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MPEG-FAQ: multimedia compression [4/9]

This is the summary about the ISO video and audioformats MPEG 1, 2 and 4
Archive-name: mpeg-faq/part4
Last-modified: 1996/06/02
Version: v 4.1 96/06/02
Posting-Frequency: bimonthly

3. The pre-digital source was severely oversampled (compare 352 x 240
SIF to 35 millimeter film at, say, 3000 x 2000 samples).  This can
result in a very high quality signal, whereas most video cameras do not
oversample, especially in the vertical direction.

4. Finally, the spatial and temporal modulation transfer function (MTF)
characteristics (motion blur, etc) of film are more amenable to the
transform and quantization methods of MPEG.

What is the best compression ratio for MPEG ?

The MPEG sweet spot is about 1.2 bits/pel Intra and 0.35 bits/pixel
inter. Experimentation has shown that intra frame coding with the
familiar DCT-Quantization-Huffman hybrid algorithm achieves optimal
performance at about an average of 1.2 bits/sample or about 6:1
compression ratio. Below this point, artifacts become non-transparent.

Is there an MPEG file format?

The traditional descriptors that file formats provide in headers, such
image height, width, color space, etc., are already embedded within the
MPEG bitstream in the sequence header.  Directory file formats are
described in the White Book and DVD specifications.

What is the Digital Video Disc (DVD) ?

In 1994, Toshiba united with Thomson Consumer Electronics, Pioneer, and
a handful of Hollywood studios to define a new 12 cm diameter compact
disc format for broadcast rate digital video. The new format basically
increases the effective areal storage density over the 1982 Red Book
format by some 6:1 (800 Mbytes vs 5 GBytes).  This is achieved through
a combination of shorter laser wavelength, finer track pitch, inter-pit
pitch, and better optics. The thickness of the disc is reduced from the
Red Book's 1.2 millimeters to 0.6 millimeters. However, the new format
can be glue two 0.6 mm thick discs back-to-back, forming a double- size
disc 1.2 mm thick with a total capacity of 10 Gbytes. A two hour movie,
encoded onto only one side, would contain a video bistream average at 5
Mbit/sec. Or 10 Mbit/sec if distributed on both sides of a disc.  Most
of the 6:1 gain is achieved though more efficient encoding of bits onto
the disc.  Only a 2:1 factor comes purely from the reduction in

By comparison, today's double-sided analog video laserdiscs have a
diameter of 30 cm (571 cm^2 of usable area), and a thickness of 2.4
millimeters.  Storage capacity is a maximum of 65 minutes per side.

A future potential format for HDTV may employ a blue wavelength laser
(0.4 microns), offering another 2:1 increase in areal density, or 20
Gbytes total.  Other alternatives include larger disc sizes. For
example, if bit coding at DVD areal densities were applied to the
familiar 30 cm disc, the average bitrate for the 65 minutes of video
per side would be nearly 70 Mbit/sec !!

What is the MPEG committee ?

 In fact, MPEG is a nickname.  The official title is: ISO/IEC JTC1 SC29 WG11.

   ISO:  International Organization for Standardization
   IEC:  International Electrotechnical Commission
   JTC1: Joint Technical Committee 1
   SC29: Sub-committee 29
   WG11: Working Group 11  (moving pictures with... uh, audio)

What ever happened to MPEG-3 ?

MPEG-3 was to have targeted HDTV applications with sampling dimensions
up to 1920 x 1080 x 30 Hz and coded bitrates between 20 and 40
Mbit/sec.  It was later discovered that with some (syntax compatible)
fine tuning, MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 syntax worked very well for HDTV rate
video.  The key is to maintain an optimal balance between sample rate
and coded bit rate.

 Also, the standardization window for HDTV was rapidly closing.  Europe
 and the United States were on the brink of committing to
analog-digital subnyquist hybrid algorithms (D-MAC, MUSE, et al).  By
1992, European all-digital projects such as HD-DIVINE and VADIS
demonstrated better picture quality with respect to bandwidth using the
MPEG syntax.  In the United States, the Sarnoff/NBC/Philips/Thomson
HDTV consortium had used MPEG-1 syntax from the beginning of its
all-digital proposal, and with the exception of motion artifacts (due
to limited search range in the encoder), was deemed to have the best
picture quality of all three digital proponents in the early 1993
bake-off. HDTV is now part of the MPEG-2 High-1440 Level and High Level

Why bother having an MPEG-2 ?

A. MPEG-1 was optimized for CD-ROM or applications at about 1.5
Mbit/sec. Video was strictly non- interlaced (i.e. progressive).  The
international cooperation executed well enough for MPEG-1, that the
committee began to  address applications at broadcast TV sample rates
using the CCIR 601 recommendation (720 samples/line by 480 lines per
frame by 30 frames per second or about 15.2 million samples/sec
including chroma) as the reference.

Unfortunately, today's TV scanning pattern is interlaced.  This
introduces a duality in block coding:  do local redundancy areas
(blocks) exist exclusively in a field or a frame.(or a particle or
wave) ?  The answer of course is that some blocks are one or the other
at different times, depending on motion activity. The additional man
years of experimentation and implementation between MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
improved the method of block-based transform coding.

It is often remarked that MPEG-2 spent several hundred man years and
10s of millions of dollars yet only gained 20% coding efficiency over
MPEG-1 for interlaced video signals.  However, the collaborative
process brought companies together, and from that came a standard well
agreed upon.  In many ways, the political achievement dwarfs the
technical one.  Also, MPEG-2 was exploratory.  Coding of interlaced
video was unknown territory.  It took some considerable convincing to
demonstrate that a simple syntax, akin to MPEG-1, was as efficient as
other proposals.  Left by themselves, each company would probably have
produced a diverse scope of syntax.

Is MPEG patented ?

Many of the companies which participated in the MPEG committee have
indicated that they hold patents to fundamental elements of the MPEG
syntax and semantics.  Already, the group known as the "IRT consortium"
(CCETT, IRT, et al) have defined royalty fees and licensing agreements
for OEMs of MPEG Layer I and II audio encoders and decoders.  The fee
is $1 USD per audio channel in small quantities, and $0.50 USD per
channel in large quantities.

