MPEG-4, established as an ISO/IEC standard in early 1999, provides standards for streaming interactive multimedia. More specifically, it aims to support production, distribution and content access for digital television, interactive graphics, and interactive multimedia. It provides representations for basic “media objects,” which might be recorded or synthetic; it describes the composition of compound media objects, or “scenes”; it provides for multiplexing and synchronizing of such data for network transport; and it offers standards for interaction with the audiovisual scenes generated at the receiver. MPEG-4’s media objects include text, graphics, talking synthetic heads and associated text, synthetic sounds, still images, video and audio elements. It supports complex combination of these elements into time-varying scenes, and also provides for streaming of the underlying data, and interaction with the receiver. Recently, MPEG-4 has been partly integrated with Apple’s Quicktime file format, using QuickTime as “the starting point for the development of a unified digital media storage format for the MPEG-4 specification.” How much of MPEG-4’s ambitious program has been fully defined or implemented remains unclear.

http://mpeg.chiariglione.org/standards/mpeg-4/mpeg-4.htm

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