MPEG Multichannel is an extension to the MPEG-1 Layer II audio compression specification, as defined in the MPEG-2 Audio standard (ISO/IEC 13818-3)12 which allows it provide up to 5.1-channels (surround sound) of audio.3456 To maintain backwards compatibility with the older 2-channel (stereo) audio specification, it uses a channel matrixing scheme, where the additional channels are mixed into the two backwards compatible channels. Extra information in the data stream (ignored by older hardware) contains signals to process extra channels from the matrix.5
It was originally a mandatory part of the DVD specification for European DVDs, but was dropped in late 1997, and is rarely used as a result.
The Super Video CD (SVCD) standard supports MPEG Multichannel. Player support for this audio format is nearly non-existent however, and it is rarely used.
MPEG Multichannel audio was proposed for use in the ATSC digital TV broadcasting standard, but Dolby Digital (aka. AC-3, A/52) was chosen instead. This is a matter of significant controversy, as it has been revealed that the organizations (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zenith Electronics) behind 2 of the 4 voting board members received tens of millions of dollars of compensation from secret deals with Dolby Laboratories in exchange for their votes.7
MPEG Multichannel–compatible equipment would bear either the MPEG Multichannel or MPEG Empowered logos.
- "ISO/IEC 13818-3:1998 - Information technology -- Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information -- Part 3: Audio". ISO. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Chiariglione, Leonardo (November 6, 1992). MPEG Press Release, London, 6 November 1992. ISO/IEC. Retrieved 2008-04-03.dead link
- Chiariglione, Leonardo (2000-10). "Short MPEG-2 description". Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Thom, D.; Purnhagen, H.; MPEG Audio Subgroup (1998-10). "MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 BC". Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Oomen, Werner; van de Kerkhof, Leon (April 2006). MPEG-2 Audio Layer I/II. ISO/IEC. Retrieved 2008-04-03.
- Thom, D.; Purnhagen, H.; MPEG Audio Subgroup (1998-10). "MPEG Audio FAQ Version 9 - MPEG Audio". Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- Winstein, Keith J. (November 8, 2002). "MIT Getting Millions For Digital TV Deal". The Tech. Retrieved 2008-04-01.