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MPEG Knowledge: What is MPEG and MPEG Standards?

1. What is MPEG?

MPEG (pronounced M-peg) stands for Moving Picture Experts Group, which is a working group of ISO/IEC. It is not an acronym for any standard as is generally believed, but an acronym for the group that develops these standards. MPEG develops international standards for video and audio encoding, compression and decompression, processing, or their combination.MPEG also refers to the family of standards developed by the group.



2. What is MPEG Standards?

The MPEG standards are an evolving set of standards for video and audio compression and for multimedia delivery developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).


The major MPEG standards include the following:

  • MPEG-1: The most common implementations of the MPEG-1 standard provide a video resolution of 352-by-240 at 30 frames per second (fps). This produces video quality slightly below the quality of conventional VCR videos.
  • MPEG-2: Offers resolutions of 720x480 and 1280x720 at 60 fps, with full CD-quality audio. This is sufficient for all the major TV standards, including NTSC, and even HDTV. MPEG-2 is used by DVD-ROMs. MPEG-2 can compress a 2 hour video into a few gigabytes. While decompressing an MPEG-2 data stream requires only modest computing power, encoding video in MPEG-2 format requires significantly more processing power. To convert video to DVD, DVD burning software will encode video files to MPEG2 format.
  • MPEG-3: Was designed for HDTV but was abandoned in place of using MPEG-2 for HDTV.
  • MPEG-4: A graphics and video compression algorithm standard that is based on MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and Apple QuickTime technology. Wavelet-based MPEG-4 files are smaller than JPEG or QuickTime files, so they are designed to transmit video and images over a narrower bandwidth and can mix video with text, graphics and 2-D and 3-D animation layers. MPEG-4 was standardized in October 1998 in the ISO/IEC document 14496. See MPEG-4. (Check out How to burn MP4 to DVD to play on TV?)
  • MPEG-7: Formally called the Multimedia Content Description Interface, MPEG-7 provides a tool set for completely describing multimedia content. MPEG-7 is designed to be generic and not targeted to a specific application.
  • MPEG-21: Includes a Rights Expression Language (REL) and a Rights Data Dictionary. Unlike other MPEG standards that describe compression coding methods, MPEG-21 describes a standard that defines the description of content and also processes for accessing, searching, storing and protecting the copyrights of content.


3. Tips on Using MPEG Files

1. To play MPEG files on computer, you may use VLC Player and QuickTime Player on both Windows and Mac OS.

2. To convert MPEG to DVD for DVD player playback, you may use a DVD burning software.

3. To convert MPEG to MP4/AVI/MOV/FLV on Windows and Mac, you may use a Video Converter software.

4. To rip DVD to MPEG, you may use a DVD Ripper software.