MPEG-4 Part 2


MPEG-4 Part 2, also known as MPEG-4 Visual, is a video encoding format and a part of the larger MPEG-4 standard developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It is designed to deliver high-quality video compression for multimedia applications, such as streaming and video storage. MPEG-4 Part 2 is notably used in video codecs, like DivX and Xvid, to efficiently encode and decode digital media.

Key Takeaways

  1. MPEG-4 Part 2 is a video compression format, also known as H.263, and is part of the MPEG-4 international standard developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
  2. It is widely used in applications such as video streaming, videoconferencing, mobile devices, and CD/DVD distribution, providing high video quality at low data rates.
  3. MPEG-4 Part 2 supports various techniques to enhance the video quality, such as advanced motion prediction, shape coding, and scalability, making it a versatile and efficient compression format.


MPEG-4 Part 2 is a significant technology term because it refers to a widely used video compression method, which is an essential component of modern multimedia applications.

Developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG), it is a vital standard in digital video encoding and distribution, enabling efficient storage and transmission of high-quality video content.

With its advanced coding techniques, MPEG-4 Part 2 provides better compression and offers excellent video quality at lower bit rates compared to its predecessors, including MPEG-2.

As a result, this technology has been instrumental in the growth of various digital services, such as video streaming, video conferencing, and mobile multimedia applications.


MPEG-4 Part 2 serves as a crucial standard in the realm of digital multimedia, established by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Primarily used for video encoding, its purpose revolves around achieving efficient and effective compression of digital video content. This enables the transmission and storage of high-quality video data, even in situations where bandwidth or storage capacity may be limited.

MPEG-4 Part 2 became an industry staple and emerged as the preferred choice for several applications ranging from broadcasting services to internet video streaming and video conferencing, making content easily accessible to end-users. Beyond just ensuring efficient video compression, MPEG-4 Part 2 offers a broad spectrum of functionalities tailored to a myriad of use cases.

It supports robust error resilience features, which ensure uninterrupted video delivery even when data transmission is less than optimum. Moreover, it allows for the seamless integration of various multimedia elements such as audio, video, and text, resulting in an enhanced user experience.

The flexibility of MPEG-4 Part 2 has made it a popular choice for videos on the web and motivated its adoption across various devices and platforms, ranging from computers and smartphones to digital television broadcasting and interactive media.

Examples of MPEG-4 Part 2

MPEG-4 Part 2 is a video coding format used for compressing and decompressing digital video content. Here are three real-world examples of its application:

Video Streaming Services: MPEG-4 Part 2 has been widely used by several video streaming services, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion. The format allows these platforms to deliver high-quality video while reducing file size, which helps save bandwidth and allows for smoother video playback on various devices.

Video Conferencing: Video conferencing and communication software, like Skype and Zoom, have employed MPEG-4 Part 2 to provide clear video-streaming capabilities with minimal impact on internet speeds. The format’s compression efficiency enables fluid communication without sacrificing substantial video quality.

Mobile Media Playback: Smartphones and other portable media devices often use MPEG-4 Part 2 to play videos due to its compatibility with various devices and its efficient compression rate. For example, the early Apple video iPod supported MPEG-4 Part 2 video format to ensure that a wide range of videos could be loaded onto the device without consuming too much storage space.

MPEG-4 Part 2 FAQ

What is MPEG-4 Part 2?

MPEG-4 Part 2 is a video compression format, also known as MPEG-4 Visual. It is a part of the larger MPEG-4 standard and is designed to provide high-quality video compression for various media types, such as digital television, streaming video, and video-on-demand services.

How does MPEG-4 Part 2 differ from other MPEG-4 formats?

While MPEG-4 Part 2 provides a specific video compression format, the overall MPEG-4 standard includes several other parts, such as Part 10 (H.264/AVC) for advanced video coding, Part 3 for audio coding, and Part 14 for file format. Each part serves a different purpose within the MPEG-4 ecosystem, with Part 2 focusing on visual compression.

What are the advantages of using MPEG-4 Part 2?

MPEG-4 Part 2 offers several advantages over other video compression formats, such as increased compression efficiency, reduced bitrate requirements for similar video quality, and support for various video and audio codecs. It is also a widely-supported format, making it compatible with many devices and players.

What are the disadvantages of using MPEG-4 Part 2?

While MPEG-4 Part 2 provides strong compression capabilities, it is somewhat less efficient than newer formats like H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) or H.265/HEVC. This means it may require slightly higher bitrates to achieve comparable video quality. Additionally, it can be more computationally demanding for encoding and decoding, which may impact performance on older or less powerful devices.

How is MPEG-4 Part 2 used in various applications?

MPEG-4 Part 2 is utilized in a range of applications, including video streaming platforms, digital television broadcasts, video-on-demand services, and videoconferencing. It can be found in various file formats, such as .mp4, .avi, and .mkv, and is compatible with many popular media players and devices.

Related Technology Terms

  • Video Compression
  • Advanced Simple Profile (ASP)
  • H.263
  • DivX
  • Xvid

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents