MPEG-2 (a.k.a. H.222/
H.262 as defined by the ITU) 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
1 Main characteristics
MPEG-2 Part 3
MPEG-2 Part 7
2 ISO/IEC 13818
4 Filename extensions
5.3 MOD and TOD
7 Patents (U.S. only)
8 See also
10 External links
MPEG-2 is widely used as the format of digital television signals that
are broadcast by terrestrial (over-the-air), cable, and direct
broadcast satellite TV systems. It also specifies the format of movies
and other programs that are distributed on
DVD and similar discs. TV
stations, TV receivers,
DVD players, and other equipment are often
designed to this standard.
MPEG-2 was the second of several standards
developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) and is an
international standard (ISO/IEC 13818). Parts 1 and 2 of
developed in a collaboration with ITU-T, and they have a respective
catalog number in the
ITU-T Recommendation Series.
MPEG-2 is the core of most digital television and
it does not completely specify them. Regional institutions can adapt
it to their needs by restricting and augmenting aspects of the
standard. See Video profiles and levels.
MPEG program stream and
MPEG transport stream
MPEG-2 includes a Systems section, part 1, that defines two distinct,
but related, container formats. One is the transport stream, a data
packet format designed to transmit one data packet in four ATM data
packets for streaming digital video and audio over fixed or mobile
transmission mediums, where the beginning and the end of the stream
may not be identified, such as radio frequency, cable and linear
recording mediums, examples of which include ATSC/DVB/ISDB/SBTVD
HDV recording on tape. The other is the program
stream, an extended version of the
MPEG-1 container format with less
overhead than transport stream. Program stream is designed for random
access storage mediums such as hard disk drives, optical discs and
Transport stream file formats include M2TS, which is used on Blu-ray
AVCHD on re-writable DVDs and
HDV on compact flash cards.
Program stream files include
VOB on DVDs and Enhanced
VOB on the short
lived HD DVD. The standard
MPEG-2 transport stream contains packets of
M2TS prepends each packet with 4 bytes containing a 2-bit
copy permission indicator and 30-bit timestamp.
MPEG-2 Systems is formally known as ISO/IEC 13818-1 and as
H.222.0. ISO authorized the "
SMPTE Registration Authority, LLC"
as the registration authority for
MPEG-2 format identifiers. The
registration descriptor of
MPEG-2 transport is provided by ISO/IEC
13818-1 in order to enable users of the standard to unambiguously
carry data when its format is not necessarily a recognized
international standard. This provision will permit the MPEG-2
transport standard to carry all types of data while providing for a
method of unambiguous identification of the characteristics of the
underlying private data.
Main article: H.262/
MPEG-2 Part 2
The Video section, part 2 of MPEG-2, is similar to the previous MPEG-1
standard, but also provides support for interlaced video, the format
used by analog broadcast TV systems.
MPEG-2 video is not optimized for
low bit-rates, especially less than 1 Mbit/s at standard
definition resolutions. All standards-compliant
MPEG-2 Video decoders
are fully capable of playing back
MPEG-1 Video streams conforming to
the Constrained Parameters Bitstream syntax. MPEG-2/Video is formally
known as ISO/IEC 13818-2 and as
ITU-T Rec. H.262.
With some enhancements,
MPEG-2 Video and Systems are also used in some
HDTV transmission systems, and is the standard format for over-the-air
ATSC digital television.
MPEG-2 introduces new audio encoding methods compared to MPEG-1:
MPEG-2 Part 3
MPEG-2 Part 3
MPEG-2 Audio section, defined in Part 3 (ISO/IEC 13818-3) of the
standard, enhances MPEG-1's audio by allowing the coding of audio
programs with more than two channels, up to 5.1 multichannel. This
method is backwards-compatible (also known as
MPEG-1 audio decoders to decode the two main stereo
components of the presentation.
