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MPEG-4

MPEG-4, introduced in late 1998, is the designation for a group of audio and video coding standards and related technology agreed upon by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). The primary uses for the MPEG-4 standard are web (streaming media) and CD distribution, conversational (videophone), and broadcast television.

MPEG-4 absorbs many of the features of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 and other related standards, adding new features such as (extended) VRML support for 3D rendering, object-oriented composite files (including audio, video and VRML objects), support for externally-specified Digital Rights Management and various types of interactivity.

Most of the features included in MPEG-4 are left to individual developers to decide whether to implement them. This means that there are probably no complete implementations of the entire MPEG-4 set of standards. To deal with this, the standard includes the concept of "profiles" and "levels", allowing a specific set of capabilities to be defined in a manner appropriate for a subset of applications.