but was found to be redundant and was merged with MPEG-2, as a result there is no MPEG-3 standard.[18][19] MPEG-3 is not to be confused with MP3, which is MPEG-1 Audio Layer III.
  • MPEG-4 (1998): Coding of audio-visual objects. (ISO/IEC 14496) MPEG-4 uses further coding tools with additional complexity to achieve higher compression factors than MPEG-2.[20] In addition to more efficient coding of video, MPEG-4 moves closer to computer graphics applications. In more complex profiles, the MPEG-4 decoder effectively becomes a rendering processor and the compressed bitstream describes three-dimensional shapes and surface texture.[20] MPEG-4 supports Intellectual Property Management and Protection (IPMP), which provides the facility to use proprietary technologies to manage and protect content like digital rights management.[21] It also supports MPEG-J, a fully programmatic solution for creation of custom interactive multimedia applications (Java application environment with a Java API) and many other features.[22][23][24] Several new higher-efficiency video standards (newer than MPEG-2 Video) are included, notably:

In addition, the following standards, while not sequential advances to the video encoding standard as with MPEG-1 through MPEG-4, are referred to by similar notation:

  • MPEG-7 (2002): Multimedia content description interface. (ISO/IEC 15938)
  • MPEG-21 (2001): Multimedia framework (MPEG-21). (ISO/IEC 21000) MPEG describes this standard as a multimedia framework and provides for intellectual property management and protection.

Moreover, more recently than other standards above, MPEG has started following international standards; each of the standards holds multiple MPEG technologies for a way of application.[25][26][27][28][29] (For example, MPEG-A includes a number of technologies on multimedia application format.)

  • MPEG-A (2007): Multimedia application format (MPEG-A). (ISO/IEC 23000) (e.g., Purpose for multimedia application formats,[30] MPEG music player application format, MPEG photo player application format and others)
  • MPEG-B (2006): MPEG systems technologies. (ISO/IEC 23001) (e.g., Binary MPEG format for XML,[31] Fragment Request Units, Bitstream Syntax Description Language (BSDL) and others)
  • MPEG-C (2006): MPEG video technologies. (ISO/IEC 23002) (e.g., Accuracy requirements for implementation of integer-output 8x8 inverse discrete cosine transform[32] and others)
  • MPEG-D (2007): MPEG audio technologies. (ISO/IEC 23003) (e.g., MPEG Surround[33], SAOC-Spatial Audio Object Coding and USAC-Unified Speech and Audio Coding)
  • MPEG-E (2007): Multimedia Middleware. (ISO/IEC 23004) (a.k.a. M3W) (e.g., Architecture,[34] Multimedia application programming interface (API), Component model and others)
  • Supplemental media technologies (2008). (ISO/IEC 29116) Part 1: Media streaming application format protocols will be revised in MPEG-M Part 4 - MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols.[35]
  • MPEG-V (2011): Media context and control. (ISO/IEC 23005) (a.k.a. Information exchange with Virtual Worlds) [36][37] (e.g., Avatar characteristics, Sensor information, Architecture[38][39] and others)
  • MPEG-M (2010): MPEG eXtensible Middleware (MXM). (ISO/IEC 23006) [40][41][42] (e.g., MXM architecture and technologies,[43] API, MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols[44])
  • MPEG-U (2010): Rich media user interfaces. (ISO/IEC 23007)[45][46] (e.g., Widgets)
MPEG groups of standards[26][27][28][47][48]
Acronym for a group of standards Title ISO/IEC standards First public release date (First edition) Description
MPEG-1 Coding of moving pictures and associated audio for digital storage media. Commonly limited to about 1.5 Mbit/s although specification is capable of much higher bit rates ISO/IEC 11172 1993
MPEG-2 Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information ISO/IEC 13818 1995
MPEG-3 abandoned, incorporated into MPEG-2
MPEG-4 Coding of audio-visual objects ISO/IEC 14496 1999
MPEG-7 Multimedia content description interface ISO/IEC 15938 2002
MPEG-21 Multimedia framework (MPEG-21) ISO/IEC 21000 2001
MPEG-A Multimedia application format (MPEG-A) ISO/IEC 23000 2007
MPEG-B MPEG systems technologies ISO/IEC 23001 2006
MPEG-C MPEG video technologies ISO/IEC 23002 2006
MPEG-D MPEG audio technologies ISO/IEC 23003 2007
MPEG-E Multimedia Middleware ISO/IEC 23004 2007
(none) Supplemental media technologies ISO/IEC 29116 2008 will be revised in MPEG-M Part 4 - MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols
MPEG-V Media context and control ISO/IEC 23005[38] 2011
MPEG-M MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) ISO/IEC 23006[43] 2010
MPEG-U Rich media user interfaces ISO/IEC 23007[45] 2010
MPEG-H[27] High-Efficiency Video Coding (planned ISO/IEC 23008) Under development

