Research, standards and thoughts for the digital world

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August 1992 – the gates open to global digital television

In this article, I continue the tradition of reporting on major MPEG events when one of them comes to an anniversary. This time the anniversary concerns the word “profile”. In July 1990, when the MPEG-1 standard was far from done (it would only be approved in November 1992), a diverse group of individuals attended the first MPEG-2 session, brainstorming on requirements for the "second phase of MPEG work" as MPEG-2 was warily called at that time. The engine took time…

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34 years ago, these days…

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…the first MPEG meeting was held in Ottawa, hosted by the Department of Commerce (Andy Kwon). It was the implementation of a plan that I had presented to Hiroshi Yasuda (NTT Laboratories), then the Convenor of ISO TC 97/SC 2/WG 8 at the WG 8 meeting 10 months before. It was the time when the proposal of the ESPRIT PICA project had been adopted as the starting point of what eventually became the JPEG standard. The development of requirements and…

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Do we want a Metaverse or the Metaverse?

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I draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the title uses a definite and an indefinite article. Yes, because there is a big difference between _a_ Metaverse and _the_ Metaverse. _A_ Metaverse implies that there are many instances of the thing, _the_ Metaverse means that there is one instance. If I take the definition of metaverse provided by the recode article "Why you should care about Facebook’s big push into the metaverse", metaverse is “a virtual world where people…

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Revisiting the “patents in standards” issue

Four years ago these days, I was writing a post on my blog titled A crisis, the causes and a solution. The subject was the issue of patents in MPEG standards. It was a time when I still had reasons to believe that something could be done about that issue. In this post I want to revisit the issue because that post and others following it are still among the most read posts on my blog. This means that people…

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Excerpts from an interview

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I have been interviewed by the Chinese webzine LiveVideoStack. The questions were smart and gave me the opportunity to make my views known. Here is an extract of the questions on MPEG and of my answers. The full interview is here. LiveVideoStack: Your new book Even the stars die: The history of MPEG and how it made digital media happen has been published this summer, congratulations! Could you tell us what inspired you to write it? Leonardo: There is no…

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Video compression patents – an obtuse story

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People who look back at the MPEG-2 times as the golden age of video compression licensing have a point. For 20 years the ownership of an MPEG-2 Video and Systems patent was a licence to print money – just ask people in the industry. What those people don’t consider, however, is that the MPEG-2 licensing was not the first case of the new video compression licensing but the last case of the old consumer electronics licensing – just look at…

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