The MXF Format (Material eXchange Format)
The Material eXchange Format (MXF) is an open file format derived from the Advanced Authoring Format (AAF). MXF was developed to create a universal format to exchange media files with associated data and metadata between otherwise incompatible systems. It is designed to work across networks with servers, workstations and other digital media devices.
The MXF file is essentially a container which carries the original media file in the original file's native compression (mpeg, avi, etc), plus any relevant metadata. MXF does not include any compression of it's own and is therefore not reliant on any particular compression scheme.
The MXF format has been gathering momentum and most major manufacturers of video equipment have shown their intention to support it. Although it will take some time for the format to become "universal", the future does look good.
(Last updated: June 2005)