The Moving Picture Experts Group

What are the main differences of MPEG-4 with respect to MPEG-1/2 in terms of requirements and functionalities?


The most important goal of both MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 was to make the storage and transmission of digital AV material more efficient, by compressing the data. Therefore, they deal with ‘frame-based video’ and audio. Interaction with the content is limited to the video frame level, with its associated audio.

The new MPEG-4 standard goes beyond these goals by specifying a description of digital AV scenes in the form of ‘AV objects’ that have certain relations in space and time.

Starting from this structure, MPEG-4 will:

  • offer a new kind of interactivity (with each AV object, and at the levels of coding, decoding, or objects composition),
  • integrate objects of different natures (e.g. natural video, graphics, text, ...).

Moreover, MPEG-4 will allow ‘universal access’ to multimedia information, by taking into account specificities of a wide variety of networks.