New MPEG-4 Video Profiles for Studio and Internet Streaming

Call for Requirements for Rights Language and Data Dictionary

Pisa, Italy, January 2001– At its 55th meeting from 15-19 January 2001 in Pisa, Italy, the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) issued a Call for Requirements for a Rights Description Language and a Rights Data Dictionary. When the Requirements are clearer, MPEG may issue a Call for Proposals and proceed with standardization. The objective is to specify an interoperable language that can describe the rights of all parties involved in exchanging and consuming multimedia content, from creators to consumers. Recognizing how sizable this task is, MPEG looks forward to collaboration with other forums that are undertaking similar harmonization efforts.

MPEG finished and approved its extension on MPEG-4 Video Coding using Fine Granular Scalability, and the Advanced Simple Profile, a profile optimized for Internet Streaming. The Advanced Simple Profile can be used in conjunction with the long awaited Fine Granular Scalability; together they form an excellent and high quality solution for standards-based Internet streaming under many different circumstances. At the other end of the bitrate spectrum, MPEG issued its final text for the Simple and Core Studio Profiles, with bitrates from 50 Mbit/s to 1.2 Gbit/s.

 On Saturday 10 March, an MPEG-7 Awareness Event will be organized in the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore. The event will bring tutorials on MPEG-7 and show many demonstrations of applications and systems that utilize the MPEG-7 Content Description Standard under development. The program is being finalized; announcements will be made on and MPEG’s website (see below).

 News on MPEG-21 – the Multimedia Framework

The first element of MPEG-21, the Digital Item Declaration, moved from the Requirements phase to the Specification phase. The Digital Item is the digital representation of “a work” in MPEG-21, and the Declaration is a uniform abstraction for declaring Digital Items. A declaration is usually multi-level, hierarchical description of the elements of the Digital Item, and it includes such information as in what form(s) the content is available (e.g., ‘mp3’, ‘aac’ for an Audio track), annotations and where the bits can be found. This first part of the MPEG-21 Standard will now enter the collaboration phase; it is scheduled to be frozen at the end of this year.

 The MPEG-21 Proposed Draft Technical Report was issued in its Version 1.2. MPEG has decided to submit the proposal to National Bodies for an extra round of comments before finalizing the Technical Report.

News on MPEG-7 – the Multimedia Content Description Standard

An MPEG-2 extension is underway, that specifies how MPEG-7 data and other types of metadata can be carried in MPEG-2 Transport Streams. This will allow the broadcasting of content descriptions synchronous with the content itself.

The goal of the new “Phonetic Description Scheme is to overcome the limitation of Text-To-Speech interfaces or Speech recognition systems, by validating the usefulness of describing MPEG-7 data by phonetic elements. For example, Human Machine Interfaces based on a single language cannot handle words pronounced in a different language. Text-To-Speech interfaces have many difficulties to handle names, title in non-native languages, abbreviations, etc.

MPEG-4 – the Object-based Multimedia Coding Standard

At the previous meeting, MPEG started work on a more interoperable specification for “Intellectual Property Management and Protection”. The first step entails a method for mutual authentication of tools for e.g. decryption and watermarking. Also, a way is being defined for a terminal to obtain missing protection tools - to be authenticated by the player after they have been obtained. This work will help preventing fragmentation in the market caused by multiple, non-interoperable ways of protecting content.

 Following the ‘Call for Evidence’ of end 2000, a ‘Call for Proposals’ (CfP) was issued at this meeting asking for submission of new video compression tools, which will be formally tested against MPEG-4 video. The call can be found on MPEG web page, see below. Subjective testing will be conducted in July 2001. The objective is to make sure MPEG keeps following technological advances in compression technology. Depending on the test results, MPEG may decide either to not take further action, to enhance the MPEG-4 visual standard, or to develop a new video coding standard.

 In a similar work, MPEG reviewed the response to the “Call for Evidence Justifying the Testing of Audio Coding Technology.” Based on the evidence, MPEG issued “Call For Proposals for New Tools for Audio Coding” focusing on 1) technology that improves compression efficiency of audio or speech by extending the bandwidth in a fashion compatible with existing MPEG-4 technology and 2) technology that improves compression efficiency of high-quality audio signals by means of parametric coding, preferably building upon the existing MPEG-4 tools. A formal testing procedure will determine if proposals warrant extension of the MPEG-4 Standard. The response to this Call for Proposals will be reviewed at the July MPEG meeting.

A new edition (ISO/IEC 14496-3:2001) of the MPEG-4 Audio will incorporate all amendments, know corrections and clarifications to date. This should be available in March.

The text of MPEG-4 Audio conformance is now complete, and 75% of the involved bitstreams are available. The Audio Conformance tests are designed to fully exercise each of the MPEG-4 Audio Profiles and rigorously test implementations of these Profiles.

 A new project on MPEG-4 Multi-users technology was started after receiving answers to the Multi- User World Call for Proposals. The result will be an extension to MPEG-4 part 1 (Systems).

 MPEG reached a consensus on how to transport MPEG-4 content on IP Networks; a new part of the MPEG-4 standard (part 8) will normatively describe this method.

 MPEG sent out a Preliminary Call for the Expression of Interest in Submitting Hardware Reference Code for another new MPEG-4 Part, 9: Reference Hardware Description. MPEG will focus on reference hardware descriptions that address computational and memory bottlenecks. MPEG further seeks submissions of reference VHLD (Very High Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language) code at a low functional level, to facilitate the deployment of MPEG-4 on mixed software hardware platforms.

Further information

Future MPEG meetings will be held as follows: 5-9 March 2001 (Singapore), 23-27 July 2001 (place to be determined), 15-19 October 2001 (Washingon DC, USA)

For further information about MPEG, please contact:

Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione, (Convenor of MPEG, Italy)

Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274
10148 Torino, ITALY
Tel.: +39 11 228 6120; Fax: +39 11 228 6299


Rob Koenen (Chairman MPEG Requirements Group, The Netherlands)
Tel +31 10 485 82 15

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

For the Outstanding Call for Proposals, see the Hot News section,

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.