Vendors Demo MPEG-4 Interoperability

In a precursory move to next week’s National Association of Broadcasters 2002 show, the MPEG-4
Industry Forum
(M4IF) Thursday said 29 MPEG-4 vendors have completed three rounds of interoperability tests for various
MPEG-4-based products.


While “tests” may not sound like such an exciting prospect, they really are, in this case. MPEG-4 — a schema of streaming for the
Web considered crucial for the delivery of quality video and audio over wireless devices — is currently undergoing tests by
disparate and competing companies intent on creating non-proprietary multimedia software.


The collective thinking of these firms, is that everyone will benefit from having a choice of whose playback applications they use,
as opposed to proprietary offerings from a Microsoft Corp. , or a RealNetworks Inc. .


The tests began in early 2001, and include raw video bitstreams, raw audio bitstreams, MP4 files with video and audio, and MPEG-4
Systems bitstreams. The profiles — a subset of the standard that provides interoperability between products from different
vendors — include Simple, Simple Scalable and Advanced Simple Visual Profiles, and High Quality Audio.


This means, said test leader Jae-Seob Shin, that vendors do not have to use the whole tool set on an appliance, such as a personal
digital assistant.


“Profiles allow MPEG-4 implementations to be exactly as complex as they need to be for a certain application,” said Shin, who works
for Samsung. “They are the key to an interoperable MPEG-4 ecosystem with products from many different vendors. MPEG-2 has shown the
concept to work well.”


Participants in the interoperability program include: Amphion, Apple Computer,
Avipix, Cirrus Logic, Comverse, Diamondback Vision, DivX Networks, Emblaze System, Ecole Nationale Superieure des
Telecommunications, Envivio, Fraunhofer IIS-A, Hantro, IBM, iVast, Luxxon, MTREC, NeoMagic, OnTimetek, Philips, PacketVideo,
Reakosys, Samsung, Serome Technology, Sorenson Media, Thomson Multimedia, VideoSpheres, WebCast Technologies.


MPEG applications demonstrating interoperability will be shown at NAB 2002 in
Las Vegas from April 6 to April 11. M4IF is also working on a self-certification program, which will allow companies to test the
compliance of their products.

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