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Fundamentals and Evolution of MPEG-2 Systems: Paving the MPEG Road by Jan Van der Meer

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18The Future of MPEG-2 Systems

The emerging MPEG-2 system standard will remain state of the art. The MPEG-2 systems enabled market for optical disc players, STBs and digital TV receivers since 2000 with predictions until 2017. Why the transport stream format is as inherent to digital TV broadcast as NTSC and PAL are to analogue colour TV.

When the MPEG-2 system standard was completed in 1994, a promising future was expected for MPEG-2 systems, as the format of transport streams and program streams was considered sufficiently flexible to also support any emerging next generation video and audio codec. Indeed, transport and program stream formats did prove future-proof; when new formats such as AVC, SVC and MVC became available, the support of the new codecs could be incorporated in a straightforward manner.

The reality became perhaps even more promising. DVD players and discs, using the program stream format, were very successfully introduced in the market, while digital TV broadcast services across satellite, cable and terrestrial networks, based on the transport stream format, were introduced and deployed successfully. Often PAL, NTSC and SECAM analogue TV channels were replaced. Moreover, the use of digital audio and video technology became common in production environments; thereby the transport stream format became the basis of an infrastructure for content production and distribution, and even more so when transport streams were also adopted as the format for storage ...

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