A: All inquiries should be addressed to the MBC e-mail alias:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your name, title, company name, address,
e-mail address and your phone number. Write any questions in English.
Q: How can I join MBC?
A: Send your request with the above information to the same e-mail
address as above. You should also provide some indication of the resources
you have available, and you should be prepared to accept the MBCís mission,
goals, scope, and general bylaws (when constituted), as well as be able to
pay the fees.
Q: Can I just "audit" MBC's activities?
A: At the moment there are no secondary or tertiary classes of MBC
membership. Membership fees are $2,500 for GPC membership, and another
$2,500 (initial fee) specifically earmarked for MBC activities. Fees might
be raised or reduced as MBC officers and members deem fit. Anyone is welcome
to sit in on MBC meetings, but without a membership you cannot vote, cannot
dominate the meeting discussion, and will probably not be fed by the host
Q: How often are meetings held and where?
A: Meetings are held about once a month and are sponsored by a
member company in its hometown. Past meeting sponsors have been
Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Motorola. Send e-mail to
email@example.com to request a list of upcoming meetings and
Q: Is this a North America-only club?
A: Absolutely not. MBC is an international organization and includes
participants and technologies from Europe and Asia.
Q: How are you going to benchmark MPEG-2?
A: A number of technical sessions have been held in which member
companies have presented ideas on not only how to benchmark MPEG-2, but also
on how to deal with quality and reporting considerations. MBC does not
believe that there will be impossible obstacles to overcome to develop
appropriate benchmark(s) for MPEG-2, but significant technical work remains
to be done.
Q: Will this be an application-, functional-, or system-level
benchmark? What will be measured?
A: By group consensus, the MPEG-2 benchmark will be a system-level
benchmark that will test, at the very least, processor, memory system, and
graphics capabilities. The benchmark will not, however, specify
how MPEG-2 will be delivered, or the platform on which it will be
delivered. Companies can determine the best way to deliver full-motion
video and audio (AC-3/MPEG-2/MPEG-1 Level 2, depending upon licensing
issues), and they get to define the term "best" (i.e. cheapest, highest
quality, or whatever). The benchmark will specify quality
levels and provide guidelines for MPEG-2 ISO compliance.
Q: Will I be able to use your benchmark to compare different computer
systems running MPEG-2 to determine which ones provide better
A: That is the intention, but "better" might mean "
good enough for the money," "better-quality picture without
dropping frames," "how many frames can this machine pump through
without dropping a frame," or any number of other measurements that are
being decided upon by MBC members.
Q: How can you ensure that a benchmark will run on all platforms?
A: We can't. Platforms that donít even exist now might become
mainstream in just a few years; such is the nature of multimedia. What we
can say is that itís up to each member company to port the benchmark to its
platform of choice, and itís up to all member firms to make sure that the
benchmark is as portable as possible given time/schedule pressures.
Initially, it is expected that the MBC MPEG-2 benchmark will run on Windows
NT, MacOS, Windows 95, various versions of UNIX, VRTX, OS-9000, and perhaps
others. Viable ports will be determined by whether a reference MPEG-2
decoder can be executed on the platform to verify conformance, and whether
the YUV, RGB, and/or video screen (LCD or CRT) can be accessed for
Q: What technologies do you expect to address in the MPEG-2
A: Initially, we will focus on MPEG-2 (including MPEG-1) decoding with
AC-3, MPEG-2, and/or MPEG-1 Layer 2 audio. Weíll concentrate primarily on
Main Profile at Main Level (MP@ML) attributes that support up to 15 Mbps and will support Low profiles
as well. There will be a maximum of 720 horizontal pixels for MP@ML.
In the computer space, we are examining 256, 65,536 and 16-million colors,
and resolutions of 240x180, 320x240 and 640x480. In the consumer space, we
are looking at 12 bits/pixel (4:2:0) color at these resolutions: 720x576
(CCIR 601 Ė PAL), 720x480 (NTSC), 352x288 (PAL), and 352x240 (NTSC). The
next step will be improvements, updates and fixes to the MPEG-2 benchmark in
version 1.1. Version 2.0 will address video teleconferencing.
Q: What other technologies are under consideration for future
A: In addition to those listed above, MPEG-2 encoding, speech
recognition, 3D positional sound, 3D entertainment-oriented graphics, and
multimedia Java-enabled Web pages.
Q: What process is the MBC using to select technologies?
A: We are using discussion, consensus, and ultimately a vote of the
member companies. It may be possible that benchmarks developed from outside
the committee will be submitted to the MBC. In that case, the MBC would
assume more of an evaluation role.
Q: You include "multimedia Java-enabled Web pages" in your
list of technologies you expect to address. Will this overlap with
A: No. SPECjava will benchmark Java performance, which means
essentially benchmarking the computing platform, as well as the Java virtual
machine, the browser, and perhaps the just-in-time compiler. It might
include a component of video, perhaps even MPEG-2, in which case MBC is in a
position to use its video expertise to assist SPEC with technical issues.
SPECjava's MPEG-2 benchmark subcomponent is contained within a very precise
environment (Java); MBC's is designed not to be constrained. The MBC's
reporting rules and comparison metrics will not be similar to SPECís, and
our benchmark(s) should be able to test MPEG-2 on web browsers, NCs, PCs,
pocket MPEG-2 devices and other systems across OSs, microprocessors and other
computing environments. The other key difference is that MBC will work on
benchmarks in other multimedia technologies and application spaces, such as
video teleconferencing. The MBC will work cooperatively with those
developing SPECjava and we look forward to sharing technology and techniques
with other SPEC groups.