Image Processing Reference
There are still some unresolved issues regarding the multiple and separate licenses
required for audio, video, BIFS, and the MPEG-4 systems layer. At present there is no
incentive to address this because there are no players and no one is making content on a
commercial basis. I am convinced that this will get dealt with appropriately when the time
Of course, there are many possible benefits to be enjoyed. The MPEG-4 standard has
the potential to completely revolutionize the delivery of linear video and rich-media serv-
ices. The interactive capabilities go far beyond what is possible and what has been accom-
plished so far with digital TV, interactivity on TV, and DVD products.
Summary of Where MPEG-4 Is Useful
Expect to see the video aspects of MPEG-4 (H.264) being deployed in mobile devices.
PDAs stand to make great use of multimedia if a compact and lightweight player could be
developed with a small enough computational footprint.
All manner of devices are being implemented in the consumer marketplace, such as
phone units with built-in address books and fax facilities; videophones as opposed to
mobile video-enabled devices will not be far behind.
Grocery shopping from a fridge-mounted console doing e-commerce with your gro-
cery supplier is an almost trivial thing to implement.
Electronic program guides equivalent in depth of content to a paper-based TV list-
ings magazine are possible. These could be embedded within your DVR and linked to
remote data services.
Cross-Platform Portable Interactivity
Experimental work with the Envivio Broadcast Studio Authoring Tool (now called
4Mation) has proven that it is remarkably portable. Envivio has produced a plug-in com-
ponent (EnvivioTV) that enhances the capabilities of QuickTime, RealNetworks, and
Windows Media player sufficiently to understand the BIFS scene descriptions.
It also works on Mac OS X and Windows, delivering a “play back anywhere” expe-
rience that only needs to be authored once. This is something that multimedia and Web-
based AV service providers have been anticipating for some time.
The BBC News Interactive TV team produced a prototype interactive program using
the Envivio tools and demonstrated this at the NAB 2003 conference in Las Vegas. The
work was also presented as a paper at the Brighton Euro-iTV conference in March 2004.
Refer to the Euro-iTV conference proceedings for further details.
The BBC Newsnight demonstration runs on any of the three players identically
regardless of the kind of desktop in use. Figure 39-1 shows a screenshot as an example.
Brighton Euro-iTV conference: http://www.brighton.ac.uk/interactive/euroitv/index.htm