×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MPEG Continues With Royalty-free MPEG Video Codec Plans

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the until-my-couch-can-play-movies-unassisted dept.

Graphics 139

yuhong writes "From the press release: 'In recognition of the growing importance that the Internet plays in the generation and consumption of video content, MPEG intends to develop a new video compression standard in line with the expected usage models of the Internet. The new standard is intended to achieve substantially better compression performance than that offered by MPEG-2 and possibly comparable to that offered by the AVC Baseline Profile. MPEG will issue a call for proposals on video compression technology at the end of its upcoming meeting in March 2011 that is expected to lead to a standard falling under ISO/IEC "Type-1 licensing", i.e. intended to be "royalty free."'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

139 comments

No worries (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35185896)

I think I can save MPEG a lot of time. I've found a royalty-free container, a video codec and an audio codec we can all use:

http://www.webmproject.org/ [webmproject.org]

Re:No worries (-1, Troll)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186020)

But WebM looks no better than MPEG2. So I think I'll pass, just as I have no plans to switch from Bluray to HD-DVD. I prefer upgrades, not lateral shifts.

Re:No worries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186768)

Nobody cares about what you will do.

MPEG-2, DivX, Theora, VP8, AVC baseline (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186916)

But WebM looks no better than MPEG2.

DivX/Xvid (MPEG-4 Part 2) is stronger than MPEG-2 video, and Theora is roughly tied with that. VP8 (WebM video codec) is stronger than DivX and Theora, and as I understand it, it's close to the baseline profile of AVC.

Re:MPEG-2, DivX, Theora, VP8, AVC baseline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187508)

The guy is a troll, a moron, or most likely: both.

Re:No worries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186948)

Mod parent up. WebM is barely better than Theora and nowhere near as good as H.264/AVC.

Re:No worries (2)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187120)

Mod parent up. WebM is barely better than Theora and nowhere near as good as H.264/AVC.

Mod parent down as a troll. Webm is the only video codec Chromium, Firefox and Opera and Konqueror will support natively. It is far better than H.264 because it offers similar quality while being open and free. With Webm nobody can control your video by controlling the codec.

Re:No worries (-1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186030)

I would say that WebM is likely patent encumbered. MPEG-LA is assembling a patent pool for WebM, so it will not be royalty-free.

This is why we can't have nice things (2)

poltsy (1897872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186114)

Even if no one comes forward with a patent this seems to be turning out to be a somewhat effective fud campaign.

Re:No worries (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186168)

They're claiming this...and they claimed it with Theora. Google's got much of that alleged pool to themselves right now since VP8 was patented itself, even though Google's granted an effective license to those implementing WebM or a FOSS project.

Any of those patents showing up will need to...

1) Pass muster against the ones already held by Google (i.e. not invalidated by their prior art)
2) Survive prior art scrutiny (i.e. They've taken on someone with deep pockets capable of making a go at that sort of thing)
3) Be actually relevant to VP8.

This is saber rattling from the MPEG-LA managers and the primary players in the pool (Apple, for example...).

Until you see it all play out, it IS royalty free and will always be so- just like any other tech. You've no assurances that MPEG-LA's license pool fully covers h.264- it could just as easily be that Google's got a critical patent NOT in the pool and you're all in violation with h.264. You just don't know with the current sad state of affairs with Patents, especially software ones.

Re:No worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186418)

Really?

It appears to me as if MPEG-LA called and failed to assemble a patent portfolio for WebM, so in a effort to protect their monopoly upon video codecs has decided to create a new codec to compete in every way with WebM (including royalties).

It should be interesting to see if this blatant attempt at monopoly pays off for them, or if people stick to WebM.

as a side note, how long is in before mpeg4 patents terminate and leaves MPEG-LA without any real codecs to license?

Re:No worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186490)

Wow, things work fast on internet time. MPEG-LA first asked for contributions to the patent pool *this week* and they've already failed?

