HEVC reaches the stage of Draft International Standard

Friday, July 20th, 2012

STOCKHOLM, SE − The 101st Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) meeting was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 16 July to 20 July 2012.

MMT achieves formal CD (Committee Draft) status

During it 101st meeting, MPEG has reached the first formal milestone of the development of MPEG Media Transport (MMT, ISO/IEC 23008-1), as a part of the MPEG-H project suite. To support emerging multimedia applications demanding efficient delivery of coded media content over packet oriented delivery networks using Transport Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) over Internet Protocol (IP), MMT has been designed to provide novel features such as

  1. Delivery of coded media using more than one delivery medium concurrently, as is the case of heterogeneous networks.
  2. Logical packaging structure and composition information to support multimedia mash-up applications enabling multiscreen presentation.
  3. Seamless and easy conversion between the format for storage and the format for delivery
  4. Cross layer interface to facilitate communication between the application layers and underlying delivery layers.
  5. Format of signalling messages to manage the presentation and optimized delivery of media.

MMT is expected to reach Final Draft International Status (FDIS), the final stage of ISO/IEC standard development, in July 2013.

MPEG hosts second MPEG-H 3D audio workshop in preparation for CfP

In anticipation of issuing a Call for Proposals for 3D Audio, MPEG has hosted its second MPEG-H 3D Audio Workshop on 18 July, 2012 during the 101st MPEG meeting in Stockholm. More than 40 attendees listened to an overview of MPEG-H 3D Audio given by Schuyler Quackenbush, MPEG Audio Subgroup Chair, which was followed by presentations by four panelists from the industry. The speakers brought a fresh perspective on future needs from the industry for 3D Audio technology solutions in the areas of audio production, broadcast and gaming.

The speakers included: Frank Melchior, BBC R&D, who spoke on “3D Audio? – Be inspired by the Audience!”; Kaoru Watanabe, NHK and ITU, who spoke on “Advanced multichannel audio activity and requirements”; Bert Van Daele, Auro Technologies, who spoke on “3D audio content production, post production and distribution and release” and Michael Kelly, DTS, who spoke on “3D audio, objects and interactivity in games.”

MPEG will issue the Call for Proposals on 3D Audio at the 102nd meeting, October 2012 and submissions will be due at the 104th meeting, April 2013. A summary report of the workshop will be publicly available by 31 August 2012.

HEVC nears completion at Draft International Status

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, ISO/IEC 23008-2) has reached the stage of Draft International Standard (DIS), the next formal stage towards its completion, during the 101st MPEG meeting. HEVC is being developed by the ITU-T/ISO/IEC Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC), a joint team of experts from MPEG and the ITU-T’s Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG). The new draft standard shows significantly better compression than the current AVC standard (Rec. ITU-T H.264 | ISO/IEC 14496-10), particularly for the case of high resolution video, where the bit rate savings can be as large as 50% or more for the same visual quality. HEVC, which will be finalized by January 2013 for approval of the first edition of the standard, marks the next generation in the history of video compression and its standardization. Beyond the next edition, substantial extensions are planned to address the demands of additional key applications including professional-use and scalable video coding.

MPEG and ITU-T create Joint Collaborative Team for 3D video coding

A new collaboration between MPEG and ITU-T VCEG has been started by installing the Joint Collaborative Team on 3D Video Coding Extension Development (JCT-3V), which held its first meeting under MPEG auspices in Stockholm. The JCT-3V is responsible for developing efficient solutions in the field of 3D video (e.g. enhanced multi-view capability using video-plus-depth formats), which have been assessed to be mature for market adoption after several years of exploratory work performed in MPEG, including a Call for Proposals in 2011 that drew 23 responses. As a first in a series of 3D video standards that will be developed by the JCT-3V, a multiview video-plus-depth extension of AVC is being developed. This video-plus-depth extension has reached the status of Draft Amendment at the current meeting, and will be completed in January 2013.

Call for Proposals issued for Multimedia Preservation Description Information

At its 101st meeting, MPEG has launched a project to facilitate the preservation of digital multimedia and has issued a Call for Proposals (CfP) on Multimedia Preservation Description Information (MPDI). Digital multimedia continues to play an increasingly vital role in the domains of cultural heritage, scientific research, engineering, education, training, entertainment, and the fine arts. As a result of its expanding role, multimedia content needs to be preserved for long periods of time and across system, organizational, administrative, and generational boundaries. The CfP seeks solutions and related technologies to address the preservation of digital items and their associated resources in terms of their provenance, context, reference, quality, integrity, authentication, fixity, and rights. Responses are due at the 102nd MPEG meeting in October 2012.

Call for Proposals issued for MPEG Frame Compatible

At the 101st meeting, MPEG has issued a Call for Proposals for technology that will enhance 3D video service for the delivery of full resolution 3D video. A number of satellite, terrestrial broadcasters, cable and IPTV service providers have started deploying stereoscopic 3D video services using AVC in a manner known as frame-compatible coding that packs half-resolution left and right views into a single full resolution image. In the longer term, it is clearly desirable for service providers to be able to provide higher resolution 3D video services than those currently provided by the frame-compatible approach alone whilst maintaining backward compatibility. Such a scheme for higher resolution 3D services is informally known as MPEG Frame Compatible (MFC) enhancement. Assuming that a broadcaster will increase the bit rate for the delivery of a 3D program by perhaps 25%, this new technology will enable the delivery of standard resolution of 3D content to existing receivers and high definition resolution 3D content to new receivers. Like the compatible introduction of black and white TV at the time of colour TV deployment, new receivers will enjoy the quality of full resolution HD 3DTV service while older receivers experience little or no degradation of quality according to the priorities of the service provider. Responses are due at the 102nd MPEG meeting in October 2012.

Call for Proposals issued for Scalable Video Coding for HEVC

In collaboration with ITU-T VCEG, MPEG has issued a Call for Proposals for a new Scalable Video Coding (SVC) technology that will be developed by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC). The new standard will become an amendment to the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard which targets support of HDTV and Ultra High Definition TV, and will soon be finalized. The SVC amendment to HEVC will enable the creation of a video bitstream that is structured in layers, including a base layer that is fully compatible with HEVC decoders, and enhancement layers for increased resolution. Such an architecture enables HEVC decoders to render either the full bitstream, or a subset of it by the removal of enhancement layers. Data remaining after the removal of enhancement layers will still be decodable with a decoded video quality that is commensurate with the amount of remaining data. Scalability modes enabled by the enhancement layer information include temporal (increase of frame rate), spatial (increase of picture resolution) and fidelity (increase of quantization accuracy) scalability. Applications such as instantaneous (post-encoding) bit rate adaptation under varying channel conditions, adaptation for various displays and terminal types, and compatible extension of existing services (e.g. support for both 1080-line and 2000-line HD formats from a single video stream) will be easily supported. Responses will be evaluated at the 102nd MPEG meeting in October 2012.

Future MPEG meetings are planned as follows:
No. 102: Shanghai, CN: October 15-19, 2012
No. 103: Geneva, CH: January 21-25, 2013
No. 104: Incheon, KR: April 22-26, 2013
No. 105: Vienna, AT: July 29-August 2, 2013