MPEG Issues Call for Proposals on Intellectual Property Management and Protection Solutions for MPEG-4 Digital Multimedia

MPEG-21 Report Describes Elements for Interoperable Multimedia Framework

Beijing, China, July 21, 2000 – At the 53rd meeting of the Moving Picture Experts Group, MPEG issued a Call for Proposals for intellectual property management and protection solutions for MPEG-4 multimedia applications. At its next meeting in October 2000, MPEG will evaluate these proposals for secure delivery and consumption of MPEG-4 Content.

The approval of the first version of the MPEG-21 Multimedia Framework marks another milestone for MPEG. This so-called ‘Proposed Draft Technical Report’ specifies seven areas in which further standardization is believed required for enabling an open infrastructure for multimedia content. MPEG will start the necessary specification activity with issuing Calls for Proposals for these areas at its upcoming meetings.

The MPEG-21 Technical Report lists the technological elements that will enable ‘the delivery and use of all content types by different categories of users in multiple application domains’. It covers such topics as content representation and coding, content identification and description, content management and use, delivery, content-related intellectual property, and reporting of content-related events. Based on the technical report, MPEG will identify elements that need further standardization to build an interoperable multimedia framework. MPEG is pursuing this goal in cooperation with other standardization efforts.

Calls for Evidence on New Coding Technology

In response to the MPEG-4 Video ‘Call for Evidence’ issued in the March 2000 meeting, several contributions on new tools for improved video coding efficiency were presented. Results indicate that there may be technology that can improve coding efficiency. MPEG has decided to proceed with a study to see whether indeed new technology exists that warrants standardization. For this purpose, a preliminary Call for Proposals (CfP) was issued at this meeting asking for submission of new video compression tools, which will be formally tested against optimized MPEG-4 video. A final CfP will be issued in October 2000 and subjective testing will be conducted in February 2001. The results will be discussed at the March 2001 MPEG meeting. Depending of the outcome MPEG may decide either to not take further action, to enhance the MPEG-4 visual standard, or to develop a new video coding standard.

The same Call for evidence that was issued for Video technology at the last meeting, was now also made for Audio technology. MPEG wants to learn whether formal testing of audio coding schemes is justified, and asks interested parties to provide, before the January meeting, clear evidence that their technology outperforms MPEG-4 technology.  MPEG will determine if any of proposed technologies represents an improvement significant enough to warrant further quality assessment via a formal subjective test.

MPEG-4: Multi-User Worlds and Video coding for the Studio

New MPEG-4 video coding technology, to become International standard early 2001, addresses very high bit rate and quality studio requirements. It allows composition of multiple video objects and graphic backgrounds to create an output video. At the same time, fine granularity (small step) scalability technology will be added to MPEG-4 Video. This ‘FGS’ technology was originally developed to ease delivery of Internet video, but it will also enable statistical multiplexing of pre-encoded content in ‘statistical multiplexers’ for satellite broadcast. Therefore, this type of scalability supports low to high (broadband) bit rates.

A Call for Proposals asks for technology for ‘Multi-User Worlds’: three-dimensional, virtual environments in which a group of people can meet and interact with one another. MPEG-4 already includes the technology needed to represent the ‘virtual people’ (through face and body animation) and the environment itself, but still lacks some of the tools to allow multi-user interaction, such as sharing protocols for multimedia objects and multi-user event management.

MPEG-7 (The content description standard)

New work on the carriage of MPEG-7 metadata and descriptions in MPEG-2 Transport Streams (e.g., digital broadcasts) and Program Streams (DVD) will enable the association of metadata with audiovisual programming. The specification will allow a tight link between the audiovisual data and the metadata. For example metadata can be associated to items in a news program, describing these items, or to a sports match, indicating important events. The association can be very precise: metadata can be associated with an entire program, but also with a three seconds shot or even a single video frame.

MPEG-7 will support a new type of query – the ‘semantic query’. It was already possible to do searches for keywords or to perform a ‘query by sketch’, but now users can also search with queries like ‘give me the scenes in which a police car passes in front of a garage with its siren blaring’.

Further information

Future MPEG meetings will be held in La Baule, France (23-27 October 1999), Israel (15-19 January 2001), Singapore (5-9 March 2001).

For further information about MPEG, please contact:

Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione, (Convenor of MPEG)
Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274
10148 Torino, ITALY
Tel.: +39 11 228 6120; Fax: +39 11 228 6299


Rob Koenen (Chairman MPEG Requirements Group)
KPN Research, Netherlands
tel. +31 70 332 5310, fax +31 70 332 8000

This press release and much other MPEG-related information can be found on the MPEG homepage:

The MPEG homepage has links to other MPEG pages, which are maintained by some of the subgroups. It also contains links to public documents that are freely available for download to non-MPEG members.

Journalists that wish to receive MPEG Press Releases automatically can contact Rob Koenen.