A royalty and licensing agreement has yet to be reached among holders
of  Video and Systems patents, however the figure has already been
agreed upon, ranging from $3 to $4 per implementation. Whether it is
retroactively applicable or not to products already sold, or whether it
is possible to avoid the patents via approximation techniques, is not
known. The non-profit organization,CableLabs (Boulder, Colorado), is
responsible for leading the MPEG Intellectual Property Rights effort
(known canonically as the "MPEG Patent Pool.").  An agreement is
expected by mid 1995.

In order to reach the IS (International Standard) document stage, all
parties must have sent in a letter to ISO stating they agree to license
their intellectual property on fair and reasonable terms,
indiscriminately. For MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, this was accomplished in mid

Companies which hold patents often cross-license each other.  Each
party does not have to pay royalties to one another.

What is White Book

The White Book specifies the file structure and indexing of multiplexed
MPEG video and audio streams.  White Book also specifies  the Karaoke
application's reference table which describes programs and their sector
locations.  At the lowest layer, White Book builds upon the CD-ROM XA
spec.. Extension data includes screen pointing devices, address list of
all Intra pictures within a program, CD version number, Closed Caption
data, and information indexing of MPEG still pictures.

The specific MPEG parameter definitions of White Book are:

Audio coding method:  MPEG-1 Layer II
Sampling rate:  44.1 kHz
Coded bit rate:  224 Kbits/sec
Mode:  stereo, dual channel, or intensity stereo

Video coding method:  MPEG-1
Permitted sample rates: 
352 pixels/line x 240 lines/frame x 29.97 frames/sec    (NTSC rate)
352 pixels/line x 240 lines/frame x 23.976 frames/sec  (NTSC film rate)
352 pixels/line x 288 lines/frame x 25 frame/sec          (PAL rate)
Maximum bitrate:  1.1519291 bits/sec

Recommendations include:
   pixel aspect ratios:  1.0950 (352x240) or 0.9157 (352 x 288)
  Intra pictures be placed at least once every 2 seconds.

Still pictures: ("Intra" picture_coding_type only) 
  Normal res:  352 x 240    or   352 x 288  (maximum 46 Kbytes coded size)
  Double res:   704 x 480    or   704 x 576  (maximum 224 Kbytes coded size)

The other books are:

Red Book:  this is the original Compact Disc Audio specification (circa
1980).  All other books (Yellow, Green, Orange, White) are identical at
the low-level, sharing a common base with Red Book.  This grandfather
specification defines sectors, tracks, and channel coding (8/14 EFM
outer forward error correction (FEC), 8-bit polynomial interleaved
Reed-Soloman inner forward error correction, etc), and physical
parameters (disc diameter 12 cm, laser wavelength 0.8 microns, track
pitch, land-to-pit spacing, digital modulation, etc.).

Yellow Book: first CD-ROM specification (circa 1986).  Later appended
by the CD-ROM XA spec.

Green Book: CD-I (Compact Disc Interactive).

Orange Book:  Kodak Photo CD

ISO 9660: (circa 1988) describes file structure for CD-ROM XA (circa
1988). Similar to MS-DOS, filenames are case insensitive and limited to
8 characters, and 3 extension characters (8.3 format).  Many CD-ROMs
containing MPEG are nothing more than Yellow Book CD which treat
multiplexed video and audio bitstreams as an ordinary file.

Further information can be retrieved from:

Philips Consumer Electronics B.V.
Coordination Office Optical & Magnetic Media Systems
Building SWA-1
P.O. Box 80002
5600 JB Eindhoven
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 40 736409
Fax: +31 40 732113

What are some typical picture sizes and their associated 
applications ?

352 x 240	SIF.  CD WhiteBook Movies, video games.
352 x 480	HHR.  VHS equivalent
480 x 480	Bandlimited (4.2 Mhz) broadcast NTSC.
544 x 480	Laserdisc, D-2, Bandlimited PAL/SECAM.
640 x 480	Square pixel NTSC
720 x 480	CCIR 601. Studio D-1. Upper limit of Main Level.

Future topics:

How are MPEG video and audio streams synchronized?
What is Digital Video Cassette (DVC) ?
How does the D-VHS format encode MPEG signals?
What is MPEG-4 ?
The high level and low level differences between MPEG, JPEG, H.261, and H.263
MPEG in applications
More on DVD.
Details on DVB
Implementations (semiconductor chips)
Software Complexity and performance.  Well known speedup methods.
MPEG software on the Internet (audio, video, systems)
Specific MPEG articles in literature.
Current activities of MPEG-4
MPEG Compliance bitstreams



~Subject: What happened at the MPEG - NY meeting ?

From: (Chad Fogg)
Date: 22 Jul 93 05:31:41 GMT


ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11  N0500
July 16, 1993

Source:	ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11
~Title:	Press Release (Final) -- MPEG New York Meeting
Status:	For immediate release


This week in New York, at a meeting hosted by Columbia University, the 
Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) completed definition of MPEG-2 
Video, MPEG-2 Audio, and MPEG-2 Systems.  MPEG therefore confirmed 
that it is on schedule to produce, by November 1993, Committee Drafts of 
all three parts of the MPEG-2 Standard, for balloting by its member 

To ensure that a harmonized solution to the widest range of applications 
is achieved, MPEG, an ISO/IEC working group designated ISO/IEC 
JTC1/SC29/WG11, is working jointly with the ITU-TS Study Group 15 
"Experts Group for ATM Video Coding." MPEG also collaborates with 
representatives from other parts of ITU-TS, and from EBU, ITU-RS, SMPTE, 
and the North American HDTV community.

MPEG-2 Video

MPEG is developing the MPEG-2 Video Standard, which specifies the coded 
bit stream for high-quality digital video.  As a compatible extension, 
MPEG-2 Video builds on the completed MPEG-1 Video Standard (ISO/IEC IS 
11172-2), by supporting interlaced video formats and a number of other 
advanced features, including features to support HDTV.  

As a generic International Standard, MPEG-2 Video is being defined in 
terms of extensible profiles, each of which will support the features 
needed by an important class of applications. At the March MPEG meeting 
in Sydney, the MPEG-2 Main Profile was defined to support digital video 
transmission in the range of about 2 to 15 Mbits/sec over cable, satellite, 
and other broadcast channels, as well as for Digital Storage Media (DSM) 
and other communications applications. Building on this success at this 
week's New York meeting, MPEG experts from participating countries in 
Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America further defined parameters of 
the Main Profile and Simple Profile suitable for supporting HDTV formats.

