MPEG-21 -- Multimedia Framework

Today, many elements exist to build an infrastructure for the delivery and consumption of multimedia content. There is, however, no 'big picture' to describe how the specification of these elements , either in existence or under development, relate to each other. The aim of starting MPEG-21 has been: 1) to understand if and how these various components fit together and 2) to discuss which new standards may be required, if gaps in the infrastructure exist and, once the above two points have been reached, 3) to actually accomplish the integration of different standards.

A multimedia framework is required to support this new type of commerce. Such a framework requires that a shared vision, or roadmap, is understood by its architects, to ensure that the systems that deliver e-content are interoperable and that transactions are simplified and, if possible, automated. This should apply to the infrastructure requirements for content delivery, content security, rights management, secure payment, and the technologies enabling them – and the list is probably not exhaustive. The scope of MPEG-21 could therefore be described as the integration of two critical technologies: how consumers can search for and obtain content – either personally, or through the use of intelligent agents – and how content can be presented for consumption according to usage rights associated with the content.

As an initial method of working, MPEG has decided to start the analysis of such a multimedia framework through the eyes of the consumer. This approach demands a high level description of consumer needs and expectations which, by doing a ‘top-down’ analysis, will produce a set of requirements for interoperable multimedia content (delivery) services.

Leonardo Chiariglione, Keith Hill, Rob Koenen

January 2000

for more information visit the MPEG site:

reproduced with Leonardo's permission.

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