Monday, July 27, 2009

Most Wanted: MPEG-21 Industry Adoptions

Since a while I am asking myself the same question over and over again. Is anybody using MPEG-21? Recently, I have written a critical review about MPEG-21 and with this post I would like to share some adoptions I am aware of:
  • The Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) forum adopted the concept of MPEG-21 Digital Items and defined DIDL-Lite as part of their ContentDirectory:2 Service Template. However, it is a derivation from a subset of the MPEG-21 DIDL. Within UPnP it is used as container format which has been enhanced with UPnP-specific data such as media resource attributes and Dublin Core metadata.
  • The abstract Digital Item model has been adopted within Microsoft’s Interactive Media Manager (IMM) and implemented using the Web Ontology Language (OWL). It uses Dublin Core but also allows for the inclusion of domain-specific metadata (e.g., IPTC, EXIF, XMP, SMPTE, etc) or custom ontology predicates. Interestingly, IMM also adopts Part 3 of MPEG-21 – Digital Item Identification (DII) – which allows for uniquely identifying Digital Items and parts thereof. Unfortunately, Microsoft has discontinued the IMM solution.
  • Several EC-funded projects (e.g., DANAE, AXMEDIS, ENTHRONE) have adopted a wide range of MPEG-21 technologies and provided reference applications on top if it.
  • A rather uncommon adoption of MPEG-21 - since it is not in the 'core multimedia area' - is for the representation of complex digital objects in the Los Alamos National Laboratory Digital.Library. See here and here for details.
  • The Digital Media Project (DMP) adopted a wide range of MPEG-21 technologies mainly focusing on digital rights management. See the digital media manifesto for background information about DMP.
  • Of course, there are a wide range of 'MPEG internal' adoptions: MPEG-21 IPMP Components defines its own syntax enabling the declaration of protected Digital Items; some MPEG Multimedia Application Formats (MAFs) make use of Digital Items; the MPEG Extensible Middleware (MXM) defines an API to provide access to MPEG-21 technologies (among others).
... and this completes my (rather short) list. In case you think I have missed something or you are aware of any other adoption of MPEG-21 (or parts thereof), I would be glad if you could drop a note/comment --thanks in advance!


RJM said...

I am wondering whether the recent "digital album" efforts that Apple are supposed to be undertaking are MPEG-21 based:

Apple has invested pretty seriously in MPEG standards so far, and keeping the packaging format open would counter any claims to vendor lock-in.

Christian Timmerer said...

Thanks for the link. I've seen this in the local news also and I've a master thesis running trying to store a music album in an MPEG-21 file (.m21). We've also developed a VLC plugin for the actual playback.

About Apple, well, let's ask them ... ;-)

Mike said...

Hi Guys

We built a Video + Advertising platform based on MPEG21 that could create a DI on a Time Line, but also allowed people to mashup video, audio, music and Ads into a Widget (had to do this as there is not much out there that can interpret and play a DI) that can be syndicated.

This is at (sign up to the free trial)

It was a prototype of the best opportunity we could see at the time for an MPEG21 platform which was Video & Advertising, although it supports a stack of different video, ads, images, music and Javascript including maps, ecommerce widgets and various other things.

Its worth a look, we would also be interested in any other MPEG21 apps.

Apples new project "cocktail" which reportedly involves the bundling of music with video with albums in something that sounds like a Digital Item definitely sounds like MPEG21, but have been unable to find any real detail.


Christian Timmerer said...

Mike, thanks and yes of course. How could I forget, one of the first MPEG-21 companies. I'll amend my blog immediately.

Concerning Apple, yes, they're building something and I would love seeing this as an MPEG-21 Digital Item but I think we'll see it once it is ready and not before, as usual for Apple...