MPEG Multichannel

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MPEG Multichannel is an extension to the MPEG-1 Layer II audio compression specification, as defined in the MPEG-2 Audio standard (ISO/IEC 13818-3) [1] [2] which allows it provide up to 5.1-channels (surround sound) of audio. [3] [4] [5] [6] To maintain backwards compatibility with the older 2-channel (stereo) audio specification, it uses a channel matrixing scheme, where the additional channels are mixed into the two backwards compatible channels. Extra information in the data stream (ignored by older hardware) contains signals to process extra channels from the matrix. [5]


It was originally a mandatory part of the DVD specification for European DVDs, but was dropped in late 1997, and is rarely used as a result.

The Super Video CD (SVCD) standard supports MPEG Multichannel. Player support for this audio format is nearly non-existent however, and it is rarely used.

MPEG Multichannel audio was proposed for use in the ATSC digital TV broadcasting standard, but Dolby Digital (aka. AC-3, A/52) was chosen instead. This is a matter of significant controversy, as it has been revealed that the organizations (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zenith Electronics) behind 2 of the 4 voting board members received tens of millions of dollars of compensation from secret deals with Dolby Laboratories in exchange for their votes. [7]

MPEG Multichannel–compatible equipment would bear either the MPEG Multichannel or MPEG Empowered logos.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Moving Picture Experts Group alliance of working groups to set standards for multimedia coding

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is an alliance of working groups of ISO and IEC that sets standards for media coding, including compression coding of audio, video, graphics and genomic data, and transmission and file formats for various applications. Together with the JPEG group, MPEG is organized under ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 – Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information.

MPEG-1 is a standard for lossy compression of video and audio. It is designed to compress VHS-quality raw digital video and CD audio down to about 1.5 Mbit/s without excessive quality loss, making video CDs, digital cable/satellite TV and digital audio broadcasting (DAB) possible.


MPEG-2 is a standard for "the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information". It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods, which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission bandwidth. While MPEG-2 is not as efficient as newer standards such as H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC, backwards compatibility with existing hardware and software means it is still widely used, for example in over-the-air digital television broadcasting and in the DVD-Video standard.

MPEG-4 is a method of defining compression of audio and visual (AV) digital data. It was introduced in late 1998 and designated a standard for a group of audio and video coding formats and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) under the formal standard ISO/IEC 14496 – Coding of audio-visual objects. Uses of MPEG-4 include compression of AV data for web and CD distribution, voice and broadcast television applications. The MPEG-4 standard was developed by a group led by Touradj Ebrahimi and Fernando Pereira.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer II or MPEG-2 Audio Layer II is a lossy audio compression format defined by ISO/IEC 11172-3 alongside MPEG-1 Audio Layer I and MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3). While MP3 is much more popular for PC and Internet applications, MP2 remains a dominant standard for audio broadcasting.

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format, AAC generally achieves higher sound quality than MP3 at the same bit rate.

MPEG-4 Part 3 or MPEG-4 Audio is the third part of the ISO/IEC MPEG-4 international standard developed by Moving Picture Experts Group. It specifies audio coding methods. The first version of ISO/IEC 14496-3 was published in 1999.

Digital storage media command and control (DSM-CC) is a toolkit for developing control channels associated with MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 streams. It is defined in part 6 of the MPEG-2 standard and uses a client/server model connected via an underlying network.

H.262 or MPEG-2 Part 2 is a video coding format standardised and jointly maintained by ITU-T Study Group 16 Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), and developed with the involvement of many companies. It is the second part of the ISO/IEC MPEG-2 standard. The ITU-T Recommendation H.262 and ISO/IEC 13818-2 documents are identical.

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MPEG-4 Structured Audio is an ISO/IEC standard for describing sound. It was published as subpart 5 of MPEG-4 Part 3 in 1999.

Program stream is a container format for multiplexing digital audio, video and more. The PS format is specified in MPEG-1 Part 1 and MPEG-2 Part 1, Systems. The MPEG-2 Program Stream is analogous and similar to ISO/IEC 11172 Systems layer and it is forward compatible.

MPEG-4 Part 14 MP4; digital format for storing video and audio

MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio, but it can also be used to store other data such as subtitles and still images. Like most modern container formats, it allows streaming over the Internet. The only filename extension for MPEG-4 Part 14 files as defined by the specification is .mp4. MPEG-4 Part 14 is a standard specified as a part of MPEG-4.

MPEG Surround, also known as Spatial Audio Coding (SAC) is a glossy compression format for surround sound that provides a method for extending mono or stereo audio services to multi-channel audio in a backwards compatible fashion. The total bit rates used for the core and the MPEG Surround data are typically only slightly higher than the bit rates used for coding of the core. MPEG Surround adds a side-information stream to the core bit stream, containing spatial image data. Legacy stereo playback systems will ignore this side-information while players supporting MPEG Surround decoding will output the reconstructed multi-channel audio.

Structured Audio Orchestra Language (SAOL) is an imperative, MUSIC-N programming language designed for describing virtual instruments, processing digital audio, and applying sound effects. It was published as subpart 5 of MPEG-4 Part 3 in 1999.

DMIF, or Delivery Multimedia Integration Framework, is a uniform interface between the application and the transport, that allows the MPEG-4 application developer to stop worrying about that transport. DMIF was defined in MPEG-4 Part 6 in 1999. DMIF defines two interfaces: the DAI and the DNI. A single application can run on different transport layers when supported by the right DMIF instantiation. MPEG-4 DMIF supports the following functionalities:

ISO/IEC base media file format defines a general structure for time-based multimedia files such as video and audio. The identical text is published as ISO/IEC 15444-12.

Part 3 of the MPEG-2 standard defines audio coding:


  1. "ISO/IEC 13818-3:1998 - Information technology -- Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information -- Part 3: Audio". ISO. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  2. Chiariglione, Leonardo (November 6, 1992). "MPEG Press Release, London, 6 November 1992". ISO/IEC. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-03.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. Chiariglione, Leonardo (October 2000). "Short MPEG-2 description" . Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  4. Thom, D.; Purnhagen, H.; MPEG Audio Subgroup (October 1998). "MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 BC" . Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  5. 1 2 Oomen, Werner; van de Kerkhof, Leon (April 2006). "MPEG-2 Audio Layer I/II". ISO/IEC . Retrieved 2008-04-03.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. Thom, D.; Purnhagen, H.; MPEG Audio Subgroup (October 1998). "MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9 - MPEG Audio" . Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  7. Winstein, Keith J. (November 8, 2002). "MIT Getting Millions For Digital TV Deal". The Tech . Retrieved 2008-04-01.External link in |publisher= (help)