MPEG-2 part 3 also defined
additional bit rates and sample rates for
MPEG-1 Audio Layer I, II and
MPEG-2 BC (backward compatible with
MPEG-1 audio formats)
low bitrate encoding with halved sampling rate (
MPEG-1 Layer 1/2/3 LSF
MPEG-2 LSF - "Low Sampling Frequencies")
multichannel encoding with up to 5.1 channels, a.k.a. MPEG
MPEG-2 Part 7
Main article: Advanced Audio Coding
Part 7 (ISO/IEC 13818-7) of the
MPEG-2 standard specifies a rather
different, non-backwards-compatible audio format (also known as
MPEG-2 NBC). Part 7 is referred to as
MPEG-2 AAC. AAC is
more efficient than the previous
MPEG audio standards, and is in some
ways less complicated than its predecessor,
MPEG-1 Audio, Layer 3, in
that it does not have the hybrid filter bank. It supports from 1 to 48
channels at sampling rates of 8 to 96 kHz, with multichannel,
multilingual, and multiprogram capabilities. Advanced Audio is also
defined in Part 3 of the
MPEG-2 NBC (Non-Backward Compatible)
multichannel encoding with up to 48 channels
MPEG-2 standards are published as parts of ISO/IEC 13818. Each part
covers a certain aspect of the whole specification.
Systems – describes synchronization and multiplexing of video and
audio. (It is also known as
ITU-T Rec. H.222.0.) See
MPEG program stream.
Video – video coding format for interlaced and non-interlaced video
signals (Also known as
ITU-T Rec. H.262).
Audio – audio coding format for perceptual coding of audio signals.
A multichannel-enabled extension and extension of bit rates and sample
MPEG-1 Audio Layer I, II and III of
Describes procedures for testing compliance.
Describes systems for Software simulation.
Describes extensions for
DSM-CC (Digital Storage Media Command and
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC).
10-bit video extension. Primary application was studio video, allowing
artifact-free processing without giving up compression. Part 8 has
been withdrawn due to lack of interest by industry.
Extension for real time interfaces.
Conformance extensions for DSM-CC.
Intellectual property management (IPMP)
First public release date (First edition)
Latest public release date (edition)
Latest amend- ment
MPEG-2 BC - backwards compatible with
ISO/IEC TR 13818-5
Extensions for DSM-CC
extensions for Digital Storage Media Command and Control
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
MPEG-2 NBC Audio - Non-Backwards Compatible with
The work began in 1995, but was terminated in 2007 because of low
Extension for real time interface for systems decoders
Conformance extensions for Digital Storage Media Command and Control
Intellectual Property Management and Protection on the MPEG-2
system (XML IPMP messages are also defined in ISO/IEC
MPEG-2 evolved out of the shortcomings of MPEG-1.
MPEG-1's known weaknesses:
An audio compression system limited to two channels (stereo).
No standardized support for interlaced video with poor compression
when used for interlaced video
Only one standardized "profile" (Constrained Parameters Bitstream),
which was unsuited for higher resolution video.
MPEG-1 could support
4k video but there was no easy way to encode video for higher
resolutions, and identify hardware capable of supporting it, as the
limitations of such hardware were not defined.
Support for only one chroma subsampling, 4:2:0.
Sakae Okubo of NTT was also the
ITU-T coordinator for developing the
H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2
H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2 video coding standard and the requirements
MPEG for the
MPEG-2 set of standards.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June
.mpg, .mpeg, .m2v, .mp2, mp3 are some of a number of filename
extensions used for
MPEG-2 audio and video file formats.
Main article: DVD-Video
DVD-Video standard uses
MPEG-2 video, but imposes some
720 × 480, 704 × 480, 352 × 480, 352 × 240 pixel (NTSC)
720 × 576, 704 × 576, 352 × 576, 352 × 288 pixel (PAL)
Allowed Aspect ratios (Display AR)
4:3 (for letterboxed widescreen and non-widescreen frames)
16:9 (for anamorphic widescreen[dvdaspect 1])
^ 1.85:1 and 2.35:1, among others, are often listed as valid DVD
aspect ratios, but are wider film aspects with letterbox style padding
to create a 16:9 image
Allowed frame rates
29.97 interlaced frame/s (NTSC)
23.978 progressive frame/s (for NTSC 2:3 pull-down to 29.97[dvdrates
25 interlaced frame/s (PAL)
^ By using a pattern of REPEAT_FIRST_FIELD flags on the headers of
encoded pictures, pictures can be displayed for either two or three
fields and almost any picture display rate (minimum ⅔ of the frame
rate) can be achieved. This is most often used to display 23.976
(approximately film rate) video on NTSC. See telecine for more
information on how this works.
