Research, standards and thoughts for the digital world

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MPEG standards, MPEG software and Open Source Software

Introduction The MPEG trajectory is not the trajectory of an Information Technology (IT) group. Today software plays a key role in MPEG standard development. However, MPEG it is not an IT group. For MPEG, software is a tool to achieve the goal of producing excellent standards. But software remains a tool. Clearly, because MPEG assembles so many industries, with so many different agendas. There are MPEG members for which software is more than a tool. In this article I will…

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The MPEG Metamorphoses

Introduction In past publications, I have often talked about how many times MPEG has changed its skin during its 3-decade long life. In this article I would like to add substance to this claim by giving a rather complete, albeit succinct, account. You can find a more detailed story at Riding the Media Bits. The early years MPEG-1 MPEG started with the idea of creating a video coding standard for interactive video on compact disc (CD). The idea of opening…

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National interests, international standards and MPEG

Having spent a considerable amount of my time in standardisation, I have developed my own definition of standard: “the documented agreement reached by a group of individuals who recognise the advantage of all doing certain things in an agreed way”. Indeed, I believe that, if we exclude some areas such as safety, in matters of standards the authority principle should not hold. Forcing free people to do things against their interest, is an impossible endeavour. If doing certain things in…

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Media, linked media and applications

Introduction In a technology space moving at an accelerated pace like the one MPEG has the task to develop standards for, it is difficult to have a clear plan for the future (MPEG has a 5-year plan, though). Still, when MPEG was developing the Multimedia Linking Application Format (MLAF), it “discovered” that it had developed or was developing several standards – MPEG-7, Compact descriptors for visual search (CDVS), Compact descriptors for video analysis (CDVA) and Media Orchestration. The collection of these…

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Standards and quality

Introduction Quality pervades our life: we talk of quality of life and we choose things on the basis of declared or perceived quality. A standard is a product, and as such may also be judged, although not exclusively, in terms of its quality. MPEG standards are no exception and the quality of MPEG standards has been a feature has considered of paramount importance since its early days. Cosmesis is related to quality, but is a different beast. You can apply…

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How to make standards adopted by industry

Introduction There are many definitions of standard. In the Webster’s you find a definition of standard as “Something that is established by authority, custom or general consent as a model or example to be followed”, an oldish definition that thinks that people must be directed to their good. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica you find “(A technical specification) that permits large production runs of component parts that are readily fitted to other parts without adjustment”, a definition driven by the idea…

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