Interview: MPEG-DASH will equal role of MPEG-2

MPEG-DASH will play a similar role to that MPEG had in digital television, according to the co-founder of the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

Dr Leonardo Chiariglione, who will next month be presented with the prestigious Faraday Medal by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) for his contribution to the modern digital media, told Broadband TV News that like MPEG-2 there were already initiatives underway. “With DASH we are in a similar situation in that there are various protocols that exist and they are already quite widely deployed.”

Chiariglione said he believed DASH would become the universal transport for digital video and audio over the internet. “It might not yet be the delivery system for broadcasting, but increasingly so and therefore I think DASH will be the means of transport and the coding layer will be MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. One day it will happen, when that day will be is a different question.”

In order for the elements to be in place for such a transition Dr Chiariglione said broadcasters needed to let go of owning the transmission infrastructure they had held for many years. “The BBC decided some time ago to become a media company, so unlike other mass broadcasters they no longer own the distribution network, so they are a media company distributing by satellite, terrestrial and internet and so on.” However he said that the BBC remained alone and he saw no sign of other broadcasters acting in a similar way. “The point of them no longer owning the distribution network you don’t have the constraints of people inside the organization saying you must not harm the delivery network”.

Speaking about his work with the MPEG organisation Dr Chiariglione said MPEG had managed to convert “convergence from a simple word to something concrete”. It had been a difficult process, which had included working with assorted national interests. “I remember in July 1992 in Brazil when we killed MPEG-3. It exists, but MPEG-3 when we started the project was meant to be compression for high definition television, but we had to kill it and it was not easy. Japan had its MUSE system that they wanted to protect and both the US and Europe had their own idea.

In January the MPEG group will put the final seal of the MPEG-HEVC standard that will compress video by a factor of 2 without loss of quality.

Dr Chiariglione stressed MPEG was not working on a day-by-day basis, but looking over several years. A new standard, MPEG Media Transport, will aid support for multiscreen delivery.