Audio + video bitrate
Video peak 9.8 Mbit/s
Total peak 10.08 Mbit/s
Minimum 300 kbit/s
Additional subtitles possible
Closed captioning (NTSC only)
Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM): 48 kHz or 96 kHz; 16-
or 24-bit; up to six channels (not all combinations possible due to
MPEG Layer 2 (MP2): 48 kHz, up to 5.1 channels (required in PAL
Dolby Digital (DD, also known as AC-3): 48 kHz,
32–448 kbit/s, up to 5.1 channels
Digital Theater Systems
Digital Theater Systems (DTS): 754 kbit/s or 1510 kbit/s
(not required for
DVD player compliance)
NTSC DVDs must contain at least one
Dolby Digital audio track.
PAL DVDs must contain at least one
MPEG Layer 2, LPCM, or Dolby
Digital audio track.
Players are not required to play back audio with more than two
channels, but must be able to downmix multichannel audio to two
GOP structure (Group Of Pictures)
Sequence header must be present at the beginning of every GOP
Maximum frames per GOP: 18 (NTSC) / 15 (PAL), i.e. 0.6 seconds both
Closed GOP required for multi-angle DVDs
Main article: HDV
HDV is a format for recording and playback of high-definition MPEG-2
video on a DV cassette tape.
MOD and TOD
MOD and TOD (video format)
MOD and TOD are recording formats for use in consumer digital
Main article: XDCAM
XDCAM is a professional file-based video recording format.
Application-specific restrictions on
MPEG-2 video in the DVB standard:
Allowed resolutions for SDTV:
720, 640, 544, 528, 480 or 352 × 480 pixel, 24/1.001, 24, 30/1.001 or
352 × 240 pixel, 24/1.001, 24, 30/1.001 or 30 frame/s
720, 704, 544, 528, 480 or 352 × 576 pixel, 25 frame/s
352 × 288 pixel, 25 frame/s
720 x 576 x 50 frame/s progressive (576p50)
1280 x 720 x 25 or 50 frame/s progressive (720p50)
1440 or 1920 x 1080 x 25 frame/s progressive (1080p25 = film mode)
1440 or 1920 x 1080 x 25 frame/s interlace (1080i50)
ATSC A/53 standard used in the United States, uses
MPEG-2 video at
the Main Profile @ High Level (MP@HL), with additional restrictions
such as the maximum bitrate of 19.4 Mbit/s for broadcast television
and 38.8 Mbit/s for cable television, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling format,
and mandatory colorimetry information.
ATSC allows the following video resolutions, aspect ratios, and
1920 × 1080 pixel (16:9, square pixels), at 30p, 29.97p, 24p,
23.976p, 60i, 59.94i.
1280 × 720 pixel (16:9, square pixels), at 60p, 59.94p, 30p, 29.97p,
24p, or 23.976p
704 × 480 pixel (4:3 or 16:9, non-square pixels), at 60p, 59.94p,
30p, 29.97p, 24p, 23.976p, 60i, or 59.94i
640 × 480 pixel (4:3, square pixels), at 60p, 59.94p, 30p, 29.97p,
24p, 23.976p, 60i, or 59.94i
ATSC standard A/63 defines additional resolutions and aspect rates for
50 Hz (PAL) signal.
ATSC specification and
MPEG-2 allow the use of progressive frames,
even within an interlaced video sequence. For example, a station that
transmits 1080i60 video sequence can use a coding method where those
60 fields are coded with 24 progressive frames and metadata instructs
the decoder to interlace them and perform 3:2 pulldown before display.
This allows broadcasters to switch between 60 Hz interlaced
(news, soap operas) and 24 Hz progressive (prime-time) content
without ending the
MPEG-2 sequence and introducing a several seconds
of delay as the TV switches formats. This is the reason why 1080p30
and 1080p24 sequences allowed by the
ATSC specification are not used
The 1080-line formats are encoded with 1920 × 1088 pixel luma
matrices and 960 × 540 chroma matrices, but the last 8 lines are
discarded by the
MPEG-2 decoding and display process.
ATSC A/72 is the newest revision of
ATSC standards for digital
television, which allows the use of
H.264/AVC video coding format and
MPEG-2 audio was a contender for the
ATSC standard during the DTV
"Grand Alliance" shootout, but lost out to Dolby AC-3.
