Wind in the sails of MPEG

Motion Spell, the company behind GPAC Licensing, has been quite involved in projects that required to follow the standardization activity. The environment has started to change these last years.

Deep changes at MPEG

The wind of change blows on MPEG. Despite fierce competition MPEG has stood up and even extended its scope and dominance.

The main change is driven by MPEG creator and convenor, Leonardo Chariglione. Leonardo’s views are well explained in his blog and website of MPEG. The acceleration of the publication led him to present it as a book. The acceleration of this has several causes and consequences.

First Leonardo has been the first and only ISO convenor in the MPEG group. It is probably important for him to put some legacy in a written way. The recent MPEG participants might not have the historical understanding necessary to go forward efficiently. Making standards is not easy.

Secondly there is an acceleration in MPEG’s activity. Meetings are very busy with tight schedules. Companies need more standards, faster. Some companies try to get some leverage by extracting some of their activities out of MPEG, sometimes to escape from the ISO formalism that requires time.

Thirdly MPEG has started to go beyond multimedia quite some time ago. For example MPEG works on standards for compression of neural networks for multimedia content description and analysis (ISO/IEC 15938-17).

The environment is also different. The AV1 video codec launched. Despite MPEG’s incredible success some people think MPEG can be disrupted.

There is no magic at MPEG

For those interested to know about what a MPEG meeting looks like:

MPEG stands out in front of the competition by its organization. Nothing of what happens at MPEG could not happen elsewhere. And MPEG work can also be improved including by bringing more competition!

Some companies have started their own initiatives (V-Nova or Divideon on the video compression field) but finally joined the standardization process (see MPEG-5 Part 2 below). MPEG is still considered the best way for companies to get labels. These labels allow to be part of technology pools designed by industry consortia (e.g. HbbTV, ATSC, …).

MPEG is driven by companies willing to push their technologies. The consequence is that technology is pushed with a huge amount of marketing and doesn’t fit with the technology enthusiasts recommendations (nor any consumer need although the consumer is sometimes forced to pay).

While MPEG is driven by requirements, many companies and technologists think a de-facto standard that is opened afterward is a better option. At the same time much marketing is being debunked by the MPEG process that challenges the technology as much as it can.

Important items from last MPEG Meeting

MPEG-I: VR activities leading to a full 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) are progressing rapidly. It now appears that the market adoption will take longer than expected, but things will be in order for the companies and users who wish to use it.

Video: MPEG-I and MPEG-5 are still battling. While MPEG-I part 3 (VVC) will be the successor of HEVC, MPEG-5 proposes two approaches to workaround the HEVC licensing fiasco: MPEG-5 Part 1 (EVC) is a solo HEVC replacement from Samsung, while MPEG-5 Part 2 (LC-EVC with LC standing for Low Complexity) is pushed by companies like V-Nova or Divideon. MPEG-5 figures haven’t given any evidence of increased quality up to date, let’s see in a future meeting what they can bring. More here.

The official report of the last MPEG meeting.

Previous blog articles on standardization

What’s next

Here is the list of the next meetings and locations:

  • MPEG 127 – Gothenburg Mon, 2019-7-08 to Fri, 2019-07-12
  • MPEG 128 – Geneva Mon, 2019-10-07 to Fri, 2019-10-11
  • MPEG 129 – Brussels Mon, 2020-01-13 to Fri, 2020-01-17
  • MPEG 130 – Alpbach Mon, 2020-04-20 to Fri, 2020-04-24
  • MPEG 131 – Geneva Mon, 2020-06-29 to Fri, 2020-07-03
  • MPEG 132 – Rennes Mon, 2020-10-12 to Fri, 2020-10-16
  • MPEG 133 – Capetown Mon, 2021-01-11 to Fri, 2021-01-15
  • MPEG 134 – Geneva, March 2021
  • MPEG 135 – Prague week of the 2020-07-12 to Fri, 2020-07-16

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