Standardization process

A standard published by ISO/IEC is the last stage of a long process that starts with the proposal of new work within a committee. Here are some abbreviations used for marking a standard with its status:[3][49][50][51][52][53]

  • PWI - Preliminary Work Item
  • NP or NWIP - New Proposal / New Work Item Proposal (e.g., ISO/IEC NP 23007)
  • AWI - Approved new Work Item (e.g., ISO/IEC AWI 15444-14)
  • WD - Working Draft
  • CD - Committee Draft (e.g., ISO/IEC CD 23000-5)
  • FCD - Final Committee Draft (e.g., ISO/IEC FCD 23000-12)
  • DIS - Draft International Standard
  • FDIS - Final Draft International Standard
  • PRF - Proof of a new International Standard
  • IS - International Standard (e.g., ISO/IEC 13818-1:2007)
  • CD Amd / PDAmd (PDAM) - Committee Draft Amendment / Proposed Draft Amendment (e.g., ISO/IEC 13818-1:2007/CD Amd 6)
  • FPDAmd / DAM (DAmd) - Final Proposed Draft Amendment / Draft Amendment (e.g., ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003/FPDAmd 1)
  • FDAM (FDAmd) - Final Draft Amendment (e.g., ISO/IEC 13818-1:2007/FDAmd 4)
  • Amd - Amendment (e.g., ISO/IEC 13818-1:2007/Amd 1:2007)

Other abbreviations:

  • TR - Technical Report (e.g., ISO/IEC TR 13818-5:2005)
  • TS - Technical Specification
  • IWA - International Workshop Agreement
  • Cor - Technical Corrigendum (e.g., ISO/IEC 13818-1:2007/Cor 1:2008)

A proposal of work (New Proposal) is approved at Subcommittee and then at the Technical Committee level (SC29 and JTC1 respectively - in the case of MPEG). When the scope of new work is sufficiently clarified, MPEG usually makes open requests for proposals - known as "Call for proposals". The first document that is produced for audio and video coding standards is called a Verification Model (VM). In the case of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 this was called Simulation and Test Model, respectively. When a sufficient confidence in the stability of the standard under development is reached, a Working Draft (WD) is produced. This is in the form of a standard but is kept internal to MPEG for revision. When a WD is sufficiently solid, becomes Committee Draft (CD) (usually at the planned time). It is then sent to National Bodies (NB) for ballot. The CD becomes Final Committee Draft (FCD) if the number of positive votes is above the quorum. After a review and comments issued by NBs, FCD is again submitted to NBs for the second ballot. If the FCD is approved, it becomes Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). ISO then holds a ballot with National Bodies, where no technical changes are allowed (yes/no ballot). If approved, the document becomes International Standard (IS).[3]

