Publicly and Freely Available MPEG Standards

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed access to MPEG standards, you probably discovered very quickly that they’re not easy to get. Standards created by MPEG working groups are published by ISO/IEC and the vast majority of them are only available for purchase to non-members through the official ISO/IEC web store, where many of the standards cost as much as several hundreds of Swiss francs per PDF copy.

Luckily, MPEG does make some of their standards available publicly for free. However, that index can be surprisingly difficult to find online. Since apparently my blog’s SEO score is somehow higher than MPEG’s when it comes to streaming media technologies, here is a link to help more folks find MPEG’s official list of publicly available standards:

Another helpful tip: any MPEG standards developed jointly with ITU get published through both ISO/IEC and ITU, and in many cases where the ISO/IEC version is available only for purchase – the ITU version of the same standard is available for free at Even in cases where ITU charges money for the latest (current) edition of the standard, an older superseded edition may be available for free, so always make sure to check several of the most recently published editions for a free download. For example, here is the MPEG-2 Part 2 video coding standard available as ISO/IEC 13818-2 for 198 CHF (~$220 USD) and here is the same standard available as ITU-T H.262 for free (2012 edition).

About Alex Zambelli

Alex is a Product Manager at Discovery in Bellevue, WA. Prior to his current job he was a Product Manager at Hulu and iStreamPlanet (Turner), and Technical Evangelist for media technologies at Microsoft. He has been professionally involved with development of digital video and streaming technologies since 2002.
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