Why don't you wait until March 18th (the date the MPEG-LA set for submissions) before you decide it's a failure?

Re:No worries (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186730)

My understanding was that they had searched for patents which might be applicable within the group before hand, the public request for patents was widen the net in the hope for someone they don't currently have business relationship would be able to help them. That suggests they have already failed to find a patent to fight Google with.

Re:No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186734)

Why wait? It's very obviously intended to scare people away from WebM, and a consortium which has to rely on scare tactics is desperate - SCO "we own parts of Linux but we won't tell you exactly which parts" desperate. This story is another indicator that the MPEG LA is between a rock and a hard place. Why would they want to establish a royalty free codec if not to avoid losing users to someone else, i.e. to preempt another royalty free solution? The good news is that they must still think they can win this, so they're still trying to compete. When they realize that the game is over, they'll start extracting money from their imaginary property Darl McBride style.

Re:No worries (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187250)

Why would they want to establish a royalty free codec if not to avoid losing users to someone else, i.e. to preempt another royalty free solution?

Looking for an evil interpretation, one could say that this might forestall adoption of Webm so that H.264 royalties could be collected in the interim. Then perhaps with Webm out of the way work on the free MPEG codec could be cancelled. Or perhaps network effects and install base would make it impossible to dislodge H.264 on any time frame, yielding a mountain of royalties. Looking for a non-evil interpretation, perhaps ISO/IEC wish to improve there relevancy as standard organizations. Or perhaps there is a splinter group within the organization that has the best interests of humanity in mind. Or perhaps pressure was applied from outside or funding was supplied.

Though I much prefer the latter interpretations I do not think there is any reason to change any Webm plans. Maybe when the new codec is fully defined, implemented, proved to be of superior quality and with no patent trolls in the wings. I think that such a happy day is a few years off and in the mean time, the net needs Webm, badly.

Re:No worries (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187286)

I would say that WebM is likely patent encumbered. MPEG-LA is assembling a patent pool for WebM, so it will not be royalty-free.

And what do you base this on? Saber rattling by MPEG-LA, who are seeing their protection racket disappear?

Either put up and show us the patents or shut up.

Re:No worries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186228)

WebM, seeing as how it is controlled by one company, isn't a standard. Why do so many say STANDARD! STANDARD! STANDARD! yet support this? Hell even child rape supporting RMS says it is a STANDARD! when he knows damn well it isn't.

Re:No worries (3, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188610)

A standard need not be free of control by a single entity. You are conflating two different concepts of standards and public ownership.

We all pretty much agree that 802.11 is a group of standards. But its patented [google.com] and owned by CSIRO [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186250)

I think I can save MPEG a lot of time. I've found a royalty-free container, a video codec and an audio codec we can all use:

http://www.webmproject.org/ [webmproject.org]

thanks for the link :-)

Re:No worries (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186326)

Does my unhacked ps3 play webm stuff?

Re:No worries (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186944)

No, which is why you can switch from PLAYSTATION 3 to a home theater PC such as a Dell Zino.

Re:No worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186966)

Does your unhacked PS3 play MPEG-5? Does it play H.265? Neither of which currently exist?

Yeah, funny how new stuff which hasn't standardised yet doesn't work on old shit built before the new thing came into existence.

Re:No worries (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187080)

let me introduce you to them thar new fangled "programmable" computamatort-thingies

Re:No worries (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188450)

But WebM looks no better than MPEG2.
  - So I think I'll pass, just as I have no plans to switch from Bluray to HD-DVD. I prefer upgrades, not lateral shifts. I prefer MPEG4 video and audio (AACplusSBR). Same quality as MPEG2 but only needs half the bitrate.

Royalty Free (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35185964)

So we won't find any videos of Charles, Camilla, William and Kate, Harry and the rest of the family in that format then

Re:Royalty Free (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188492)

I hear finding a format that is specifically royalty free is difficult due to the fact that the royal family easily lends itself to compression due to the high levels of redundancy involved.

