February 7, 2014

Emmy for MPEG-2 Transport Stream Standard

The Fraunhofer HHI together with other contributing institutions and companies wins the Emmy for the Development of the MPEG-2 Transport Stream Standard.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy is a very prestigious award for excellence in television in America, and this year an Emmy Award in the Technology & Engineering category has been given to the Moving Picture Experts Group – MPEG – for the development of the MPEG-2 Transport Stream standard. As part of MPEG, Fraunhofer HHI played a leading role in the evolution of the MPEG-2 Transport Stream standard, particularly in integration of new video coding formats like MVC and HEVC.

MPEG-2 Transport Stream – an interoperable standard

MPEG-2 first came into use as a video and transport standard for digital TV in the 1990s. Even though the MPEG-2 video standard in HDTV and Internet has now been largely superseded by AVC (Rec. ITU-T H.264 / ISO/IEC 14996-10) , the MPEG-2 Transport Stream standard aka ITU-T Rec. H.222 is still an enduring success. Most of the world's digital receivers – from televisions and Blu-ray players to smartphones and tablets – now come equipped with the MPEG-2 Transport Stream format for video reception. The numerous contributions made by Fraunhofer HHI to the standardization of the format have enabled the standard to keep pace with the fast growing market for digital end devices.

As an editor of the standard's amendments, Thomas Schierl and his team from Fraunhofer HHI's Image Processing department has been working on integration of current video codecs since 2007. Extensions to which Fraunhofer HHI contributed include integration of Multiview Coding (MVC) and Scalable Video Coding (SVC) as well as integration of the latest High Efficiency Video Coding standard HEVC (Rec. ITU-T H.265 / ISO/IEC 23008-2). The new HEVC standard, to which Fraunhofer HHI made significant contributions as well, enables a reduction of the data rate by half of what the previous best video coding standard – AVC High Profile – was able to achieve with no corresponding loss of picture quality. This means that Ultra High Definition TV or 4K video transmission is now feasible with HEVC at roughly double the bitrate that is currently spent for HDTV by using AVC High Profile.

"We have always paid close attention to the whole chain from coding and transport to the end device", says Thomas Schierl, Head of the Multimedia Communications Group, Fraunhofer HHI. "This Emmy is a very special honor for the people working on MPEG-2 Transport Stream. We're very delighted to receive this internationally famous television award because it also shows just how important standardization formats are for the film and television industry."

The Technology & Engineering Emmy

Established in 1948 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Technology Emmy Award honors outstanding developments and innovations in the field of broadcasting. The Award recognizes companies, organizations and individuals who have made technological breakthroughs or have had a significant influence in shaping the future of television technology.