Research, standards and thoughts for the digital world

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MPEG: vision, execution, results and a conclusion

Introduction In 1987, a few months before MPEG was the established, ISO TC 97 Data Processing became the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1) on Information Technology. With this operation the data processing industry, renamed information technology industry on the occasion, was able to concentrate on a single Technical Committee (TC) all standardisation activities needed by that industry, including those “electrical”, until then the exclusive purview of IEC. Thirty-two years later, JTC 1 has become a very large TC,…

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Who “decides” in MPEG?

If MPEG were a typical company, the answer to this question would be simple. Persons in charge of different levels of the organisation “decide”. But MPEG is not a company and there is no chain of command where A tells B to do C or else. Decisions are made, but how? As an autocracy, an oligarchy or a democracy? To answer these questions, let’s first see how the work in MPEG is organised. The convenor chairs the 3 plenary sessions.…

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What is the difference between an image and a video frame?

The question looks innocent enough. A video is a sequence of images (called frames) captured and eventually displayed at a given frequency. However, by stopping at a specific frame of the sequence, a single video frame, i.e. an image, is obtained. If we talk of a sequence of video frames, that would always be true. It would also be true if an image compression algorithm (an “intra-frame” coding system) is applied to each individual frame. Such coding system may not…

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MPEG and JPEG are grown up

Introduction A group of MPEG and JPEG members have developed a proposal seek to leverage the impact MPEG and JPEG standards have had on thousands of companies and billions of people all over the world. A few numbers related to 2018 tell a long story. At the device level, the installed base of MPEG-enabled devices was worth 2.8 trillion USD and the value of devices in that year was in excess of 1 trillion USD. At the service level, the…

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Standards and collaboration

The hurdles of standardisation today Making standards is not like any other tasks. In most cases it is technical in nature because it is about agreeing on and documenting how certain things should be done to claim to be conforming to the standard. Standards can be developed unilaterally by someone powerful enough to tell other people how they should do things. More often, however, standards are developed collaboratively by people who share an interest in a standard, i.e. in enabling…

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The talents, MPEG and the master

Introduction In the parable of the Talents the Gospel tells the story of a master who entrusts 5 talents (a large amount of money at that time) to one servant and 2 talents to another before leaving for a long travel. The first servant works hard and doubles his talents, while the second plays safe and buries the talents. When the master returns, he awards the first servant and punishes the second. Thirty-one years ago, MPEG was given the field…

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