MPEG-4 Books

The MPEG-4 Standard is so broad it's difficult to understand and explain. The book by Haskell, Puri, and Netravali, which many consider the definitive text, gets through the MPEG-2 standard in about 300 pages. Puri's book below takes almost 600 pages to provide an overview of MPEG-4, while Pereira's exceeds 800.

Except for some theses and fairly technical papers, the books below are the only general books published or imminent on MPEG-4 that Streamcrest is aware of.

The MPEG-4 Book. Pereira and Ebrahimi.

Now the definitive reference on MPEG-4, this book is a detailed technical anthology by experts in each area of the MPEG-4 standard.

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Video Compression Demystified. Peter Symes.

A basic technical explanation of MPEG-1, 2, and 4 by Grass Valley guy Peter Symes that is understandable without a heavy technical background. This author also has an MPEG-4 Demystified in publication.

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Multimedia Systems, Standards, and Networks. Puri and Chen.

Despite the title, this was actually the primary reference on MPEG-4 before the book by Pereira above was published. Like it, this book is a detailed technical anthology by experts in each area of the MPEG-4 standard.

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MPEG-4 Jump Start. Walsh and Bourges-Sevenier.

This has no treatment of natural audio and video - it's focus is on synthetic content - but it's the only other book on MPEG-4 at present.

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More MPEG-4 Jump Start. Walsh and Bourges-Sevenier.

Planned to be a natural media companion to their first book. Not published yet.

Other Books

If you're interested in MPEG-4, you may find these related books useful.

Digital Rights Management: Business and Technology. Rosenblatt, Trippe, and Mooney.

One of the few books on DRM, this is a business strategists' overview, with technical and historical information as well.

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Compression for Great Digital Video. Waggoner.

A new book of practical advice for compressing content using commercial tools and products in a production environment.

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A Technical Introduction to Digital Video. Charles Poynton.

This book is slightly more theoretical than the Jack book below, and provides a unified explanation of concepts such as gamma and color spaces across the fields of video, film, and printing, as well as explaining TV fundamentals. This book has become a revered classic and Poynton has introduced his new work, Digital Video and HDTV Algorithms and Interfaces, which expands on these topics.

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Video Demystified. Keith Jack.

This book started the "Demystified" genre with its explanations of analog and digital TV standards for engineers outside the TV community, opening the door for many PC-based video products. Now a classic in its third edition, it's a recommended source of information on TV signals in the uncompressed domain and how to capture or generate them.

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MPEG Video Compression Standard. Edited by Mitchell, Pennebaker, Fogg, and LeGall.

This is the most popular reference on the MPEG-1 standard. It also provides some information on MPEG-2 and a final chapter on H.261 and H.263. MPEG-4, particularly the AVC codec, is sometimes too much to learn at once. This book and the one below provide a historical context to study the evolution of MPEG coding over the years.

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Digital Video: An Introduction to MPEG-2. Haskell, Puri, Netrvali.

This book, published simultaneously in the same series as the one above, concentrates on MPEG-2, with its final chapter previewing MPEG-4. It seems more readable and gets more use. Both of these books have a dry academic tone - don't buy them to be entertained or learn practical technique.

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Digital Television. Edited by C. P. Sandbank.

When published in 1990, this book contained a concise summary of every aspect of the BBC's work in design and development of digital studio equipment. Unlike some books that explain how equipment works, this one also explains design theory and trade-offs - most of which can't be found elsewhere in the literature. Except for standards conversion, this book doesn't discuss NTSC very much, and it speaks of technology in 1990, frugally analyzing each multiplier and register.

This book will be an investment - it cost 120 GBP in 1990 - but it's worth it if you want to know how to build broadcast TV products.

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