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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. Uses of MPEG-4 include compression of AV data for web (streaming media) and CD distribution, voice (telephone, videophone) and broadcast television applications.
MPEG-4 absorbs many of the features of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and other related standards, adding new features such as (extended) VRML support for 3D rendering, object-oriented composite files (including audio, video and VRML objects), support for externally-specified Digital Rights Management and various types of interactivity. AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) was standardized as an adjunct to MPEG-2 (as Part 7) before MPEG-4 was issued.
Initially, MPEG-4 was aimed primarily at low bit-rate video communications; however, its scope was later expanded to be much more of a multimedia coding standard. MPEG-4 is efficient across a variety of bit-rates ranging from a few kilobits per second (kbps) to tens of megabits per second (mbps). MPEG-4 provides the following functionalities:
- Improved coding efficiency
- Ability to encode mixed media data (video, audio, speech)
- Error resilience to enable robust transmission
- Ability to interact with the audiovisual scene generated at the receiver.
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