Technical features of
ATSC are also valid for ISDB-T, except
that in the main TS has aggregated a second program for mobile devices
MPEG-4 H.264 AVC for video and AAC-LC for audio, mainly
known as 1seg.
Main article: Blu-ray
Blu-ray discs encode the first 10 second long "FBI
anti-piracy warning" in
MPEG-2 regardless of the rest of the disc's
encoding. The feature film can also be in MPEG-2,
which was common on early
Blu-ray releases, but recent releases most
often use H.264 or VC-1.
Parts of this article (those related to this section) need to be
updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly
Last update: 2012 (June 2016)
MPEG-2 patents is officially expired and can be used freely.
MPEG LA, a private patent licensing organization, has acquired rights
from over 20 corporations and one university to license a patent pool
of approximately 640 worldwide patents, which it claims are the
"essential" to use of
MPEG-2 technology, although many of the patents
have since expired. Where software patentability is upheld,
the use of
MPEG-2 requires the payment of licensing fees to the patent
holders. Other patents are licensed by Audio MPEG, Inc. The
development of the standard itself took less time than the patent
Patent pooling between essential and peripheral
patent holders in the
MPEG-2 pool is the subject of a study by the
University of Wisconsin. Over half of the patents expired in
According to the
MPEG-2 licensing agreement any use of MPEG-2
technology is subject to royalties.
MPEG-2 encoders are subject to
a royalty of $2.00 per unit, decoders are subject to a royalty of
$2.00 per unit, and royalty-based sales of encoders and decoders are
subject to different rules and $2.50 per unit. Also, any packaged
medium (DVDs/Data Streams) is subject to licence fees according to
length of recording/broadcast. A criticism of the
pool is that even though the number of patents will decrease from
1,048 to 416 by June 2013 the license fee has not decreased with the
expiration rate of
MPEG-2 patents. Since January 1,
MPEG-2 patent pool has remained at $2 for a decoding license
and $2 for an encoding license. By 2015 more than 90% of
MPEG-2 patents will have expired but as long as there are one or
more active patents in the
MPEG-2 patent pool in either the country of
manufacture or the country of sale the
MPEG-2 license agreement
requires that licensees pay a license fee that does not change based
on the number of patents that have expired.
Patents (U.S. only)
Main article: List of United States
The last United States patent expired on 13 February 2018.
MPEG-1 Audio Layer II (MP2)
MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3)
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29
^ ISO/IEC 13818
MPEG-2 at the ISO Store.
^ a b ITU-T. "H.222.0 : Information technology - Generic coding
of moving pictures and associated audio information: Systems".
ITU-T (May 2006). "H.222.0 Summary". Archived from the original on
2011-05-19. Retrieved 2010-06-03.
SMPTE Registration Authority, LLC - registration authority for
MPEG-2 format identifiers Archived 2010-01-28 at the Wayback Machine.
Retrieved on 2009-07-06
^ "H.262 : Information technology - Generic coding of moving
pictures and associated audio information: Video".
International Telecommunication Union - Telecommunication
Standardization Sector (ITU-T). February 2000. Retrieved
^ a b D. Thom, H. Purnhagen, and the
MPEG Audio Subgroup (October
MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9 -
MPEG Audio". Retrieved
2009-10-31. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^ a b c d ISO (October 1998). "
MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9 -
MPEG-2 BC". ISO. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
^ a b c d MPEG.ORG. "AAC". Retrieved 2009-10-28.
^ a b ISO (2006-01-15), ISO/IEC 13818-7, Fourth edition, Part 7 -
Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) (PDF), retrieved 2009-10-28
^ ISO (2004-10-15), ISO/IEC 13818-7, Third edition, Part 7 - Advanced
Audio Coding (AAC) (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on
2011-07-13, retrieved 2009-10-19
^ a b Werner Oomen; Leon van de Kerkhof. "
MPEG-2 Audio Layer I/II".
chiariglione.org. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
^ Predrag Supurovic,
MPEG Audio Frame Header Archived 2015-02-08 at
the Wayback Machine., Retrieved on 2009-07-11
^ ISO (March 1996). "Florence Press Release". ISO. Archived from the
original on 2010-04-08. Retrieved 2009-10-28.