This week the MPEG experts also extended the features of the Main Profile 
by defining a hierarchical/scalable profile.  This profile aims to support 
applications such as compatible terrestrial TV/HDTV, packet-network 
video systems, backward-compatibility with existing standards (MPEG-1 
and H.261), and other applications for which multi-level coding is 
required.  For example, such a system could give the consumer the option 
of using either a small portable receiver to decode standard definition TV, 
or a larger fixed receiver to decode HDTV from the same broadcast signal.

This week's accomplishments in New York mean that the technical 
definition of MPEG-2 Video has been completed.  This was a critical 
milestone, and shows that MPEG-2 Video is on schedule for a Committee 
Draft in November.

MPEG-2 Audio

MPEG is developing the MPEG-2 Audio Standard for low bitrate coding of 
multichannel audio. MPEG-2 Audio coding will supply up to five full 
bandwidth channels (left, right, center, and two surround channels), plus 
an additional low frequency enhancement channel, and/or up to seven 
commentary/multilingual channels. The MPEG-2 Audio Standard will also 
extend the stereo and mono coding of the MPEG-1 Audio Standard (ISO/IEC 
IS 11172-3) to half sampling-rates (16 kHz, 22.05 kHz, and 24 kHz), for 
improved quality for bitrates at or below 64 kbits/s, per channel.

This week in New York, MPEG produced an updated version of the MPEG-2 
Audio Working Draft, and is on track for achieving a Committee Draft 
specification by the November MPEG meeting.

The MPEG-2 Audio multichannel coding Standard will provide 
backward-compatibility with the existing MPEG-1 Audio Standard 
(ISO/IEC IS 11172-3). Together with ITU-RS, MPEG is organizing formal 
subjective testing of the proposed MPEG-2 multichannel audio codecs and 
up to three non-backward-compatible (NBC) codecs. The NBC codecs are 
included in order to determine whether an NBC mode should be introduced 
as an addendum to the standard. If the results show clear evidence that an 
NBC mode improves the performance, a formal call for NBC proposals will 
be issued by MPEG, with a view to incorporate these features in the audio 

MPEG-2 Systems

<IMG SRC="mpeg2sys.gif">

MPEG is developing the MPEG-2 Systems Standard to specify coding 
formats for multiplexing audio, video, and other data into a form suitable 
for transmission or storage. There are two data stream formats defined: 
the Transport Stream, which can carry multiple programs simultaneously, 
and which is optimized for use in applications where data loss may be 
likely, and the Program stream, which is optimized for multimedia 
applications, for performing systems processing in software, and for 
MPEG-1 compatibility.

Both streams are designed to support a large number of known and 
anticipated applications, and they retain a significant amount of 
flexibility such as may be required for such applications, while providing 
interoperability between different device implementations.  The 
Transport Stream is well suited for transmission of digital television and 
video telephony over fiber, satellite, cable, ISDN, ATM, and other 
networks, and also for storage on digital video tape and other devices.  It 
is expected to find widespread use for such applications in the very near 

The Program Stream is similar to the MPEG-1 Systems standard (ISO/IEC 
11172-1).  It includes extensions to support new and future applications.  
Both the Transport Stream and Program Stream are built on a common 
Packetized Elementary Stream packet structure, facilitating common 
video and audio decoder implementations and stream type conversions.  
This is well-suited for use over a wide variety of networks with 
ATM/AAL and alternative transports. This week in New York, MPEG 
completed definitions of the features, syntax, and semantics of the 
Transport and Program Streams, enabling product designers to proceed.  
Among other items, the Transport Stream packet length was fixed at 188 
bytes, including the 4-byte header.  This length is suited for use with ATM 
networks, as well as a wide variety of other transmission and storage 


~Subject: Whats with MPEG-4 ?


Work on a new MPEG initiative for very low bitrate coding of audiovisual 
programs has been approved by unanimous ballot of all national bodies of 
ISO/IEC JTC1. This work will begin officially at the next MPEG meeting in 
Brussels in September 1993.  It is scheduled to result in a draft 
specification in 1997.

This work will require the development of fundamentally new algorithmic 
techniques.  In conjunction with the MPEG meeting this week in New York, 
a one-day seminar was held on current research ideas applicable to low 
bitrate coding.  Demonstrations and papers were presented on a number of 
techniques, including model-based image coding, human interaction with 
multimedia environments, and low-bitrate speech coding.

When completed, the MPEG-4 standard will enable a whole spectrum of 
new applications, including interactive mobile multimedia 

From Leonardo.Chiariglione@CSELT.STET.IT  Fri Aug 18 15:10:47 1995


ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 N0997
MPEG 95/
July 1995

Source:	Leonardo Chiariglione - Convenor
Title:	MPEG-4 Call for Proposals
Status:	Approved at 31st WG11 meeting

MPEG (originally, Moving Pictures Experts Group) is a working group
operating within ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) and
IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). Since starting its
activity in 1988, MPEG has produced ISO/IEC 11172 (so-called MPEG-1)
and ISO/IEC 13818 (so called MPEG-2) and among others, plans to
finalise the so-called DSM-CC standard protocol for set-top to server
and set-top to network dialogue in July 1996.

While its standards are obtaining wide support from both the
manufacturing industry and service providers and have actually been
instrumental in triggering the digital revolution that is making
possible the coming of interactive multimedia for widespread consumer
applications, MPEG is turning its attention to more advanced forms of
interactivity that technology will make possible in the next few
years. This is the objective of the MPEG-4 project whose completion,
planned to take place in November 1988, will give users the
possibility to achieve various forms of interactivity with the
audio-visual content of a scene and to mix synthetic and natural
audio and video information in a seamless way. 

MPEG-4 technology will comprise two major parts: a set of coding
tools for audiovisual objects, and a syntactic language to describe
both the coding tools and the coded objects. From a technical
viewpoint, the most notable departure from traditional coding
standards will be the possibility for a receiver to download the
description of the syntax used to represent the audio-visual
information, a feature that VLSI technology will soon be able to
support. It should be noted also that the audiovisual information
will not be restricted to have the format of conventional video,
i.e., it will not necessarily be frame-based. The additional degrees
of freeedom that will result from not forcing the data structure of
the coded representation of the data to be the same as the data
structure of the presentation of the data are expected to produce
significant improvements in both efficiency and functionality.

