The development of MHEG arose directly out of the increasing convergence of broadcast and interactive technologies. It specifies an encoding format for multimedia applications independently of service paradigms and network protocols. Like Quicktime and OMFI it is concerned with time-based media objects, whose encodings are determined by other standards.However, the scope of MHEG is larger in that it directly supports interactive media and real-time delivery over networks.
There have been a progressions of MHEG standards (much like MPEG) The current widespread standard is MHEG-5 but drafts standards exist up to MHEG-7.
Every design generally represents a compromise between conflicting goals. MHEG's design is no exception, especially if you consider that MHEG-5 (and later) targets a continuously growing and fiercely competitive market where broadcast and interactive technologies converge almost daily.
Converging technologies have often stimulated adopting standard solutions. Multimedia applications standards provide more than just the obvious objectives of portability and interoperability. A good multimedia standard can become a reference solution for system developers and application programmers. It also promotes the use of modular architectures that rely on common components that accomplish a specific functionality, such as interpreting and presenting MHEG applications to users. This task is performed by a compliant runtime engine (RTE), a resident software component that sched-ules delivery of an application to the user. It's aimed at a wide installation base within complete solutions, like a Video on Demand or an Interactive TV system. RTEs help improve a product's return on investment, abate a product's per unit costs, and provide high quality, robust products due to extensive product testing.