5.8 – MPEG communicates

Introduction

MPEG standards are great communication tools and MPEG itself is – or tries to be – a good communicator, using all available media.

MPEG web site

Almost everything that will be mentioned in this post can be found, not necessarily in an easy way, in the MPEG web page: press releases, MPEG column, video tutorials, white papers, inves­tigations and technical notes, ad hoc groups, events, social networks, liaisons and meetings. Of course, MPEG standards will not be found there. They can be purchased from the ISO web site or from an ISO National Body.

Press releases

Since its early days, MPEG took care of informing the world of its work. At the beginning this only was done on major occasions. Now MPEG publishes press releases systematically at every meeting. The news considered the most important gets the headlines and all other achievements get a mention. The rule is to mention in a press release all Calls for Evidence (CfE) and Call for Proposals (CfP), and the standards under development that reach the stage of Committee Draft (CD) or Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). News are prepared by the relevant group chairs, edited and distributed to the press by Prof. Christian Timmerer of University of Klagenfurt.

Let’s have as look at the press release from MPEG 126 (Geneva, CH) to have an example.

  1. The headline news is “Three Degrees of Freedom Plus (3DoF+) – Evaluation of responses to the Call for Proposal and start of a new project on Metadata for Immersive Video” because we believe this will be a very important standard.
  2. The second news is “Neural Network Compression for Multimedia Applications – Evaluation of responses to the Call for Proposal and kick-off of its technical work”.
  3. The result of a video compression-related CfP “Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding – Evaluation of responses to the Call for Proposal and selection of a Test Model for further development”
  4. News on “Multi-Image Application Format (MIAF) promoted to FDIS”
  5. Anticipation of a new CfP “3DoF+ Draft Call for Proposal goes Public”.

The press release page containing all press release since January 2006 is here.

If you want to be added to the distribution list, please send an email to Christian in Austria.

MPEG Column

With its “column” MPEG tries to facilitate understanding of its standards. At every meeting, brief notes are published to explain the purpose and, to some extent, the working of MPEG standards.

Want to know about High Dynamic Range (HDR)? the Common Media Application Format (CMAF)? The new standard to view omnidirectional video (OMAF)? By going here you will see all articles published in the column and will have the opportunity to get answers to many questions on these and other MPEG standards.

The MPEG column is managed by the professional journalist Philip Merrill in the USA who is able to understand MPEG standards and explain them to the public.

Do you think an article on a particular standard would be of interest? Please send email to the chairman of the Communication Group Prof. Kyuheon Kim of Kyunhee University in Korea. We will do our best to satisfy your request.

Video tutorials

How could MPEG miss the opportunity to have its own series of “MPEG standards tutorials”, of course using its audio and video compression standards? By going to Video tutorials on MPEG standards you will be able to understand what MPEG has done to make its standards “green”, what is the Multimedia Preservation Application Format that manages multimedia content over the ages, what is the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard, what is MPEG-H 3D Audio, what is MPEG Media Transport (MMT) used in ATSC 3.0, what is Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) for audio-visual streaming over the internet and much more.

The content is delivered by the best MPEG experts in the field. The videos that you see are the result of the shooting and post-processing performed by Alexis Tourapis in USA.

White papers, investigations and technical notes

MPEG makes its best efforts to provide the smoothest entry path to its standards and several types of publicly accessible papers are functional to this strategy. White papers are published with the goal to

  1. Communicate that MPEG is investigating some promising ideas as in Investigations about parts of standards
  2. Describe the purpose of an entire suite of standards, as in the case of White papers about standards or for a single part of a standard like in White papers about parts of standards
  3. Provide specific guidance about use of standards as in Technical notes about parts of standards.

As a rule, the purpose of white papers is not to describe the technology but about what the standard is for, the problems it solves and the benefits that MPEG expects users will get from using it.

Investigations, White papers and Technical notes can be found here.