Wrong move. (4, Interesting)

Bleek II (878455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35185974)

Better than Mpeg 2 they say? Well I should hope so. And AVC Baseline isn't great. They're clearly making some crap/free encoder so that they can start charging more $$$ for their good ones. The only issue for them is that Google/Xiph have good ones that will always be free. If MPEG tries to force this new standard people will move to VC8 which has been around for some time.

Re:Wrong move. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186016)

This is part of an at least two-pronged attack. They are attempting to put together a patent pool for VP8, even if they totally fail they will still gain FUD-based victories. If they can convince most people who matter that VP8 is really theirs then they can convince them to use their upcoming low-grade codec and prevent Google from becoming a name in yet another market.

Re:Wrong move. (2, Informative)

lordholm (649770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186094)

MPEG is not the same as MPEG-LA. These are two completely separate organizations that have nothing to do with each other.

Re:Wrong move. (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186110)

Completely separate? MPEG-LA handles licensing MPEG patents. That's what they do. To say they are completely separate is like saying the ocean and an ocean basin are completely separate.

Re:Wrong move. (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186800)

Completely separate? MPEG-LA handles licensing MPEG patents.

MPEG LA handles also VC-1 patents which has no relation to ISO MPEG

Re:Wrong move. (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188630)

My friend, your cynical views are not welcome here, clearly MPEG-LA and MPEG are two completely independent organizations that merely happen to share part of their name and in the spirit of cooperation and well intentions decided that, though some confusion between the two might occur, it wouldn't be fair for one to request the other to pick a different name and all the hassle that would involve.

Re:Wrong move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187304)

That's like saying Disney (or Sony, Warner Bros etc.) isn't the MPAA. Technically you are correct, but in the end the same business interests that drive the standards body are also represented in the licensing association. The MPEG is comprised of people who work for the companies which are in the MPEG-LA.

Re:Wrong move. (4, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186148)

This is not an attack on VP8. It might moot the WebM project, but neither Google nor Mozilla should have much of an issue with implementing such a standard, since automatic royalty free patent licenses don't cause any issues with Free or Open Source software. Indeed, they are even compatible with the GPLv3.

Please don't confuse MPEG with the MPEG LA. The latter is a a corporation with no formal relationship to MPEG. If anything MPEG doing this is intentionally snubbing the MPEG LA.

Re:Wrong move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186388)

This is not an attack on VP8.

You're correct, which is why the parent said

This is part of an at least two-pronged attack.

The parent was referring to this very recent story here on slashdot:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/02/11/1536257/MPEG-LA-Attempts-To-Start-VP8-Patent-Pool

But good job getting a +5 Informative out of clueless mods.

Re:Wrong move. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187034)

Did you even try reading the rest of the post you replied yo?

Re:Wrong move. (1)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188324)

It may not be an attack on VP8, but Google will interpret it as an attack (which is why you won't find mention of it in Google News).
Google invested a lot of money in On2, just so they could control the format. They don't want to see a truly Open format subverting it, no matter how many times they say "Don't Be Evil".

Right move (Was:Wrong move.) (1)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188288)

This is how Google should have released WebM to start with;
Submit it to a standards body for review.
Create an official specification (not just a token specification that is secondary to their implementation).
Have an independent body verify that it is in fact Patent Free.

As opposed to;
Buy a company, tweak the format and release it without peer review.
Write a synopsis of how the format work and then say "But if this is different to how our code works, our code is canonical".
Stick it up on a website with a big sticker that says "Patent Free".

These are the reasons why Apple's Facetime standard is being ignored by the rest of the industry, and is a contributing factor to why WebM will be ignored by the rest of the industry.

