Why a book...
The MPEG-2 System standard has been around since 1994 and is deployed widely for digital television broadcast and optical discs (DVD and Blu-ray). Over the years (until 2013), in total, more than 4000 million Set-Top Boxes, digital TV sets, DVD players, and Blu-ray players were shipped worldwide, each supporting MPEG-2 systems. In other words, MPEG-2 systems is deployed already for twenty years and most probably will continue to be applied for many more years to come.
However, despite its massive deployment on the marketplace, a comprehensive book on MPEG-2 Systems did not exist yet. Perhaps the MPEG systems experts who specified this standard were more interested in solving problems than in documenting their solutions in a book. Obviously, the standard should clear enough..., and indeed, the MPEG-2 Systems standard is very accurate and of high quality. But the MPEG-2 systems specification is not a clarifying document that explains in-depth how MPEG-2 Systems works and why it works the way it does. It does not provide all information one needs to know to build a system that works well and performs as robustly as expected.
This book was written to fill this gap; it describes the expertise needed to further extend the MPEG-2 system specification in the future, for example, to support next-generation video and audio codecs. It is thereby an essential source of information for engineers working in this field.