What is MP2
MPEG-1 Audio Layer II or MPEG-2 Audio Layer II (MP2, sometimes incorrectly called Musicam or MUSICAM) is a lossy audio compression format defined by ISO/IEC 11172-3 alongside MPEG-1 Audio Layer I and MPEG-1 Audio Layer III (MP3). While MP3 is much more popular for PC and Internet applications, MP2 remains a dominant standard for audio broadcasting. The term MP2 and filename extension .mp2 usually refer MPEG-1 Audio Layer II data, but can also refer to ‘MPEG-2 Audio Layer II, a mostly backwards compatible extension which adds support for multichannel audio, variable bit rate encoding, and additional sampling rates, defined in ISO/IEC 13818-3. The abbreviation MP2 is also sometimes erroneously applied to MPEG-2 video or MPEG-2 AAC audio.
Applications of MP2
Part of the DAB digital radio and DVB digital television standards. Layer II is commonly used within the broadcast industry for distributing live audio over satellite, ISDN and IP Network connections as well as for storage of audio in digital playout systems. An example is NPR’s PRSS Content Depot programming distribution system. The Content Depot distributes MPEG-1 L2 audio in a Broadcast Wave File wrapper. MPEG2 with .wav headers is specified in the .wav standards. As a result Windows Media Player will directly play Content Depot files however less intelligent .wav players often do not. As the encoding and decoding process would have been a significant drain on CPU resources in the first generations of broadcast playout systems, professional broadcast playout systems typically implement the codec in hardware, such as by delegating the task of encoding and decoding to a compatible soundcard rather than the system CPU.
All DVD-Video players in PAL countries contain stereo MP2 decoders, making MP2 a possible competitor to Dolby Digital in these markets. DVD-Video players in NTSC countries are not required to decode MP2 audio, although most do. While some DVD recorders store audio in MP2 and many consumer-authored DVDs use the format, commercial DVDs with MP2 soundtracks are rare.
- MPEG-1 layer 2 is the standard audio format used in the Video CD and Super Video CD formats (VCD and SVCD also support variable bit rate and MPEG Multichannel as added by MPEG-2).
- MPEG 1 layer 2 is the standard audio format used in the MHP standard for set-top boxes.
- MPEG 1 layer 2 is the audio format used in HDV camcorders.
- MP2 files are compatible with some Portable audio players.