ISO/IEC Directives allow also the so-called "Fast-track procedure". In this procedure a document is submitted directly for approval as a draft International Standard (DIS) to the ISO member bodies or as a final draft International Standard (FDIS) if the document was developed by an international standardizing body recognized by the ISO Council.[50]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e John Watkinson, The MPEG Handbook, p.1
  2. ^ Hans Geog Musmann (PDF), Genesis of the MP3 Audio Coding Standard,, retrieved 2011-07-26 
  3. ^ a b c "About MPEG". Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  4. ^ "MPEG Meetings". Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  5. ^ (2009-09-06). "Riding the Media Bits, The Faultline". Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  6. ^ a b c ISO, IEC (2009-11-05). "ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29, SC 29/WG 11 Structure (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 - Coding of Moving Pictures and Audio)". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  7. ^ MPEG Committee. "MPEG - Moving Picture Experts Group". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  8. ^ ISO. "MPEG Standards - Coded representation of video and audio". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  9. ^ ISO. "JTC 1/SC 29 - Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  10. ^ a b John Watkinson, The MPEG Handbook, p.2
  11. ^ John Watkinson, The MPEG Handbook, p.3
  12. ^ "ITU-T and ISO/IEC to produce next generation video coding standard". 2002-02-08. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
  13. ^ ITU-T. "Joint Video Team". Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  14. ^ ITU-T (2010-01). "Final joint call for proposals for next-generation video coding standardization". Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  15. ^ ITU-T. "Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding - JCT-VC". Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  16. ^ Understanding MPEG-4, p.78
  17. ^ Cliff Wootton. A Practical Guide to Video and Audio Compression. p. 665. 
  18. ^ a b c d The MPEG Handbook, p.4
  19. ^ Salomon, David (2007). "Video Compression". Data compression: the complete reference (4 ed.). Springer. p. 676. ISBN 978-1-84628-602-5. 
  20. ^ a b The MPEG Handbook, pp.4-5
  21. ^ Understanding MPEG-4, p.83
  22. ^ "MPEG-J White Paper". 2005-07. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  23. ^ "MPEG-J GFX white paper". 2005-07. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  24. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 14496-21:2006 - Information technology -- Coding of audio-visual objects -- Part 21: MPEG-J Graphics Framework eXtensions (GFX)". ISO. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  25. ^ Official MPEG Web Site
  26. ^ a b MPEG. "About MPEG - Achievements". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  27. ^ a b c MPEG. "Terms of Reference". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  28. ^ a b MPEG. "MPEG standards - Full list of standards developed or under development". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  29. ^ MPEG. "MPEG technologies". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  30. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC TR 23000-1:2007 - Information technology -- Multimedia application format (MPEG-A) -- Part 1: Purpose for multimedia application formats". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  31. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23001-1:2006 - Information technology -- MPEG systems technologies -- Part 1: Binary MPEG format for XML". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  32. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23002-1:2006 - Information technology -- MPEG video technologies -- Part 1: Accuracy requirements for implementation of integer-output 8x8 inverse discrete cosine transform". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  33. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23003-1:2007 - Information technology -- MPEG audio technologies -- Part 1: MPEG Surround". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  34. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23004-1:2007 - Information technology -- Multimedia Middleware -- Part 1: Architecture". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  35. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 29116-1:2008 - Information technology -- Supplemental media technologies -- Part 1: Media streaming application format protocols". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  36. ^ ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 (2009-10-30). "MPEG-V (Media context and control)". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  37. ^ MPEG. "Working documents - MPEG-V (Information Exchange with Virtual Worlds)". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  38. ^ a b ISO. "ISO/IEC FDIS 23005-1 - Information technology -- Media context and control -- Part 1: Architecture". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  39. ^ Christian Timmerer, Jean Gelissen, Markus Waltl, and Hermann Hellwagner (PDF), Interfacing with Virtual Worlds,, retrieved 2009-12-29 
  40. ^ ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 (2009-10-30). "MPEG-M (MPEG extensible middleware (MXM))". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  41. ^ MPEG. "MPEG Extensible Middleware (MXM)". Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  42. ^ ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 (2008-10). "MPEG eXtensible Middleware Vision". ISO. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  43. ^ a b ISO. "ISO/IEC FCD 23006-1 - Information technology -- MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) -- Part 1: MXM architecture and technologies". Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  44. ^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23006-4 - Information technology -- MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) -- Part 4: MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  45. ^ a b ISO. "ISO/IEC 23007-1 - Information technology -- Rich media user interfaces -- Part 1: Widgets". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  46. ^ ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 (2009-10-30). "MPEG-U (Rich media user interfaces)". Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  47. ^ ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 (2009-11-05). "Programme of Work (Allocated to SC 29/WG 11)". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  48. ^ ISO. "JTC 1/SC 29 - Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  49. ^ ISO. "International harmonized stage codes". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  50. ^ a b ISO. "Stages of the development of International Standards". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  51. ^ "The ISO27k FAQ - ISO/IEC acronyms and committees". IsecT Ltd.. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  52. ^ ISO (2007). "ISO/IEC Directives Supplement — Procedures specific to ISO" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  53. ^ ISO (2007). "List of abbreviations used throughout ISO Online". Retrieved 2009-12-31. 

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