The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is an alliance of working groups of ISO and IEC that sets standards for media coding, including compression coding of audio, video, graphics and genomic data, and transmission and file formats for various applications. Together with the JPEG group, MPEG is organized under ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 – Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information (ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 29).
MPEG formats are used in various multimedia systems. The most well known older MPEG media formats typically use MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 AVC media coding and MPEG-2 systems transport streams and program streams. Newer systems typically use the MPEG base media file format and dynamic streaming (a.k.a. MPEG-DASH).
MPEG was established in 1988 by the initiative of Hiroshi Yasuda (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) and Leonardo Chiariglione, who was the group's chair from its inception until June 6, 2020. The first MPEG meeting was in May 1988 in Ottawa, Canada.
As of late 2005, MPEG had grown to include approximately 350 members per meeting from various industries, universities, and research institutions.[needs update]
On June 6, 2020, the MPEG part of Chiariglione's personal website was updated to inform readers that he had retired as Convenor, and he said that the MPEG group (then SC 29/WG 11) "was closed". Chiariglione, in his blog, explained his reasons for deciding to step down. His decision followed a restructuring process within SC 29, in which "some of the subgroups of WG 11 (MPEG) [became] distinct MPEG working groups (WGs) and advisory groups (AGs)" in July 2020. Prof. Jörn Ostermann was appointed as Acting Convenor of SC 29/WG 11 during the restructuring period and was then appointed Convenor of SC 29's Advisory Group 2, which coordinates MPEG overall technical activities.
The MPEG structure that replaced the former Working Group 11 includes three Advisory Groups (AGs) and seven Working Groups (WGs)
- SC 29/AG 2: MPEG Technical Coordination
- SC 29/AG 3: MPEG Liaison and Communication
- SC 29/AG 5: MPEG Visual Quality Assessment
- SC 29/WG 2: MPEG Technical requirements
- SC 29/WG 3: MPEG Systems
- SC 29/WG 4: MPEG Video Coding
- SC 29/WG 5: MPEG Joint Video Coding Team(s) with ITU-T SG 16
- SC 29/WG 6: MPEG Audio coding
- SC 29/WG 7: MPEG 3D Graphics coding
- SC 29/WG 8: MPEG Genomic coding
Cooperation with other groups
Joint Video Team
Joint Video Team (JVT) was joint project between ITU-T SG16/Q.6 (Study Group 16 / Question 6) – VCEG (Video Coding Experts Group) and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 – MPEG for the development of a video coding ITU-T Recommendation and ISO/IEC International Standard. It was formed in 2001 and its main result was H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10). The JVT was chaired by Gary Sullivan, with vice-chairs Thomas Wiegand and Ajay Luthra.
Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding
Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) was 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 then-current ITU-T H.264 / ISO/IEC 14496-10 standard. JCT-VC was co-chaired by Prof. Jens-Rainer Ohm and Gary Sullivan.
Joint Video Exploration Team
Joint Video Exploration Team (JVET) is a joint group of video coding experts from ITU-T Study Group 16 (VCEG) and ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 (MPEG) created in 2017 after an exploration phase in 2015. It developed the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard, completed in July 2020. Like JCT-VC, JVET is co-chaired by Jens-Rainer Ohm and Gary Sullivan. The JCT-VC was merged into JVET in July 2020.
The MPEG standards consist of different Parts. Each part covers a certain aspect of the whole specification. 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. Some of the approved MPEG standards were revised by later amendments and/or new editions.
- 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). This initial version is known as a lossy fileformat and is 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 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. 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. 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 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. MPEG-3 is not to be confused with MP3, which is MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III.
- MPEG-4 (1998): Coding of audio-visual objects. (ISO/IEC 14496) MPEG-4 provides a framework for more advanced compression algorithms potentially resulting in higher compression ratios compared to MPEG-2 at the cost of higher computational requirements. 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. 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. Several new higher-efficiency video standards (newer than MPEG-2 Video) are included, notably:
MPEG-4 has been chosen as the compression scheme for over-the-air in Brazil (ISDB-TB), based on original digital television from Japan (ISDB-T).