Using the same approach as for the case of the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
standards, MPEG is now requesting technical proposals in line with
the general philosophy described in document WG11 N0998 "Proposal
Package Description". A Call for Pre-registration has already
produced more than 70 statements of intention to submit a proposal on
Synthetic/Natural Audio/Speech or Video Coding. The companion
document WG11 N0999 "MPEG-4 Test/Evaluation Procedures", finalized at
31st MPEG meeting, describes the details of the expected content of
submissions and the methodology to be used in assessing their
suitability for the intended scope of the MPEG-4 standard. Please
note that two kinds of submission will be accepted for coding
techniques: algorithms for certain functionalities will be subjected
to formal testing, while algorithms for other functionalities, and
coding tools that may constitute only part of a complete algorithm
will be subjected to evaluation by a panel of experts. Also,
submission of proposals for syntactic language will be evaluated by
experts. This document (w0997.doc) and the two documents referred to
above (w0998.doc and w0999.doc) can be obtained in electronic form
(Word 6.0 for Windows) from:

login:      	iso
password:   	!more!less
directory:  	uploads/

Those intending to submit a proposal should send the registration
form contained in the WfW file w0997.doc duly filled in to:

Dr. Leonardo Chiariglione
Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274
10148 Torino
Tel.: +39 11 228 6120
Fax: +39 11 228 6299


Dr. Cliff Reader
Samsung Semiconductor Inc.
3655 North 1st Street
San Jose, CA 95134
Tel.: +1 408 954 7853
Fax: +1 408 434 5510

by 15 September 1995. Registrations will be acknowledged by 30
September 1995. Please refer to document WG11 N0999 for a detailed
calendar of deadlines to be met by prospective proposers. 

Video and audio tapes submitted for subjective testing will be
assessed in the two weeks preceding the 32nd MPEG meeting. This
meeting will be held in Dallas, TX, USA, on 6 to 10 November 1995. At
this meeting both the results of subjective tests and the technical
proposals with supporting information will be assessed by MPEG.
Proposers are strongly encouraged to upload the textual and graphical
parts of their proposals in Word 6.0 for Windows format by 27 October
1995 for early and better consideration of their proposals. Please
note that a mandatory financial contribution to cover the cost of
tape editing will be requested to submitters of proposals that
include tapes for subjective tests. The exact amount of the
contribution will be communicated in the letter of acknowledgment, as
this depends on the number of tapes to be edited.

The major steps in the MPEG-4 standard development following the
Dallas meeting will be the attainment of "Working Draft" level in
November 1996 and of "Committee Draft" level in November 1997.
International Standard level will be reached in November 1998.


~Subject: What's about Video-CD and CD-I ?

Copyright (c) 1996 Steve Perlman, Visible Light
Revised: 15 Mar 96

The Different Formats of Video CD and CD-i
Special Considerations To Play Green Book
An Important Choice: Windows 3.1 or 95
Playback Software For Video CD and CD-i
Using Software Decoders


Every day, I'm contacted by an increasing number of PC owners
who want to playback their CD-i and Video CDs on their PCs. The
answer to the question "Can I play Video CDs and CD-i on my PC?"
is absolutely and positively a "maybe!"

Without question, you must have an MPEG decoder to playback a
Video CD or CD-i. Software-only decoders, like CompCore SoftPEG,
are inexpensive and work well with fast Pentium based PCs. The 
hardware decoders, like Sigma Designs' REALMagic, are more costly
but will run well even on 486 PCs, since the processing is all 
done on the board.

But, just having an MPEG decoder just isn't enough! So beware! 
There are hardware, software, driver and configuration issues that
must be resolved to play Video CD or CD-i. The bright spot is that
it generally can be done!

This FAQ explains the factors involved in playback of Video CD and
CD-i. Hopefully, you're somewhat knowledgeable of your PC hardware
and configuration!

The Different Formats of Video CD and CD-i

Looking at the way Video CD and CD-i has evolved may arguably lead
one to believe that it was created to confuse the world on purpose.

Have you ever stopped to think about how many types of Video CD and 
CD-i there really are? There are at least four types! Each one has a
different format!

There is Green Book, White Book, CD-i Interactive and Video CD 2.0.
Wow! Which one you have will affect your ability to playback the CD
using Windows. So, let's start by unraveling the mystery behind the
formats of Video CD and CD-i. 

Don't let the term "book" confuse you. It's just a cute name given 
to that particular format. It's not difficult to identify which type
of CD you have!

This is the earliest format created by Philips for CD-i movies. Most
of the Philips CDs dated 1993 and earlier are Green Book. Look on the
CD itself for the wording "Digital Video". You will also find that 
the directory is unreadable on a PC.

WHITE BOOK (Video CD 1.1)
This is the latest format used by Philips for CD-i movies. Most of
the Philips CDs dated 1994 and later are White Book. Look on the CD
itself for the wording "Video CD". You will find that this directory
is readable, and there are files with the extension .DAT

This is the Philips format for games and other interactive content.
The CDs use wording like "CD-i Games" and "CD-i Interactive". These
CDs are not playable on a PC unless you have a very expensive board
which only Philips supplies.

The world wants to develop interactive content. But, it doesn't want
to pay high fees to Philips to develop CD-i Interactive disks, and
wants to have wide distribution on PCs. Thus, the new Video CD 2.0 
standard was created. It is an extension of Video CD 1.1, and has a
readable directory with .DAT files. These CDs should begin to receive
widespread distribution by the end of 1996.

Special Considerations To Play Green Book

Green Book is not entirely supported on PCs, because Green Book format
cannot be read as a standard ISO-9660 CD (meaning no readable directory).
Therefore, some CD drive manufacturers did not build Green Book format
support into their CD drive hardware. These CD drives cannot read Green
Book format. They must be replaced to play Green Book CDs.

Panasonic and Matsushita drives typically do not support Green Book.
Unfortunately, many of these drives were distributed by Creative Labs
with their multimedia upgrade packages. When selecting a drive, make
certain that it is "CD-i compatible". Most CD drives are.

