The Moving Picture Experts Group

MPEG Roadmap (January 2018)

In this document, MPEG lays out its medium-term Strategic Standardisation Roadmap, aimed at collecting feedback from the broadcasting, content and service provision, media equipment manufacturing and telecommunication industry, and anyone in professional and B2B industries dealing with media. Please download the word file and the powerpoint presentation from

MPEG Standards Enable Markets to Flourish

MPEG is an ISO/IEC standardisation group that has enabled huge markets to flourish through its standards. MP3 revolutionised the way music is distributed and enjoyed. MPEG-2 enabled the digital television industry to replace analogue TV, and has facilitated the expansion of satellite and Cable TV. MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) have also enabled large scale interactive media distribution. The ISO file format family (“mp4”) has enabled interoperable exchange of media files, while MPEG DASH powers the adaptive and optimised distribution of interactive media.

MPEG serves not only B2C markets but also B2B content exchange (e.g. between TV studios and surveillance) and consumer-to-consumer communication in all modern smartphones. MPEG standards have enabled and continue to enable the creation and development of markets by providing interoperability while giving technology buyers options to choose from.

In its almost 30 years of existence, MPEG has gathered an increasing number of the world’s best experts in media technologies and accessed the best and most recent R&D results, Through an extremely thorough and competitive process, MPEG has created widely deployed, cross-industry standards that have enabled industries to converge. 

MPEG works by proactively anticipating industry needs for standards. It can do so because it is firmly rooted in industry, with hundreds of industry representatives participating in its standard­isation efforts. Once the need for a standard is identified, MPEG defines its requirements by interacting with its constituent industries, related standards committees, and industry fora. MPEG typically issues "Calls for Proposals" to obtain the best technologies which are integrated in its standards through a highly competitive process. This enables MPEG to produce timely standards that not just follow, but foment and lead technology developments. MPEG prides itself to adhere to its strict schedules, but is also able to quickly respond to emerging industry needs, as it did with MPEG DASH.

Demands from increasingly sophisticated technologies have prompted MPEG to extend the coverage of its standards from audio and video "compression" with support for "transport" (network and storage), to a range of media-related technologies.

MPEG has executed several standardisation projects represented by numbers (e.g. MPEG-4) and letters (e.g. MPEG-H). In some cases these represent bundles of technologies (e.g. MPEG-2 and MPEG-H) for well-defined services. In general, however, its standards can be independently combined to create specific media experiences.

MPEG Operates in a Dynamic Environment

The demand for all types of media content continues to grow and media data is expected to dominate communication traffic not just at peak demand times, but at every time of the day in the next few years. IP video will represent 80% of all global traffic in the next three years and three-fourths of all world-wide mobile traffic will be video by the year 2020 [1].

Growing trends in higher space-time resolution, higher dynamic range, wider colour gamut video, and immersive media (VR, AR, 360 panoramic, etc.) require increased bandwidth, low latency and improved services. As media communication industries move towards providing more personalized media experiences, devices must become more personal and must provide more immersive services. Augmented and virtual reality will give us more immersive experiences in film, television, voice and data markets, and these markets are forecast to grow many-fold in the next five years [2].

All types of devices and sensors will be part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and will be able to communicate not just plain data, but also audio-visual information. Of the 20 billion connected ‘things’ predicted in five years, 65% will be consumer-oriented [3]. This widespread adoption of the IoT will require new machine-to-machine media communication to provide enhanced capabilities that will augment sectors such as transportation systems (e.g., autonomous vehicles). Cloud computing and Big Data technologies evolve from basic data to rich audiovisual media, and enabling efficient search and discovery with everything connected will be key. This requires high levels of interoperability and efficiencies of communication to fuel market adoption and growth.

MPEG’s Five-Year Roadmap

MPEG will keep working on interoperable exchange formats for media for a variety of adaptive streaming, broadcast, download, and storage delivery methods, such as the Common Media Application Format (CMAF).