^ MPEG. "
MPEG standards". chiariglione.org. Retrieved
^ ISO. "
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 - Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and
hypermedia information". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 13818-1:2015/Amd 6:2016, Carriage of Quality Metadata
MPEG-2 Systems". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 13818-4:2004/Amd 3:2009, Level for 1080@50p/60p
conformance testing". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 13818-6:1998/Amd 3:2001, Transport buffer model in
support of synchronized user-to-network download protocol". Retrieved
MPEG (1997-02-21). "
DSM-CC FAQ Version 1.0". MPEG. Retrieved
^ IEEE (1996). "An Introduction to Digital Storage Media - Command and
Control (DSM-CC)". MPEG. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 13818-7:2006/Amd 1:2007, Transport of
MPEG Surround in
AAC". Retrieved 2017-08-30.
^ chiariglione.org (2010-02-04). "Riding the Media Bits, The
MPEG-2 - Part A". Archived from the original on
2011-11-01. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
^ Van der Meer, Jan (2014). Fundamentals and Evolution of MPEG-2
Systems: Paving the
MPEG Intellectual Property Management and Protection". MPEG. April
2009. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
^ IPMP in
MPEG – W3C DRM workshop 22/23 January 2001 (PPT),
^ ISO. "ISO/IEC 23001-3:2008, Information technology --
technologies -- Part 3: XML IPMP messages". Retrieved
^ "Sakae Okubo". ITU. Retrieved 2017-01-27.
^ Mpeg La Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine.
^ audioMPEG.com - - - US Patents
^ "Sisvel - We protect ideas - Home". Archived from the original on
^ "Audio/Video - GNU Project - Free-Software Foundation".
^  Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Quint, Dan; Amit Gandhi. "Economics of
Patent Pools When Some (but
not all) Patents are Essential". Working Paper. Retrieved
^ "Half of
MPEG-2 Patents Expire in 2012".
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MPEG-2 License Agreement".
MPEG LA. 2013-05-13. Retrieved
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^ a b Steve
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^ Richard Chirgwin (15 February 2018). "Waddawewant? Free video
codecs! When dowe .. oh, look, the last
MPEG-2 patent expired!". The
A Beginners Guide for
MPEG-2 Overview (figures are lost)
MPEG-2 video compression
MIT 6.344 – Slides from lectures on video compression at MIT.
A Discrete Cosine Transform tutorial
MPEG and Quality of Experience Testing
OpenIPMP: Open Source DRM Project for MPEG-2
ISO/IEC 13818 –
MPEG-2 at the ISO Store.
MPEG Books - A list of
MPEG reference books.
MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)
Part 1: Systems
Part 2: Video
based on H.261
Part 3: Audio
Part 1: Systems (H.222.0)
Part 2: Video (H.262)
Part 3: Audio
Part 6: DSM CC
Part 7: Advanced Audio Coding
Part 2: Video
based on H.263
Part 3: Audio
Part 6: DMIF
Part 10: Advanced Video Coding (H.264)
Part 11: Scene description
Part 12: ISO base media file format
Part 14: MP4 file format
Part 17: Streaming text format
Part 20: LASeR
Part 22: Open Font Format
Part 2: Description definition language
Parts 2, 3 and 9: Digital Item
Part 5: Rights Expression Language
Part 3: Unified Speech and Audio Coding
MPEG media transport
Part 2: High Efficiency Video Coding
MPEG-H 3D Audio
Part 12: High Efficiency Image
Multimedia compression and container formats
Motion JPEG 2000
Alliance for Open Media
Microsoft Video 1
Sorenson Video, Spark
MPEG-1 Layer III (MP3)
MPEG-1 Layer II
MPEG-1 Layer I
MPEG-H 3D Audio
G.711 (A-law, µ-law)
ITU-T, W3C, IETF
CCITT Group 4
ISO base media file format
MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4)
Motion JPEG 2000
MPEG-21 Part 9
MPEG media transport
3GP and 3G2
DivX Media Format
MOD and TOD
VOB, IFO and BUP
See Compression methods for methods and Compression software for
819 line system
Filming and storage
HD media and
Super Audio CD
Ultra HD Blu-ray
List of digital television deployments by country
International Electrotechnical Commission
International Electrotechnical Commission standards