MPEG-2 is an audio and video coding format adopted by the MPEG group. It has been determined as 13818 international standard by ISO/IEC.

MPEG-2 is often used for audio and video compression for live broadcasts, including satellite broadcasts and cable television. In addition, MPEG-2 is used, with some modifications, to encode DVD movies. It is a codec that has been used around the world for over a decade. It has gained a reputation as a stable codec.

Until the last few years, it was preferred by all broadcast professionals. Although the file size is small compared to MJPEG, it is still very difficult to transmit over the network according to the new codecs. Its history goes back to the mid-1990s.

MPEG-2 is widely used as a format for broadcast digital television signals by terrestrial (wireless), cable and direct broadcast satellite TV systems. It also specifies the format of movies and other programs distributed on DVD and similar discs .

TV stations, TV receivers, DVD players, and other equipment are often designed for this standard. MPEG-2 is developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) and many international standards (ISO/IEC 13818). Parts 1 and 2 of MPEG-2 were developed in collaboration with ITU-T and have their respective catalog numbers in the ITU-T Proposal Series.

While MPEG-2 forms the core of most digital television and DVD formats, it does not fully specify them. Regional institutions can adapt it to their needs by restricting and enhancing aspects of the standard.

MPEG-2 includes a Part 1 system partition, which defines two different but related container formats. First, transport stream is a data packet format designed to transmit a data packet in four ATM data packets for digital video and audio streaming over fixed or mobile transmission media; here, the beginning and end of the stream may not be defined, eg. radio frequency, cable and line recording media, examples of which include ATSC / DVB / ISDB / SBTVD broadcasts and HDV on tape recording.

Other program stream is an extended version of the MPEG-1 container format without the extra overhead of the previously mentioned transport stream designed for random access storage media such as hard disk drives, optical discs and flash memory.

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