Re:Wrong move. (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186054)

>>>They're clearly making some crap/free encoder

Good observation. A wiser course would be for MPEG to say, "From this point forward, MPEG2 shall be free of charge." - That would essentially kill Google's attempt to shoehorn VP8, because manufacturers would not want to abandon a current standard that every device can read, and has no cost.

Free MPEG2 would also be a great benefit for the Free TV stations (US, Canada, Mexico) - they'd save a lot of money in royalty fees and instead be able to hire more people to create new content.

Re:Wrong move. (0)

lordholm (649770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186112)

MPEG cannot say that, they have nothing to do with MPEG-LA that administers the patent pools for MPEG2 and 4. MPEG is a group formed by ISO and IEC. MPEG-LA is a private group that collect patent royalties and distributes these to their stakeholders.

Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (2, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35185978)

Since the members of the MPEG group are making such good money from the royalties, why would they want to undermine that project with something that's free? It's in their interest to make it only slightly less crappy than VP8 (which won't be hard). This will kill the motivation to develop the independent free codecs, and this is what MPEG wants, I guess. But they don't want to really risk killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (0)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186184)

Since the members of the MPEG group are making such good money from the royalties [...]

MPEG != MPEG-LA

The first is an ISO standards body, the second... well... some sort of protection racket association, I guess.
And I'm sure the misleading name similarity is pure coincidence.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186400)

He said members of the MPEG group, which (tautology aside) is a set of people with a significant overlap with the set of people who have patents licensed to MPEG-LA.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186454)

So you're telling me that a standards body is coding up a video compression codec? That sounds pretty far fetched. No, of course the coding is done by whatever corporate bodies normally write MPEG codecs, and even if they're not exactly the same as the MPEG-LA group, I'd be shocked if the overlap weren't large.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (3)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186226)

MPEG wants to merely merely standardize things, ending the problem of searching for a royalty free codec. Mozilla and Google both simply want a royalty free standard that is Good enough. VP8 seems like one possibility, but if something even slightly better than VP8 is standardized, both should be quite willing to implement it.

MPEG LA on the other hand actively does not want any codec better than say Microsoft Video 1 (the format most classic AVI files used) available on royalty free terms. They would lose out on a substantial amount of royalties if devices like phones or low end Digital Cameras used such a format rather than one of their formats. This is why they so actively fear projects like WebM. They make a substantial portion of their royalties from Cell phones, low end cameras, and similar devices.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187408)

MPEG LA on the other hand actively does not want any codec better than say Microsoft Video 1...available on royalty free terms. They would lose out on a substantial amount of royalties if devices like phones or low end Digital Cameras used such a format rather than one of their formats.

The twenty-nine H.264 licensors include:

Apple. Bosch. Cisco. Daewoo. Dolby. Ericsson. Fraunhofer. Fujitsu. HP. Hitachi. JVC. LG. Microsoft. Mitsubishi. NTT. Panasonic. Philips. Samsung. Sharp. Siemens. Sony. Toshiba.

The global manufacturing and distribution horsepower on that list would be difficult to match.

The 950 or so H.264 licensees rounds out a list of the global 1,000 in tech --- and the Asian Fortune 500 in tech.

These guys are all big enough to be paying the fixed-price H.264 Enterprise Cap. They all need to license H.264 for other product lines.

Studio production. Broadcast, cable and sattelite distribution. CCTV.

Freeview in the UK.

The "Internet Enabled" HDTV in the states.

The Blu-Ray player, the video game console....

The geek sees the Internet, or part of it, anyway.

[Not the part where the content-protected Disney and PIxar "app" is baked into every HDTV on the planet.]

He sees the smartphone. But that is all he sees.

Google shopping returns about 77,000 hits for "H.264." 24,000 hits simply for H.264 surveillance cameras.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188232)

MPEG LA on the other hand actively does not want any codec better than say Microsoft Video 1 (the format most classic AVI files used) available on royalty free terms. They would lose out on a substantial amount of royalties if devices like phones or low end Digital Cameras used such a format rather than one of their formats.

MPEG-1 video has been freely implementable for a long time. MPEG-2 will be out from under its relevant patents very shortly. Both are decidedly better than MV1, and there's nothing stopping digital camera manufactures from using them... HOWEVER, that's just not how the world works. Phone manufacturers either use MJPEG because it's computationally free (just a series of JPEGs, which any phone can already create), where using any decent video codec would require specialized hardware and added cost. Plus, how much video can fit on a flash card isn't a major selling point for basic cameras, so almost nobody cares.

At the other end of the spectrum are manufacturers who want to be buzz-word compatible. They don't care what H.264 is, and will happily sell you a camera that records videos that are nothing but static noise, as long as they can have the "H.264" buzzword on the box.

VP8/WebM won't change this, and certainly won't result in consumers getting better video quality from the cheap junk cameras out there.

Additionally, everyone here has no idea what they're talking about. The MPEG is as big and slow moving of a bureaucracy as it gets. Since they've just decided to start working on this, you can expect it will be at least 5+ years before we see even a basic spec come out of it, and longer before anyone has any implementations to show for it. VP8 is here now. Dropping the license fees on H.264 is what they've done to try to compete with VP8. This foray is irrelevant to that.

What they're trying to do here is compete with is themselves... They want to produce something that's just slightly better than MPEG-2, and where they have a way to monetize it (which they don't with MPEG-2 once the patents expire). Maybe they'll make it so that the decoder is royalty free, but the encoder needs extensive patent licenses. Maybe there will be a free encoder as well, but ONLY if you don't use several encoding options that greatly improve quality. So they'll hope to make some money up-selling their new "free" codec.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (1)

Salvo (8037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188402)

WebM isn't designed for Low End Cameras. It is designed for playing high-quality, low res video with a low overhead. The chips they claim to be designing for portable devices will be Playback only. Encoding will have to be done on a Workstation or Server.

The only way they could have Hardware Encoders for WebM is if they give it a major overhaul. This new MPEG standard aims to perform such an overhaul, they may even use WebM or Theora as a starting codebase.

Despite what Google and Xiph may claim, WebM and Theora aren't ready for consumer use.

Re:Hmm, I wonder how good this will be (1)

pieterh (196118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188750)

Computational power doubles at the same price point, every 12-18 months. It's only a few years away from consumer-level encoding. The fight is not today, it's in the next 3-5 years when every mid-to-high range phone/mini tablet/camera can do professional-level video encoding.

Reaction (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186004)

Probably just another knee-jerk reaction to VP8/WebM. And you can bet this "royalty free standard" will still be protected by tons of patents. It just keeps getting more interesting all the time. Just what we need, though, yet another video standard.

Smoke and Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186014)

Why don't MPEG-LA just make the CODEC royalty free for consumers instead of trying to pull more of the same arguably illegal monopoly behaviour? I've no idea what US or EU law might apply but the way MPEG-LA sucker punched the market by stitching it up with backdoor deals and fine print in consumer products is very iffy. I would be surprised if it's not illegal or some regulator wouldn't find them guilty of abusing their power. The way I see it this new CODEC is just a distraction from their patent trolling and consumer backlash. Someone should just prosecute them and bury this market abuse for good.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186120)

>>>make the CODEC royalty free for consumers

It already IS free. You only need to be a royalty for MPEG2 or 4 video codecs if you earn more than 1 million gross, which means consumers and small companies (like VideoLAN (VLC) and WinAmp) can use it free of charge.

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186918)

As the other dude said it's not free. There's so many strings attached for something which I've already paid for I resent it. I'm happy with H.264 everywhere because it's a great codec and makes things simple. What I'm not happy with is some sword of Damacles tax on an ecosystem I can't escape from. It's an unhealthy precedent and who knows where it will end? It's no different to feudal warlords taking a slice of everything the serfs produced. What next? Taking the virginity of your daughters because they drank the water from their well?

