Chapter 10. MPEG Audio

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) committee was established in 1988, and it works under the direction of the International Standards Organization (ISO). MPEG develops and approves standards for encoding audio, video, and interactive graphics in digital formats. Thanks to MPEG, we now have technologies such as DVD-Video, DirecTV, and MP3.

MPEG began with a focus on video, but since most video has an audio component, standards for audio compression were developed as well as those for video compression. This chapter focuses on MPEG Audio.


Before MPEG, there was JPEG, which stands for the Joint Photographic Experts Group. The JPEG committee developed the popular JPEG standard for compressing digital images. The JPEG format is used in many digital cameras and is supported by most graphics programs.

The MPEG Committee

The MPEG committee works in phases, which are referred to as MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and so on. During each phase, the committee solicits and reviews proposals for standards. Published standards are the last stage of the process, which may take several years.

Organizations and individual experts from all over the world are involved in developing MPEG standards. Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft of Germany and Thomson Multimedia of the United States provided key technology for MPEG Audio Layer-III (MP3). Dolby Labs was heavily involved in the development of MPEG AAC.

After the MPEG committee releases a standard, it typically takes several years for manufacturers ...

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