Standards

ISO is a private association registered in Switzerland. Standards are developed pro bono by participants in the working groups, but the cost of the organisation is covered by the sale of standards and other sources. Therefore, you should not expect to find ISO standards on the public MPEG web page. If you need a standard, you should go to the ISO web site where you can easily buy online all the standards on sale. In some cases, MPEG requests ISO to make standard public because the standard is particularly relevant or because the standard is already publicly available (as is the case of all standards developed jointly with ITU-T).

MPEG posts all public documents at Standard documents from the last meeting, e.g. Use cases, Requirements, Calls for Evidence, Calls for Proposals, Working Drafts up to Committee Drafts, Verification Test results and more. MPEG does this because it wants to make sure that the industry is aware of, can comment on, and contribute to the development of standards.

Ad hoc groups

Since 1990 MPEG has created ad hoc groups (AhG). According to the rules “AhGs are established for the sole purpose of continuing work between consecutive MPEG meetings”, but they are a unique way to have work done outside MPEG meetings in a coordinated way. The scope of an AhG, however, is limited by the rule: “The task of an AHG may only cover preparation of recommendations to be submitted to MPEG”.

AhGs are not permanent organisations but established at the end of a meeting and last until the following meeting, To have a feeling of what AhGs are about you can see the AhGs established at 126th MPEG meeting.

AhGs are mentioned as part of MPEG communication because anybody can join the email reflector of an AhG and even attend AhG meetings.

MPEG events

In certain cases, MPEG organises events open to the public. Some events are held during and co-located with an MPEG meeting, but events outside MPEG meetings are also held. These are some of the goals an MPEG event can have:

  1. To present a particular standard under development or just released as in Workshop on MPEG-G (Shenzhen, CN, October 2018)
  2. To introduce the MPEG workplan such as MPEG Workshop on Immersive Services Roadmap (Gwangju, KR, January 2018)
  3. To demonstrate what the industry is doing with an MPEG standards such as OMAF Developers’ Day (Gwangju, KR. January 2018)
  4. To frame a particular segment of the MPEG activity in the general context of the industry such as Workshop on standard coding technologies for immersive visual experiences (Gothenburg, SE, July 2019) .
  5. To report on state of work and plan such as Workshop on standard coding technologies for immersive visual experiences.

Reference software and conformance

MPEG standards can be made public by a decision of the ISO Central Secretariat. MPEG requests ISO to make all reference software and conformance standards publicly available. The rationale of this request is that if developers look at the reference software, they need to buy the standard to make sure that theirs is a conforming implementation. To create a healthy ecosystem of interoperable products, services and applications – the conformance testing suites, too, must make freely available. This entices more users to buy the standard.

Social networks

MPEG has a Twitter account @MPEGgroup (https://twitter.com/mpeggroup). This is used by a group of MPEG social champions to spread information on the currently hottest MPEG topics: MPEG-I Requirements, Neural Network Compression, MPEG-G, OMAF, File format, Network Based Media Processing, MPEG-I Visual (3DoF+ and 6DoF), Audio, Point Cloud Compression, Internet of Media Things. Subscribe to receive brief notes on MPEG-related news and events.

Liaisons

MPEG develops standards technologies that are used by many industries all over the world. MPEG requests to liaise with many standards committees and industry fora for several purposes such as to get use cases and requirements, to jointly develop standards, to promote adoption of the standard once it has been dev­el­oped and to receive further requests for new functionalities.

Here are some of the organisations MPEG has liaisons with: the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc. (ATSC), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Audio Engin­eering Society (AES), European Broadcast Union (EBU), Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV), Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), World Wide Web Consor­tium (W3C) and many more.

Administrative documents

At every meeting MPEG publishes several documents – that I call “administrative” for lack of a better name – but are very important because they include organisational information. The fol­low­ing documents relate to MPEG 124 (Macau SAR, October 2018):

  1. List of ad hoc groups established at the meeting
  2. Call for patents related to standards under development
  3. List of MPEG standards produced since day 1, those being worked on and those planned
  4. Work plan with a summary description of all activities under way including explorations
  5. Timeline with planned dates of development of all standard
  6. Terms of reference
  7. Schemas
  8. URIs.
Table of contents 5.7 Standards and uncertainty 6 The MPEG success