The error most attributable to the CD-ROM hardware problem is the now
infamous MMSYSTEM001: External Error. This is a general catch-all error
which means that the CD-ROM drive is not responding properly. The most 
likely reason is that the drive simply can't read the disk.

That's not all!

Windows 3.1 CD drivers, using the file MSCDEX.EXE, supported Green Book
format. As long as the CD drive hardware could read Green Book, you can
playback a Green Book CD without problems. Windows 3.1 was such a nice,
friendly operating system.

Then came Windows 95, touted to us as being 100% compatible with Win 3.1.
Except for one thing! Microsoft didn't tell us that Green Book support
was removed from the Windows 95 CD drivers!

So, Green Book CDs are specifically not supported in Windows 95. 

That doesn't mean you won't be able to use Windows 95 to play Green Book 
in the future. But, Microsoft has to release a new driver or another fix
must be found. It is believed that you may be able to use the Windows 3.1
MSCDEX drivers, and disable the Windows 95 CD drivers. This is all being
tested now, so we will cover this point in a later revision to this FAQ.

An Important Choice: Windows 3.1 or 95

We covered the requirement for playback of Green Book CDs, that the 
Windows 3.1 CD driver (MSCDEX) be used instead of the Windows 95 driver.
But, there is also a special bug in Windows 95, for which Microsoft has 
not yet released a fix publically yet.

An IDE CDROM may not reside on the primary channel with you Hard Drive.
It must be on the secondary channel. If you have a 486 with no EIDE
(no secondary channel) and want to use an IDE CDROM, tough luck. If
you have a Pentium and an IDE CDROM, move it to the secondary channel.

In general, you will find Windows 3.1 to be the preferable environment
for playback of Video CD and CD-i. There are less things to go wrong,
and configuration problems are easier to control.

Windows 3.1 is a good test environment also. If you have problems with
playback of Video CD and CD-i under Windows 95, you should test first
under Windows 3.1 if possible. That will help you define whether or not
the problem is hardware (the CD drive) or Windows 95 itself. Unless you
have a hardware problem, you should always be able to play Video CD and
CD-i under Windows 3.1!

Direct Draw improves video considerably under Windows 95, and improves
the frame rate. Direct Draw drivers write YUV information directly to
a video card that supports it. Generally, these video drivers are not 
available yet, but some vendors have begun distribution of the beta 
versions of their Direct Draw drivers. Diamond has Direct Draw beta 
drivers available for its Video 2001 series. S3 reportedly has also 
released its beta version for public testing. A special warning though.
These beta versions are generally untested, and may generate unwanted 
or unexpected results during playback!

Playback Software For Video CD and CD-i

Media Player, distributed with Windows, will playback .MPEG and .DAT
files very nicely. But, you have to point to these files directly.
With Video CD and CD-i, you want software that will read the CD header
and begin automatic playback of the CD. Media Player does not support
this, and most of the players for the PC will not either.

Therefore, you must find a player that will support playback of Video
CD and CD-i. CompCore's SoftPEG 2.0 is distributed with CD Vision, a
player that supports Green Book, Video CD 1.1 and Video CD 2.0.

So, if you want to playback Video CD or CD-i, you need more than just
an MPEG decoder. You need one that has a driver and a player that will
support the playback of these formats!

Using Software Decoders

Software decoders will run fine with Video CD and CD-i, although there
are CPU constraints. Because these decoders use your CPU for processing,
frame rate is dependent upon the speed of your processor. Generally,
the decoder should be configured for maximum CPU usage (90%), and all
other applications should be closed.

Another factor is that Windows 3.1 is a bit faster than Windows 95 for
software decoding. Windows 95 tends to use more system resources. This
is a minor consideration, though, because the 32-bit decoder drivers 
talk nicely with the new graphics accelerator boards. In fact, the new
Direct Draw drivers will greatly improve things further.

Use of software decoders should be limited to Pentium platforms, for
best frame rate and better compatibility.



This section describes commercial software, even when a free, but restricted
demo version is available.





~Subject: MPEG Encoder by Xing

The MPEG Encoder is available starting from 349.-DM incl. VAT.
BTW, the encoder still sells for 349.-DM and the MCI-driver for 199.-DM

[ The MCI-driver is nice, because it allows you to include movies in      ]
[ other documents. But it includes only the MPLAYER.EXE-icon in the       ]
[ document (not the first picture of the movie), the movie runs at        ]
[ whatever position (not where the icon is !), when you double-click it.  ]

[ Xing should have a close look at Microsoft's AVI-driver ;o) (but there  ]
[ movies are incredible slow and small, compared to MPEG  :o(             ]




~Subject: SoftPEG

[ The current version 2.0 seems to be the quickest software decoder for ]
[ for Windows, check there site under          ]

CompCore SoftPEG MPEG Decoder

SoftPEG MPEG-1 Decoder Engine

Tecnical specification:


- MPEG-1 compatible System, Audio & Video streams.
- Automatic rate control.
- Full lip-sync from 30 fps (P90 + DCI graphics) to 8 fps (486 + GDI graphics).
- User defined frame-rate support.


- Support for DCI, WinG, GDI.
- 2X optimized scaling option.
- User defined scaling through DCI, WinG or GDI.
- Suports RGB8, RGB24, YUV12, YUY2, YVYU and  UYVY color formats.


- Automatic support fot 16/8 bit, stereo/mono sound.

System requirements:

- 486 DX or above (Pentium recommended).
- Windows 3.x in enhanced mode.
- 4 MBytes RAM.
- Windows compatible Sound Card.


- Windows 3.x DLL.
- API and MCI interface.
- Virtualized stream input/ graphic output.
- Low CPU usage (40-70%).
- Low memory consumption (1.3 MB).
- MCI driver for MediaPlayer integration.
- SoftPEG player application.

Product Background:
CompCore Multimedia, Inc., the leader in low cost, high performance
MPEG solutions, is proud to announce the availability of the SoftPEG tm
MPEG decoder. SoftPEG is the highest performance MPEG software decoding
solution in the industry. Using the same patented algorithms as
CompCore's efficient hardware solutions, SoftPEG tm is able to generate
unparalleled picture and sound quality with full audio/ video
synchronization, without added hardware or assemble language

	Achieves real-time performance at SIF resolution (352 x 240 @
	30 frames/sec or 352 x 288 @ 25 frames/sec) on 90 MHz Pentium
	systems with YUV color space conversion hardware assist.
	Delivers smooth motion quality and full audio/video
	synchronization on base level Pentium and   486DX2 systems.
	Decodes video frames faster than real-time on basic PowerPC,
	MIPS and Alpha systems.  

