MPEG-4 to become the digital video standard?

The digital video distribution market has been crying out for a single format to encode into. When companies want to distribute video on the Internet, they have to be encoded in Real, Microsoft, QuickTime and even DivX to ensure everyone can watch them. This can be a barrier as it puts up the cost substantially, especially if the video pieces are surrounded by Rich Media. There have been clear moves towards making MPEG-4 the format of preference for video compression in particular by the Internet Streaming Media Alliance. There was a significant rumour at NAB this week that MovieLink, the online film distribution vehicle for Sony Pictures, Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros. and Universal would be using MPEG-4 to distribute its content. MPEG-4 has the advantages of not being owned by a single company so should be compatible across different players and importantly, across platforms (PC, STB, handheld). On2 have submitted an objection to the US Justice Department claiming MPEGLA, which represent the rights holders of MPEG, are acting outside its current MPEG-2 remit. There is a lot of momentum behind MPEG-4, so it will be an interesting few months.