A Comparison of MPEG-4, Windows Media and QuickTime Streaming Architectures in the Delivery of Multimedia to Health Science Students

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The release of MPEG-4 has introduced new options, and questions, into the already complex arena of multimedia streaming. MPEG-4 is an open standard defining method for encoding, storing, transporting, and decoding multimedia objects on a variety of playback devices. MPEG-4 uses an 'object-based' paradigm that, in it's full glory, 'extracts' different elements from visual scenes and transmits them within 'elemental streams' that have independent interactivity and scalability. The standard also provides seamless interoperability over a wide variety of bandwidths and platforms. In principle, these capabilities seem to define MPEG-4 as a revolutionary multimedia format destined to replace established streaming architectures such as QuickTime and Windows Media. However, in the present abstract we question whether this will actually be the case. Our demonstration will (1) present an introduction to the basic technology underlying the MPEG-4 landscape, (2) review what authoring tools are currently available to allow use of this open standard, and (3) compare the quality and functionality of MPEG-4 compliant streams to that of streams created using other proprietary applications within QuickTime and Windows Media.


Presented at the 2003 Slice of Life Workshop, Philadelphia, PA.