	Fully decodes and displays any MPEG-1 compliant bit stream.
	Uses CompCore's patented algorithms to efficiently decode,
	synchronize and present audio/video  frames. Able to perform
	decode and presentation without full utilization of CPU.
	SoftPEG tm delivers exceptional audio/video synchronization
	quality regardless of platform (Pentium,    486, MIPS,
	PowerPC).  Automatically configurable to either DCI or WinG
	interfaces.  SoftPEG, tm designed with a 16 bit interface in
	mind, runs under the Window 3.1, as well as Windows     NT,
	without the use of Win32S.  Compliant to OpenMPEG standard.
	Written in high level C code making the design easily portable
	to other platforms. 

Licensing and Availability:
SoftPEG is available for immediate distribution. 
For information on licensing please contact Tanya Sitterly at:

CompCore Multimedia, Inc.
1270 Oakmead Parkway, Suite 214
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Tel: (408) 773-8310 ext. 22
Fax: (408) 773-0432



Mediamatics Inc.'s MPEG ARCADETM Player is a software only, full
implementation of the MPEG-I ISO 11172 standard. The entire MPEG-1
decompression, both video and audio is implemented in software (along with
system stream parsing and video/audio synchronization). Finally, a MCI-DV
Media Player interface is provided to control/playback MPEG-1 encoded system
stream files. This media player is  fully compliant with OPEN PC MPEG
consortium's MpegVideo command set. This player will soon be available in
the retail market from major manufacturers of graphics cards, who will be
bundling our Arcade Player with their recently announced video-enabled
graphics cards. Arcade Player is currently offered only
to OEMs and has been licensed by Brooktree, Western Digital.

Arcade Player - Key Features:
*  Performance benchmarks:
    24-30 fps with synchronized audio on a Pentium  PCI system with a video
enabled graphics card.
   [Note: assumes graphics subsystem to contain a hardware color space
*  Supports Windows 3.1, Windows95TM and Windows NT operating system.
*  Supports playback of CD-I/VideoCD/CD-Karaoke format encoded content.
*  Tested with major DCI-aware graphics devices from companies such as
   Brooktree, Western Digital, Trident, S3, Cirrus, Avance, Alliance etc.

For More information:
Mediamatics Inc.
4633 Old Ironsides Drive #328
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Ph: 408-496-6360
Fx: 408-496-6634


~Subject: XingSound

[ Well, the encoder costs, but the decoder is PD ! But, attention ]
[ they say, they support full-MPEG-audio, but sure they are not.  ]
[ They do dirty tricks again, had a look at the streams, tststs   ]
[ Buts good stuff and its helping the MPEG-comunity.              ]

XingSound Realtime MPEG Audio Layer II Encoding on the PC !

Here it is: the first low cost REALTIME MPEG AUDIO Encoding on the PC via
a high quality 16 Bits Stereo DSP based Audio-Soundcard and the famous
Xing Technology XingSOUND(tm) MPEG Audio Encoder software.

The XingSound MPEG audio encoder encoder supports the DSP on the Soundcard
and enables realtime 15:1 compression of high quality Audio material without
any audible loss in quality.


Wait no longer endless time (hours) to convert your WAV-files offline, like a
few shareware encoders do. No just record your songs in realtime to MPEG Audio
MP2 files. Compression factor can be set .

Comfortable record software coming with the package and also an offline WAV to
MP2 converter.

All software runs under win3.x !

With the optinal MPEG Audio- MCI-driver you can paste your MPEG audio files
directly via Media player into your applications and save huge disk space
compared when using 16 bits Stereo WAV files !

Also , when the DSP Soundcard is installed, you get full CD-quality
STEREO playback with 16 bits resolution ! (if other soundcard is installed,
XingSound MPEG player will only play in Mono)

Available only as a bundled package consisting of:

1. XingSound MPEG Audio Realtime software for Windows 3.x incl. free MPEG audio
win3.x player program, WAV to MP2 offline converter, Realtime DSP supported
Audio recorder program, Realtime DSP supported FULL Stereo CD-quality MPEG
Audio playback

2. 16 bits Stereo CD-quality DSP Soundcard, with win3.x drivers
(can be used as a normal Windows soundcard as well, Soundblaster and WSS
compatible, jumperless design, options set via software, Sony CD-ROM I/O onbord)

All manuals have english language !


~Subject: XingCD

<IMG SRC="xingcd2.gif">

It is the first AVI to MPEG Encoder, which allows you to make
MPEG system streams from AVI movies.

This means, you can directly use a Motion JPEG capture board at 352x288
resolution to capture Realtime video,
edit it with Adobe Premiere for Windows and make a Video CD out of it,
using the new XingCD Encoder.

The XingCD Encoder is software only, so there is no further hardware
required. It converts the AVI Video file to MPEG Video and the sound WAV file
to MPEG Audio and interleaves (multiplexes) these 2 bitstreams into an MPEG
system layer bitstream, so it could be played back via a REEL MAGIC card
for instance or the new Inside Technology MPEG player card for the PC.

The new MPEG Encoder supports full IBP format and is compatible with the
ISO11172 MPEG system layer description.

Price is 995.-US$, but this is still cheaper than a 20K US$ realtime MPEG
capture board.....

It can also encode from single TGA or BMP pics and it supports various
output format of:
352x240, 352x288, 160x120 and custom output resolution.
Rescales source to desired ouput resolution etc...

Encode Process runs in the background.

I hope, we will get soon many "fresh" MPEG Video CDs !




~Subject: Xing Distributed Media Architecture

{XDMA} Network Description

The Xing Distributed Media Architecture ("XDMA"), developed by Xing Technology Corporation
("Xing") is the first commercially available low-cost solution for world-wide and local network
delivery of live and on-demand video+audio.  The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) has
broadly deployed XDMA for broadcast delivery of financial news programming to subscribers in
the U.S and Europe.  New applications are being developed with XDMA for distance learning,
corporate communications, news delivery and computer based training in corporate,
educational, government and health care markets, employing wide area, local area and ISDN

How XDMA Differs from other Video Networks

Existing "on-demand" multimedia (video) network architectures are based on tightly coupled
point-to-point client-server communication, which result in 4 major limitations:

	1.  significant interaction is required between client and server for flow control,
		requiring complex server programming and signficant data overhead (on
		the order of 25% - 50%);

	2.  servers are not designed to deliver the same streams simultaneously
		to multiple users, making "live" delivery to multiple users impractical;

	3.  LAN-based server architectures are not designed to operate (and generally
		don't work well) over wide area networks; and

	4.  communication protocols employed are proprietary, and do not directly support the
		TCP/IP international standard

XDMA represents a significantly different multimedia network architecture, based on the
concept of "streaming media".  This architecture supports both "on-demand" as well as "live" It
video and audio delivery which does not require close coupling between the client and server.
It easily supports "broadcasting" or "multicasting" of live or on-demand content to multiple
simultaneous users over local as well as wide area networks.  The benefits of XDMA are
reduced network component complexity, significantly increased network flexibility, and
significantly reduced network overhead.  Moreover, Xing's approach is built around
international standards-based components - Unix and (in 3rd quarter 1995) Windows NT
servers, TCP-IP connections, MPEG video and audio compression, and HTTP-HTML client
server communication.  This allows better economies in implementation and easy integration
into existing communication networks.

Technical Description

XDMA was developed as a client-server media distribution architecture which can operate
independently or complement existing WWW (World Wide Web) HTTP / HTML architectures
on local area networks, private data wide area networks and public data wide area networks
(e.g. Internet).

XDMA delivers *streaming* multimedia - pictures, video and sound - based on the MPEG
international standards for video and audio compression from Unix and (in 3rd quarter 1995)
Windows NT servers.  When integrated with WWW, XDMA augments existing WWW
architectures by providing a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) to existing Web (HTTP)
servers, and viewer extensions to popular "Web HTML browsers" (i.e. Mosaic, Netscape,
Winweb, Spyglass, etc).  As such, XDMA can take advantage of user authentication
procedures as supported by current Web browsers and HTTP servers.

Streaming of multimedia data is a significantly different way of delivery, as the user can view /
hear the data as it is being transmitted instead of waiting for file transfer completion, and there
is no requirement for complex file systems such as Netware or NFS.

In addition, XDMA uses standard TCP-IP network protocols, and takes advantage of new
"multicast IP" protocols (RFC 1112) for data delivery, allowing multiple users to simultaneously
view / hear the same data streams without duplication of data or use of intrusive broadcast

A typical XDMA configuration will include some of the following components:
	* XDMA Network Encoders
		- video+audio
		- audio only
		- file transmitter / encoder emulator
	* XDMA Network Servers
	* XDMA Network Clients
		- for PC Windows
		- for X-Windows
		- Standalone
	* XDMA Network Routers
	* XDMA Network Editors
	* XDMA Network Manager
as described below.

XDMA Benefits

	* compatible with existing enterprise TCP/IP networks, including Ethernet,
		ATM, FDDI, ISDN, T1 and Frame Relay
	* adds live and on-demand video and audio services to private and public WAN's
		and LAN's without infrastructure changes
	* low overhead (3%) video and audio streams are fully routable
	* all network components are SNMP manageable (3rd quarter 1995)
	* network congestion is controlled by on-the-fly bitrate reduction of video and
		audio streams;  streams are scalable from full rate down to ISDN
		BRI (56-128kbps)
	* SQL database management of XDMA streams (3rd quarter 1995)
	* servers may be distributed for load balancing and stream caching
	* software-only and hardware accelerated video and audio decode provided
		on client systems
	* user interface customizable through HTML / HTTP (Web / Mosaic) interface
	* compressed video and audio streams compliant with MPEG-1 and MPEG-2
		(ISO/ICE 11172 and 13818) international standards

XDMA Applications

Applications requiring "media on-demand" benefit from XDMA's simplified approach.  The
advantage becomes most apparent in applications with a combination of "on-demand" and
"live" media delivery requirements, especially when the clients are geographically dispersed.
NBC is using XDMA to deliver multiple simultaneous live financial and news video broadcast
channels to financial market subscribers (money managers, stock brokers, financial analysts)
in cities throughout the US and Europe as part of their "NBC Desktop Video" service.  Xing is
developing similar delivery services for other commercial TV and radio programmers.

Although commercial broadcast services provide very visible and compelling examples for
Xing's capabilities, the largest volume applications for "streaming media" will  be in corporate,
educational, government and health-care networks with "on-demand" and "live" communication
requirements, including training, presentations, status reporting, and occassionally,
entertainment.  Because of the rapid proliferation of TCP-IP / HTTP / HTML ( Internet + World
Wide Web + Mosaic), the infrastructure for integration of Xing "streaming media" architectures
is quickly developing.

Representative XDMA applications include:

	* Commercial broadcast delivery systems;
	* Internet Service Provider delivery of radio and TV programming;
	* On-line marketing, sales, service and customer support;
	* Enterprise-wide training, corporate information systems and regulatory
	* Medical information systems, including live monitoring and on-demand
		multimedia information retrieval;
	* Educational systems for live and on-demand distance learning as well
		media production;
	* Government networks for live and on-demand delivery of news events
		and briefings to policy makers and dissemination of public information;
	* Media production and distribution; and
 	* Information archives


XDMA is ideally suited for ISDN remote access server and regional server applications such as
distance learning and news delivery, through its ability to provide on-the-fly MPEG stream
bitrate reduction and service of large numbers of simultaneous users.  Xing is currently
developing a reference platform for ISDN regional servers which delivers both high resolution /
low frame rate as well as low resolution / 30 frame per second video streams.  Demonstration
of this capability will be available via Xing's World Wide Web site -, as
well as via direct ISDN dial-in - 805/473-7200.

Xing Technology Corporation

Xing is the world's leading producer of PC based software technologies and products for digital
compression and decompression of video and audio in accordance with the MPEG (Moving
Pictures Expert Group) international standards.  Technology licensees include Microsoft, Intel,
Pacific Bell, NTT Japan, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard and IBM.  In addition, Xing provided the key
technologies to NBC for the development of the first wide area digital video broadcast delivery
system ("NBC Desktop Video").


