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MPEG-4 Book, The by Touradj Ebrahimi, Fernando Pereira

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13.1. Profiling and Conformance: Goals and Principles

The goal of defining profiles and levels is twofold. The first goal is to ensure interoperability. Implementations of a profile at a certain level result in a decoder that behaves in a predictable way. Content encoded (e.g., by a real-time encoder) or authored (e.g., for streaming from a server) for such a combination will work on any decoder implementation that conforms to that combination. The second goal is to allow conformance testing to take place.

In theory, it would be possible to signal, at the beginning of a communication, the tools that a decoder has on board, so that the server or encoder could use only these tools—and profiles wouldn't be necessary. There are a number of reasons ...

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