MPEG is further working on supporting better pixels (more and brighter colours and more contrast, also known as wide colour gamut and high dynamic range) in its existing HEVC standard. MPEG is now researching the next generation codec, suitable for ever higher resolutions, for larger (huge!) screens and for new distribution models including OTT and for next-generation networks, inc­luding 5G.

A major focal point for MPEG is to enable personal, immersive experiences. This includes augmented and virtual reality entertainment with immersive video and audio, as well as immersive media communication in real and virtual environments. With this work, MPEG caters to the needs of social media moving from text, via multimedia, to fully immersive experiences. Industry has told MPEG loud and clear that it urgently needs standards for efficient representation, communication and distribution of immersive content and services.

MPEG’s upcoming standards will empower new types of devices, like head-mounted displays and sensors, to be interoperable with services, and affordable to consumers. They will also enrich the capture of new types of media, including more immersive media, including 360 degree recording of audio and video producing MPEG-encoded surround sound, object based audio and video formats. MPEG has researched various forms of immersive TV, e.g. enabling users to freely select their viewpoint in their interaction with media content, and expects to publish a standard. Further, new MPEG standards will allow streaming non-AV environmental dimensions, like GPS coordinates. In doing so, it will become possible to integrate media from many different and heterogeneous sources into a single, coherent media experience.

MPEG doesn’t just optimise its coding standards to new delivery networks (e.g., 5G) and environments (e.g., automotive), it also provides the delivery methods attuned to the opportunities and constraints of these environments. It has recently become clear that the interaction between coding and networking requires attention. As both become more intelligent and adaptive to the environment, the need arises for network-aware content representation, or representation-aware networking. Absent such solutions, both the network and the delivery layers will respond dynamically and independently to the same changing conditions, which will result in unpredictable and undesirable behaviour. A recent effort in this field is the MPEG DASH “SAND” specification, which allows for network-aware DASH delivery.

With its work on compact descriptors for search (CDVS) and on video analysis (CDVA), MPEG enables content identification and search in vast media databases (“Big Media”). These standardised descriptors allow simple querying across diverse and heterogeneous databases empowering the automatic understanding of what is actually contained in the media itself.

Last but not least, upcoming MPEG standards will support an Internet of Media Things and Wearables, where MPEG standards facilitate the interoperable and efficient exchange of media data between these “Things”. This work will also allow automating the extraction of information from media data that machines and humans can understand, and act upon.

Share your Thoughts and Requirements

MPEG is building its future standardisation roadmap now, and we are advertising our plans so that industry can influence the direction of international digital media standardisation. If you represent an industry that relies on standards-based interoperability in audiovisual products, services and applications, MPEG would be very interested to hear about your needs and vision, for example by answering the following questions:

  • Which needs do you see for media standardisation, between now and 5 years out?
  • What MPEG standardisation roadmap would best meet your needs?
  • To accommodate your use cases, what should MPEG's priorities be for the delivery of specific standards?
    • For example, do you urgently need something that may enable basic functionality now, or can you wait for a more optimal solution to be released later?

When providing your feedback, please note that MPEG is flexible in providing not only the desired technology, but also the level of integration across multiple technologies to meet an industry vertical’s specific needs. Note that MPEG plays no role in when and how standards become available on the market in the form of products and services (these are specific industries' and companies' decisions), but that we do have liaisons with relevant trade organisations. MPEG also plays no role in when and how relevant patents are licensed, as ISO rules prevent MPEG from handling licensing matters.

MPEG is organising a series of short, high level "Industry meets MPEG" workshops around the world, to collect market feedback. The first two of these were held in Chengdu, China on 19 October 2016 and in Geneva on 18 January 2017. Another workshop is planned for the week of NAB in Las Vegas, US. If you are interested in participating in such a workshop please contact Rob Koenen at


[1]  Cisco Visual Networking Index Report February 2016

[2]  Digi-Capital Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2015

[3]  Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, Barcelona, Spain November 2015