MPEG  -  Motion Picture Experts Group.  The international standards for compression of video
and audio.  There are actually two standards - MPEG-1 (ISO/IEC 11172) and MPEG-2
(ISO/IEC 13818).  MPEG-1 was originally designed for delivery of video to consumer devices
at single speed CD-ROM data rates (150kbytes/sec), and is therefore lower resolution and
lower quality than MPEG-2, which was designed for delivery of broadcast and HDTV quality
video.  Each MPEG specification actually has 3 parts which define the video stream, the audio
stream and the video+audio encapsulating transport stream.

TCP-IP  -  Transmission Control Protocol + Internet Protocol.  A collection of communications
protocols (including TCP, IP, UDP, ARP, IGMP, ICMP, RAP, RIP, SNMP) that are the basis of
the Internet and all Unix networking.  Because TCP-IP can support both local and wide area
networking, while Novell's Netware protocols were designed only to support local area
networking, TCP-IP is rapidly become the standard as well for PC Windows networking
through an interface called "WINSOCK".

HTML+HTTP  -  Hypertext Markup Language + Hypertext Transport Protocol.  HTML is a page
description language and HTTP is a communications protocol that runs on top of TCP-IP.
Combined, HTML+HTTP define the basis for applications such as Mosaic and Netscape, which
are the primary tools for navigating the Internet's "World Wide Web".  HTML defines the
contents of pages which are viewed on the "Web", and HTTP defines the way an HTML
browser talks with an HTML server (refered to as an HTTPD or Web server).  It is important to
note that HTML+HTTP can be used on local area networks and private data networks, and are
rapidly becoming the standard for in-house corporate information systems which are not
necessarily Internet connected.



~Subject: NVR Research Kit

[ Its really nice software, but its expensive !  You find the infos and ]
[ software on there ftp-server (see below !), don't forget to order a   ]
[ licence key. There are several nice and long MPEG-movies to ftp !!!   ]

[ If you require a demo version, please send mail to    ]

From: Chris Jacobson <>
Date: Thu, 13 May 93 10:31:32 -0700

                       North Valley Research
                       Digital Media Systems

North Valley Research is pleased to announce immediate availability of
a family of products for working with video and other time-based media
in a UNIX environment.  These products are the first, affordable software
products that enable the end user to take video and audio all the way
from video camera or tape to an MPEG sequence that can be played back in
real-time on most Sun SPARCstations.  Starting now until May 5th, 1993,
individual products can be purchased for $150 in quantities of 30 or
more; or under $300 for quantity 1.

These software products have well-designed Motif user interfaces and a
robust architectural design.  The first set of products is sold as a kit, and
consists of three user interfaces:

  - The Player.  This tool provides a viewing mechanism for working with
      + MPEG sequences
      + analog video (requires the Parallax XVideo board)
      + JPEG movies (requires the Parallax XVideo board with JPEG option)

  - The Recorder.  This tool enables the user to peruse analog material
    with an interface very similar to the Player, but in addition, allows
    you to create JPEG movies using the JPEG hardware on the Parallax XVideo

  - The Compressor.  This tool allows you to choose input files, specify
    the compression characteristics and finally, compress them with
    our software MPEG compression engine.

The MPEG playback mechanism is purely software, requires no special
framebuffer, and depending on the size of picture, the size of the window
and bandwidth of the bitstream, can run at 6 - 30 fps with synchronized
audio.  The color is dithered from 19 bits down to 7 bits,
gamma-corrected, with real-time adjustments for contrast and brightness.
The displayed window can be one or four times the size of the MPEG sequence
picture size.  For example, a sequence compressed at 320x240 can be played
back at 320x240 or 640x480 (depending on the performance of the host

Both the MPEG compression and playback mechanisms support:
  + variable I:P:B ratios
  + variable picture sizes from 64x48 to 320x240
  + variable and fixed bit rate
  + three motion estimation algorithms (Jain & Jain and two Exhaustive methods)

The MPEG compressor is relatively fast for compression that includes motion
estimation, and depending on the input stream and the selected compression
parameters, can compress a twenty second sequence in as little as an hour.

The JPEG record and playback is accomplished with the aid of the Parallax
XVideo board.  Recording and playback of JPEG movies is controlled by
a special software engine that always keeps the audio and video synchronized.
Recorded sequences may be "running records" from a camera or broadcast, or
assembled from a controllable video source with in and out points.
Both the Player and Recorder support Sony's ViSCA/LANC, and Pioneer 4400
disc players (and other compatible models).  VideoMedia's VLAN will be
added in the future.

                         Prices and Availability

All prices below are retail, with a special, 40%-off, introductory price
in parenthesis.  These special prices are good until May 5, 1993.

All products require:
    Operating System: Solaris 1.0.1
    Computer: SPARCstation 1+, 2, IPC, IPX

Availability: All products are available for immediate delivery
Media:        8mm tape or Quarter-inch cartridge (QIC)
Terms:        P.O. prior to shipment, net 30 days with credit

NVR Digital Media Player:
    Includes:     Support for audio and viewing analog video, JPEG movies
		  and software MPEG.

    Requirements: For analog video: Parallax XVideo board
		  For JPEG movies: Parallax XVideo board with JPEG option
		  For MPEG playback: most any 8-bit pseudo-color frame-buffer,
		      including CG3, CG4, CG6 and Parallax XVideo.
		      Black-and-white monochrome support available on request.

    Prices:        1 floating license $495 ($297 intro)
                  10 floating license $2,000 ($1,200 intro)
                  30 floating license $4,500 ($2,700 intro)

NVR Digital Media Recorder
    Includes:     Support for viewing analog video and creating JPEG movies
    Requirements: Parallax XVideo board
    Price:        1 floating license $1,595 ($960 intro)

NVR Digital Media Compressor
    Includes:     Support for compressing JPEG movies (both audio
		  and video) into MPEG.  Other input formats available on
    Requirements: No special display requirements
    Price:        1 floating license $2,495 ($1,495 intro)

Development Kit:
    Includes:     5 Player licenses
	          1 Recorder license
	          1 Compressor license.
    Requirements: As above for each product
    Price:        $3,995 ($2,395 intro)

Support and Maintenance:
    Includes:     software upgrades

Inferno Solutions
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