Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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MPEG-4, Visual Coding, Advanced Simple Profile

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name ISO/IEC 14496-2:2004. Information technology -- Coding of audio-visual objects -- Part 2: Visual. Advanced Simple Profile (formal name); MPEG-4, Visual Coding, Advanced Simple Profile (common name)

See also MP4_FF_2 and MPEG-4_V. Useful in Internet streaming applications and other low bandwidth applications but can scale to television broadcast quality.


Advanced Simple Profile permits the use of the following visual object types:

  • Simple: rectangular video, uses intra (I) and predicted (P) video object planes (VOPs, the MPEG-4 term for frames).
  • Advanced Simple: rectangular video, enhanced compression, adds bidirectional (B) video object planes (VOPs).

Six compression levels are permitted (0 to 5); Levels 0 to 3 have bit rates from 128 to 768 kbps; support for interlaced coding is added for Levels 4 and 5 with bit rates from 3 to 8 Mbps.

Production phase Generally a final-state (end-user delivery) format.
Relationship to other formats
    Subtype of MPEG-4_V, MPEG-4, Visual Coding (Part 2)
    Used by MP4_FF_2_V, MPEG-4 File Format, V.2, with Visual Coding (All Profiles)

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings  
LC preference  

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure Open standard. See MP4_FF_2.
    Documentation See MP4_FF_2.
Adoption Actual adoption not known to the compilers of this document.
    Licensing and patents See MP4_FF_2.
Transparency See MP4_FF_2.
Self-documentation See MP4_FF_2.
External dependencies See MP4_FF_2.
Technical protection considerations See MP4_FF_2.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Moving Image
Normal rendering Good support.
Clarity (high image resolution) See MP4_FF_2 and MPEG-4_V. Other profiles will produce greater clarity than the Simple Scalable Profile at a given picture size, data rate, and encoding algorithm.
Functionality beyond normal rendering See MP4_FF_2.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension mp4
Internet Media Type See related format.  See MP4_FF_2
Magic numbers See related format.  See MP4_FF_2
File type brand (ISO Base Media File Format) See note.  Indicated in file wrapper and relates to "brands" defined in ISO_BMFF. Wrapping MPEG-4_V bitstreams in MP4_FF_1 would occasion the use of mp41; in MP4_FF_2, use mp42. See Part 15 of the standard, pp. 2-9, 13.
Indicator for profile, level, version, etc. See note.  Indicators for Advanced Simple Profile, levels 0 through 5 are 11110000, 11110001, 11110010, 11110011, 11110100, 11110101, respectively. From Annex G of ISO/IEC 14496-2:2004, Table G.1.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General Fernando Pereira and Touradj Ebrahimi report on page 598 of The MPEG-4 Book that the Advanced Simple Profile "represents a compromise between the desire to support interlace at higher bit rates and the desire to keep the number of profiles manageable. . . . It is likely that another level, termed 3b, will be added . . . [which] will allow higher bit rates without having to support interlaced coding."

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Books, articles, etc.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 21-Feb-2017 07:56:36 EST