About MPEG Format
MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Groups, part of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), to set standards for audio and video compression and transmission. The term also refers to the family of digital video compression standards and file formats developed by the group. MPEG generally produces better-quality video than competing formats, such as Video for Windows, Indeo and QuickTime. MPEG files previously on PCs needed hardware decoders (codecs) for MPEG processing. Today, however, PCs can use software-only codecs including products from RealNetworks, QuickTime or Windows Media Player.
The MPEG format is the most popular means for streaming high quality video on the internet, mainly because it is a cross platform and non-commercial standard, and is supported by all popular web browsers. Another advantage of MPEG over other video formats is that since MPEG uses very sophisticated compression techniques, the quality of the video remains the same despite the files being much smaller.
MPEG algorithms compress data to form small bits that can be easily transmitted and then decompressed. MPEG achieves its high compression rate by storing only the changes from one frame to another, instead of each entire frame. The video information is then encoded using a technique called Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT). MPEG uses a type of lossy compression, since some data is removed. But the diminishment of data is generally imperceptible to the human eye.
MPEG-1 is a standard for lossy compression of video and audio. It is designed to compress VHS-quality raw digital video and CD audio down to 1.5 Mbit/s (26:1 and 6:1 compression ratios respectively) without excessive quality loss, making video CDs, digital cable/satellite TV and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) possible.
MPEG-2 is widely used as the format of digital television signals that are broadcast by terrestrial, cable, and direct broadcast satellite TV systems. It also specifies the format of movies and other programs that are distributed on DVD and similar discs. As such, TV stations, TV receivers, DVD players, and other equipment are often designed to this standard.
MPEG-3 is developed to make this standard compatible with high-definition TV (HDTV), but this became unnecessary when MPEG-2 extensions expanded that standard’s ability to encompass HDTV. At that time, MPEG-3 was abandoned.
MPEG-4 is borrowed from MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, the MPEG-4 standard extends functionality of audio/video compression by improving format flexibility. MPEG-4 supports 3-D rendered objects, as well as incorporating the copyright protection scheme known as Digital Rights Management (DRM). MPEG-4 can be used for broadcast television, online streaming media, applications such as videophone, and distribution on digital media.
MPEG-7 is formally called the Multimedia Content Description Interface, MPEG-7 provides a tool set for completely describing multimedia content. MPEG-7 is designed to be generic and not targeted to a specific application.
MPEG-21 includes a Rights Expression Language (REL) and a Rights Data Dictionary. Unlike other MPEG standards that describe compression coding methods, MPEG-21 describes a standard that defines the description of content and also processes for accessing, searching, storing and protecting the copyrights of content.
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