A Guided Tour

A Guided Tour

You can ride the digital media bits in many ways, even create your own roadmapp, but the table below suggests one that combines the sequence of events with a meaningful story. The suggested reading is organised in 21 chapters each subdivided in a variable number of sections. The structure is mostly sequential in time but also tries to accommodate the evolution of technology.

1 Why, How And For What An introduction, a guided tour and a table of contents
2 The Early Communication A brief review of communication in the history of mankind, the role of Public Authorities, why communication by digital means was preferable and why we need of compression of digital media
3 The Early Digital Communication How digital communication technologies were first developed and deployed, a brief history of computing, how bits were stored and transmitted and why telecom bits are somewhat different from computer bits. Finally how a fault line in my professional life led to the creation of MPEG
4 Media Get Digital A brief tale of the events that led to MPEG-1, the development of its 3 main technologies – Video, Audio and Systems, the role of reference software and conformance, a look inside MPEG-1 and what MPEG-1 has achieved.
5 Digital Media Get Better A brief history of television and why it was so important to go digital, the development of 3 main MPEG-2 technologies – Video, Audio and Systems, a look inside MPEG-2, what MPEG-2 has achieved and how a bold global initiative tried to accelerate the deployment of digital television.
6 Standards, ISO And MPEG Why standards are important, the role of patents, the MPEG way of developing standards, how an MPEG meeting unfolds and a sample of life in an international organisation like ISO
7 Works, Rights And Exploitation Why it is difficult to achieve recognition of the value of some intellectual works, how technology helps the distribution of those works, how rights are defined and how they can be protected
8 Computers And Internet The role of software and particularly operating system and how it is possible to to remove dependency of applications from it, how the current Graphical User Interface was developed, how computers achieved creation of pictures and sound, and how internet came to pervade our lives
9 Digital Media Do More Before getting into the MPEG-4 story we have to recall how media came to meet computers, the development and the inside of the many MPEG-4 components, and what MPEG-4 has achieved
10 Software And Communication How different bytes are made out of the same bits, a short story of Open Source Software and the MPEG relationships with it, how patents and standards create new forms of communication, trying to make digital media standards without patents and the myth of real-time person-to-person audio-visual communication
11 Digital Media For Machines About adding descriptions to other data, the fascinating story of other internet technologies, the development and the inside of the MPEG-7 standard, how machines have begun to talk to other machines, what MPEG-7 has achieved and how we can make machines talk to other machines
12 More About Rights and Technologies The many ways technology changes rights and their enforcements, how content protection can be opened, facing a world that MP3 has changed forever and equiring about why, if technology changes society, laws should not change
13 Frameworks For Digital Media The development of MPEG-21, looking inside it, the story of the Digital Media Project, looking inside its specification, and opening the way for a deployment
14 Putting Digital Media Together A brief description of the first batch of MPEG-A, the digital media integration standard, followed by 3 more Application Formats: Multimedia Preservation, Publish/Subscribe and Media Linking
15 More MPEG Triadic Technologies Why there was a need of more Systems, Video and Audio standards a short overview of what they do, and a standard to describe decoders and to build repositories of media coding tools
16 Technologies For Virtual Spaces How MPEG-4 deals with 3D Graphics, how we can establish bridges between real and virtual worlds, a standard for interacting with digital media and an application format for Augmented Reality
17 Systems And Services How MPEG has standardised parts of the inside of devices, what I did to develop a business using standard technologies and how MPEG standards can be used to build a better internet of the future
18 More System-wide Digital Media Standards Why we need MPEG-H, another integrated Systems-Video-Audio standard, how we can communicate over an unreliable internet, and looking inside MPEG-H for Systems, 2D and 3D Video, and Audio
19 Glimpses Of The Future About the – sometimes wild – ideas for future MPEG standards, the future of MPEG and the future of research
20 Acknowledgements Thanking the many people without which we would be riding different media bits
21 Support Material A detailed list of acronyms, the hall of fame of those who served or are still serving as MPEG Chairs, and the complete list of all MPEG standards (so far)