Five Japanese Companies' Proposal Wins Industry Acceptance for MPEG-4 Transfer Protocol Standardization

Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from Toshiba Corporation

    TOKYO, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Five Japanese companies today announced
 that their jointly proposed format for transferring MPEG-4 streams over the
 Internet has now been accepted by three key organizations that promote
 development of Internet protocols.  Toshiba Corporation, NEC Corporation, Oki
 Electric Industry Co., Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and
 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation confirmed that the 3G Partnership
 Project (3G-PP) has joined the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the
 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in supporting the standard, a
 move expected to bring uniformity to MPEG-4 content on the Internet and
 delivered over mobile networks.
     The new transfer format is based on the Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP)
 standardized by IETF in 1996, rather than TCP/IP, which IP networks typically
 use for their transfer protocol.  However, if TCP/IP detects any loss of data
 during transmission, it automatically retransmits it.  The practical result is
 delays in data transfers that are unacceptable for real-time transfers of
 audio and video signals, particularly in streaming video and audio.
     RTP is functionality suited for carrying real-time content as it provides
 support for applications with real-time properties, including timing
 reconstruction and loss detection.  RTP uses UDP/IP, which doesn't have
 resending process characteristics.  It places RTP headers in each packet that
 contains a timestamp, enabling synchronized display of audio and video signals
 at receivers, and sequence numbers to support packet loss detection.  These
 characteristics enable timely data delivery with less degradation.  RTP is
 widely used for audio and video distribution over the Internet, Internet
 tele-conferencing systems and Voice over IP (VoIP).
     RTP is designed to define payload formats for each audio-video medium
 transferred.  This is the area where the solution proposed by the five
 Japanese companies has been accepted for MPEG-4 audio and video signals.
     A characteristic of the RTP payload format for MPEG-4 video is the
 provision of MPEG-4 error resiliency tools, to reduce packet loss.  In order
 to improve transmission error resiliency, the MPEG-4 coding exploits the video
 packet approach within MPEG-4's error resilience tools, which subdivides the
 picture frames while coding.  MPEG-4 also employs a technique called Header
 Extension Code (HEC), a 1-bit field introduced in each video packet.  If this
 bit is set, the important header information that describes the video frame is
 repeated in the video packet.  By checking this header information in the
 video packets against the information received at the beginning of the video
 frame, the decoder can ascertain if the video frame header is received
 correctly.  If the video frame is corrupted, the decoder can still decode the
 rest of the data in the video frame using the header information that is
 repeated in the video packets.
     The RTP payload format for MPEG-4 audio is an adoption of Low-overhead
 Audio Transport Multiplexing (LATM) technology, which effectively transfers
 multiple audio frames with a very low overhead.
     It also offers an advantage in the comparative simplicity of the RTP
 format, in that audio and video streams are directly mapped onto the RTP
 packet and do not require specific headers or multiplexing.
     The five companies held interoperability tests on the transfer format and
 confirmed its stability and reliability.  The format was adopted by the IETF
 as the RTP payload format for MPEG-4 audio and video signals, by the 3G
 Partnership Project (3G-PP) in its packet switched multimedia streaming
 service standard for 3G mobile phones, and by the ITU Telecommunications
 Standardization Sector (ITU-T) in its recommendation for multimedia
 conferencing over packet-based networks such as LANs and the Internet.
     The standardization will greatly contribute to promoting audio-video
 distribution on the Internet and in bringing the distribution service to
 next-generation cellular phones.  It is especially important for such
 applications as Internet telephony and cellular telephony, where a high level
 of interoperability is required.
     About Toshiba Corporation:
     Toshiba Corporation is a leader in information and communications systems,
 electronic components, consumer products and power systems.  The company's
 integration of these wide-ranging capabilities assures its position as an
 innovator in advanced components, products and systems.  Its next-generation
 MPEG-4 and wireless communications technologies have assured Toshiba's
 leadership in W-CDMA development in Japan, where it is the technology
 development partner of NTT DoCoMo -- the country's leading mobile service
 provider.  In fiscal 1999, Toshiba had 191,000 employees worldwide and
 recorded sales of 5,749 billion yen (approx. US$54 billion).  Visit Toshiba's
 web site at .
     About NEC Corporation:
     NEC Corporation (Nasdaq:   NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l) (TSE: 6701) is a leading
 provider of Internet solutions, dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of
 its customers in the key computer, network and electron device fields through
 its three market-focused in-house companies: NEC Solutions, NEC Networks and
 NEC Electron Devices.  NEC Corporation, with its in-house companies, employs
 more than 150,000 people worldwide and saw net sales of 4,991 billion yen
 (approx. US$48 billion) in fiscal year 1999-2000.  For further information,
 please visit the NEC home page at: .
     About Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.:
     Founded more than a century ago in 1881, Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.
 is Japan's first telecommunications manufacturer headquartered in Tokyo,
 Japan.  With more than 21,000 employees worldwide, Oki Electric provides
 customers with top-notch products and technologies for telecommunication
 systems, information systems and electronic devices.  Visit Oki's global web
 site at .
     About Matsushita Electric:
     Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE:   MC), best known for its
 Panasonic brand name, is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture
 of electronics products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial
 needs.  Matsushita is playing a major role in the standardization bodies such
 as MPEG and 3G-PP, and holding a leading position in the marketing of wireless
 communication terminals, MPEG-4 LSI and so on.  Based in Osaka, Japan, the
 company recorded consolidated sales of US$68.9 billion for the fiscal year
 ended March 31, 2000.  For further information, please visit our web site at .
     About Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation:
     Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) implemented a major
 reorganization and was reborn in July 1999 as the new NTT Group.  NTT Group
 has put forward the slogan "Global Information Distribution Corporate Group"
 as being representative of its policy for business activities, which are aimed
 at the creation of a rich "information distribution" market where the flow of
 information will give birth to new value.  The goal of the Group is to work
 toward creating new opportunities for "Information distribution" business in a
 variety of forms, not limited to the traditional telecommunications field but
 also including such efforts as the construction of platforms to safely and
 efficiently distribute videos and other types of content.  NTT Group has
 224,000 employees and annual sales of 10,421 billion yen (approx.
 US$97 billion).  Please visit NTT home page at .

SOURCE Toshiba Corporation