1 – Introduction

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Media is a word typically used to indicate the means that enable communication, e.g. radio, television, storage media, internet. This book, however, calls those media delivery media and uses the word “media” or more precisely, “media content” to indicate the information con­veyed by the del­ivery media.

This is not an abstract distinction. It is the core of the MPEG revolution: shared standards for compressed digital media offered to individual industries as the means to uniquely represent the media content in digital form and the freedom to choose delivery media that best suit their needs.

Chapter 2  The discontinuity of digital technologies analyses four aspects of the media distribution business and their enabling tech­nologies:

  1. Analogue media distribution describes the vertical businesses of analogue media distribution;
  2. Digitised media describes the process of media digitisation and why it was largely irrelevant to distribution;
  3. Compressed digital media describes how industry initiated trials using compression for distribution;
  4. Digital technologies for media distribution describes the potential structural impact of compressed digital media for distribution.

Chapter 3 MPEG and digital media tackles the issue of standardisation of compressed digital media

  1. Standards describes the 3 international standards organisations;
  2. ISO and IEC standards describes the ISO structure and the ISO/IEC standardisation process;
  3. A home for MPEG describes how an independent home for MPEG compressed digital media standardisationwas found.

Chapter 4 The MPEG principles lays down the principle of the philosophy that MPEG has developed a  based on the notion of generic multi-industry stan­dards:

  1. Standards need a business model argues that MPEG standardisation is a (non-commercial) busi­ness and needs a business model to be successful and long-lasting;
  2. Common standards for all countries and industries argues that the transition from vertical busi­nesses requires a process change;
  3. Designing common standards for different users argues that industry-agnostic standard­isation needs new rules;
  4. Technology standards as toolkits highlights the problem that common standards cannot be more burdensome that industry-specific standards;
  5. Standards for the market, not the other way around argues that industry-agnostic standard­is­ation is incompatible with the imposition of market-crowned standards;
  6. Standards that anticipate the future argues that industry-agnostic standard­isation can only serve its purpose if it looks to standards that satisfy future needs;
  7. Compete and collaborate argues that industry-agnostic standard­is­ation requires competition to get the best technologies and collaboration to refine and improve them;
  8. Industry-friendly standards sets some basic rules to make sure that standards do not restrict but enhance the role of individual companies;
  9. Audio and video come together sets the obvious rule that audio and video compression should be part of the same standardisation effort;
  10. A glue to keep audio and video together argues that audio-visual systems are made of pieces that need glue to work properly together;
  11. Integrated standards as toolkits identifies the need for users to have integrated solutions but also to cherry pick individual components of an integrated solution;
  12. One step at a time sets the strategy to respond to challenges in small steps;
  13. Separate the wheat from the chaff identifies the need for industry components to test implem­entation for conformance to an industry-agnostic standard;
  14. Technology is always on the move identifies the need for a standardisation process where new technology may make some standards obsolete;
  15. Research for MPEG standards identifies the need for an organic relationship between research and MPEG standardisation;
  16. Standards as enablers, not disablers argues that industry members have the right to have their legitimate requests satified by industry-agnostic standard­isation;
  17. Never stop working together claims that to achieve standards developed collaboratively in a timely fashion, collaborative work should not be limited to official meetings;
  18. The nature and borders of compression claims that compression is the enabling technology but its nature and borders change with time.

Chapter 5 The MPEG operation studies how the principles of Chapter 4 have been put into an operational practice within the rules of the ISO/IEC Directives:

  1. The MPEG organisation describes MPEG’s internal organisation;
  2. Organisation of work describes how the expertise of MPEG participants is organised to develop standards;
  3. How MPEG develops standards describes the specific steps MPEG undertakes to develop standards’
  4. The ecosystem drives MPEG standards explains how MPEG is part of an ecosystem where all participants play a role;
  5. Standardisation and product making compares the task of developing a standard with the task of developing a product;
  6. Standards are living beings explains why publishing a standard is a new beginning, not the end of standardisation work;
  7. Standards and uncertainty concludes that is no recipe to design a guaranteed successful MPEG standard;
  8. MPEG communicates identifies communication as the most important bond keeping the ecosystem together.

Chapter 6 The MPEG success looks at three sides of success

  1. What has been done looks at those MPEG standards that have the largest impact in terms of use;
  2. The MPEG success in numbers (of dollars) looks at the numbers – of devices and dollars – triggered by MPEG standards
  3. MPEG is working for more success describes the current MPEG work plan.

Chapter 7 Planning for the future of MPEG analyses the current context in which MPEG operates and how it can morph to face new challenges while staying true to its tradition.

The remaining chapters are dedicated to the (even not too) technically-inclined MPEG fans who want to have views of the inside of MPEG standards.

Chapter 8 Video compression in MPEG analyses video compression standards from four viewpoints:

  1. Forty years of video compression is a thorough scan on 40 years of ITU and MPEG video compression standards;
  2. More video features looks at the process that added new functionalities at each MPEG standard;
  3. Immersive visual experiences looks at how ” immersive experience”  has been enhanced at each MPEG stndard;
  4. Video can be green describes how video compression can become more energy thrifty without sacrificing the user experience.

Chapter 9 Audio compression in MPEG is a thorough scan on 30 years of MPEG audio compression standards.

Chapter 10 Quality assessment describes the ever more important process of assessing quality after applying media compression.

Chapter 11 Systems standards keep the pieces together describes the role of the Systems components across most MPEG standards.

Chpater 12 Data compression takes the view of applying compression to a variety of data types:

  1. Meaningful data can be compressed analyses of data types that MPEG has handled in all its standards
  2. Moving intelligence around identifies “artificial neural networks” as a data type of growing importance and size that benefits from compression;
  3. MPEG standards for genomics describes how a variety of MPEG compression tools have been successfully applied to the compression of DNA reads from high-speed sequencing machines
  4. Compression of other data raises again the issue of “data compression” being a field of endeavour with its own characteristics.

Chaper 13 The MPEG standards gives an often concise overview of most of the ~200 standards developed by MPEG:

  1. MPEG-1
  2. MPEG-2
  3. MPEG-4
  4. MPEG-7
  5. MPEG-21
  6. MPEG-A
  7. MPEG-B
  8. MPEG-C
  9. MPEG-D
  10. MPEG-E
  11. MPEG-V
  12. MPEG-MAR
  13. MPEG-M
  14. MPEG-U
  15. MPEG-H
  17. MPEG-I
  19. MPEG-G
  20. MPEG-IoMT
  21. MPEG-5

Chapter 14 gives the MPEG work plan.

Chapter 15 gives the official 5-digit ISO numbers of the MPEG standard

Chapter 16 Conclusions draws short but meaningful conclusions on the MPEG story.

Download the pdf file of the book A vision made real – Past, present and future of MPEG.



Table of contents Table of contents 2. The discontinuity of digital technologies