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The MPEG special forces: subgroups

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MPEG started as a group tasked to develop a standard for interactive video on compact disc (CD). That was the great idea to make a standard that made sense. Telcos were not providing meaningful access to broadband. At most, you could get 64 kbit/s. Even today, after 30+ years of impetuous progress in compression, you don’t get much from a 64 kbit/s video. Therefore, for years and years, the videotelephone and videoconference business stagnated. Developing a standard for a consumer-application…

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The very first steps of MPEG

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We could define MPEG, when it moved its first steps, as an enfant prodige. Born on the 29th of January 1988, it was christened on the 10th of May 1988 when it held the first meeting in Ottawa, ON. The second and third meeting were held in September, the second in Turin, the cradle of the MPEG idea and the third in London. Why prodige? Because MPEG addressed some of the issues that the ITU-T (then CCITT) had been unable or…

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The birth of the MPEG star

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A star comes to light when the nuclei of the light elements atoms undergo fusion because of the enormous gravity force to which they are subjected. This process is also a fair description of how MPEG came to light as we will see in a moment from a summary of chapter 12 Think local, act global of the book Even the stars die. The history of communication standards is littered with competing technologies that became the rallying points of competing…

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Even the stars die – A guided tour

The Even the stars die is a book available on Amazon in electronic and paper form. It has several goals: To connect MPEG’s digital media standardisation with the traditional media standardisation To disclose why and how MPEG was conceived and the inside story of the first three “heroic” standards – MPEG-1, -2 and -4 To study the work done in some of the most important areas: video, audio, systems etc. To describe some of the unique MPEG characteristics To analyse the…

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Even the stars die – Preface

The book “Even the stars die - The history of MPEG and how it made digital media happen has been published on Amazon ( In summary, the book tells the story of how MPEG engineered the transformation of analogue media, how it fostered the development of digital media, how it was terminated and how its spirit continues in the field of data coding by Artificial Intelligence through MPAI. In this post I will publish the preface of the book. Full…

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Toward the first anniversary of the MPEG death

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1 Introduction For 32 years, MPEG was a unique player in the standardisation space. Contrary to what had been the rule in previous decades, instead of being variously subdivided and controlled by governments, countries, industries and companies, media standards were autonomously developed with high quality and in a timely fashion by a group – MPEG – that was impervious to external influences and did not practically report to anybody. That was true for, say, the first quarter of century of…

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