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. (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, 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, 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 and others)
- MPEG-D (2007): MPEG audio technologies. (ISO/IEC 23003) (e.g., MPEG Surround, 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, Multimedia application programming interface (API), Component model and others)
- MPEG-G (2019): Genomic Information Representation. (ISO/IEC 23092) Part 1 – Transport and Storage of Genomic Information; Part 2 – Coding of Genomic Information; Part 3 – APIs; Part 4 – Reference Software; Part 5 – Conformance; Part 6 – Genomic Annotations
- 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.
- MPEG-V (2011): Media context and control. (ISO/IEC 23005) (a.k.a. Information exchange with Virtual Worlds) (e.g., Avatar characteristics, Sensor information, Architecture and others)
- MPEG-M (2010): MPEG eXtensible Middleware (MXM). (ISO/IEC 23006) (e.g., MXM architecture and technologies, API, MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols)
- MPEG-U (2010): Rich media user interfaces. (ISO/IEC 23007) (e.g., Widgets)
- MPEG-H (2013): High Efficiency Coding and Media Delivery in Heterogeneous Environments. (ISO/IEC 23008) Part 1 – MPEG media transport; Part 2 – High Efficiency Video Coding; Part 3 – 3D Audio.
- MPEG-DASH (2012): Information technology – Dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP (DASH). (ISO/IEC 23009) Part 1 – Media presentation description and segment formats
- MPEG-I (2020): Coded Representation of Immersive Media. (ISO/IEC 23090) Part 3 – Versatile Video Coding, Part 2 OMAF (Omnidirectional Media Format).
|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|
|MPEG-G||Genomic Information Representation||ISO/IEC 23092||2019|
|(none)||Supplemental media technologies||ISO/IEC 29116||2008||Withdrawn and replaced by MPEG-M Part 4 – MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) protocols|
|MPEG-V||Media context and control||ISO/IEC 23005||2011|
|MPEG-M||MPEG extensible middleware (MXM)||ISO/IEC 23006||2010|
|MPEG-U||Rich media user interfaces||ISO/IEC 23007||2010|
|MPEG-H||High Efficiency Coding and Media Delivery in Heterogeneous Environments||ISO/IEC 23008||2013|
|MPEG-DASH||Information technology – DASH||ISO/IEC 23009||2012|
|MPEG-I||Coded Representation of Immersive Media||ISO/IEC 23090||2020|
A standard published by ISO/IEC is the last stage of an approval process that starts with the proposal of new work within a committee. Stages of the standard development process include:
- NP or NWIP – New Proposal / New Work Item Proposal
- AWI – Approved new Work Item
- WD – Working Draft
- CD – Committee Draft
- DIS – Draft International Standard
- FDIS – Final Draft International Standard
- IS – International Standard
- CDAM – Committee Draft Amendment
- DAM – Draft Amendment
- FDAM – Final Draft Amendment
- AMD – Amendment
- DTR – Draft Technical Report (for information)
- TR – Technical Report
- DCOR – Draft Technical Corrigendum (for corrections)
- COR – Technical Corrigendum
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 a Draft International Standard (DIS) if the number of positive votes is above the quorum. After a review and comments issued by NBs, the DIS is again submitted to NBs for the second ballot. If the DIS is approved, it becomes a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). ISO then holds a ballot with National Bodies, where no technical changes are allowed (a yes/no ballot). If approved, the document becomes an International Standard (IS).
- Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG)
- Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)
- Joint Bi-level Image Experts Group (JBIG)
- Multimedia and Hypermedia information coding Expert Group (MHEG)
- Audio codec
- Audio coding format
- Video codec
- Video coding format
- Video quality
- Video compression
- John Watkinson, The MPEG Handbook, p.1
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