MPEG (pronounced M-peg) stands for Moving Picture Experts Group, which is a working group of ISO/IEC. It is not an acronym for any standard as is generally believed, but an acronym for the group that develops these standards. MPEG develops international standards for video and audio encoding, compression and decompression, processing, or their combination.
MPEG also refers to the family of standards developed by the group. The family of standards produced by MPEG so far is:
The MPEG format is the most popular means for streaming high quality video on the internet, mainly because it is a cross platform and non-commercial standard, and is supported by all popular web browsers. Another advantage of MPEG over other video formats is that since MPEG uses very sophisticated compression techniques, the quality of the video remains the same despite the files being much smaller.
- MPEG-1: the standard largely used for storage and retrieval of moving pictures. The reason for its popularity is its small size, it’s easy on system resources, and can be decoded on any Pentium computer. (November 1992)
- MPEG-2: newer and more flexible version of MPEG. This file format is used in DVD and digital satellite television. It has a better quality of coding than the previous version, has multi-channel sound and higher image resolution. (November 1994)
- MPEG-4: designed to deliver DVD quality video in smaller file sizes and at lower data rates. (Version 1 on October 1998, and Version 2 in December 1999)
MPEG-7: describes multimedia content – searches, filters, manages, and processes. (July 2001)
- MPEG-21: multimedia framework.
The only drawback of the MPEG format is that it requires a lot of processor power to view the video. This becomes a problem to those who do not possess the latest computers.
MPEG video files have the .mpg or .dat extension.