Re:Smoke and Mirrors (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188186)

It didn't seem to bother you when you used Blurays, DVDs, CDs, or VHS tapes, all of which include a license fee to the original developer(s). I don't see why it should bother you now.

H.264 redux (4, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186066)

I happen to know that H.264 was _also_ supposed to be royalty free, with certain patents being reverse-engineered around in the standards development. MPEG-LA had different ideas, and they may have different ideas about this new work as well.

Re:H.264 redux (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186396)

Is it possible that you are confusing H.264 with VC-1? VC-1 was supposed to be completely royalty free, but shortly after Microsoft puplished the standard it turned out that it violated many MPEG LA patents. They formed a patent pool for it and Microsoft joined.

AFAIK H.264 was never supposed to be royalty free except for internet distribution. Even that was supposed to be up for review until permanent royalty free status was announced last year.

Re:H.264 redux (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186436)

Big 'citation needed' there. There are bits of H.264 that look like they were only added so that some of the companies involved would have something to put in the patent pool and get the discounted rate (Apple's solitary patent being an example). VP8 looks like it was designed to work around patents, but H.264 seems to have been designed with exactly the opposite requirement.

splog free link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186072)

instead of linking to a splog that links to a blog that links to the press release, why not link to the press release?

http://mpeg.chiariglione.org/meetings/daegu11/daegu_press.htm

I would rather /. be sploglink free than MPEG be royalty free

Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (2)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186074)

I for one don't care all that much about patents issues, as long as Mozilla and Opera can implement it to me it means problem solved.
HTML5 can be standardized and we can move on with our lives.

Whether it's VP8 or whatever.

If it's quality is better than VP8 all the better, those unhappy with VP8's output can now be happy.

I got a feeling this codec will be highly optimized for low bitrates and streaming, so it won't compete with H.264 main profile for other uses.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (4, Informative)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186324)

Really, I think everyone should care about this issue. It all boils down to device ownership. Say you buy a decent prosumer camcorder with the intent of maybe shooting your own low budget film. You purchased the camera so you own the device and therefore should not have to pay any additional royalties for using it in a way you desire. Under the MPEG-LA licensing agreement, you will have to pay royalties for each copy of the film you distribute to the MPEG-LA. This could get quite expensive and, in effect, creates a legal racketeering operation. You as the filmmaker are threatened with high punitive fines making it even more costly to try your own film out. Ignorance is what allows corporations (and government, too) to get away with such actions. This is where VP8 comes into play. Imagine if you had a prosumer camcorder with the VP8 capabilities - you would not worry about creativity and artistic innovation.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187060)

Can someone with legal background back this up?

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (1)

lordholm (649770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187084)

I am pretty sure that you will re-encode your video after you have edited it. Your camera has nothing to do with the final distribution format of the movie. If you distribute unedited video, it is most likely free of charge in youtube, in that case you do not have to worry, since free internet distribution is royalty free.

The issue is thus mostly non existing. However, if they would try to extract royalty fees for video which was re-encoded from AVC to a patent free format, then it would be an issue. However, I would be very surprised if they could do that from a legal point of view.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187154)

@lordholm

I'm not quite sure what you're going on, but the OP is correct. First off, in many cases (say you're a wedding photographer and filmer), you would offer multiple options to your customers. For example, I would offer them the "uncompressed" (keep in mind that the original h.264 is already compressed), in addition to formats that they would want to use otherwise if I offered those services.

There's a large difference between "RAW" and "high quality compressed", which is what most devices do these days. Unless you had a super high end digital camera of sorts, but even something in the low thousands for filming would still likely use h.264 as its default compression--with no way to change it. And since it's already compressed, any further compression is reducing quality even more--which makes for less market value of the quality of your work period.

Unless of course you want to pay the h.264 royalty to the MPEG-LA, then you have a "leg up" against your "competition" because you have the "highest quality". See?! They're creating VALUE!

No, the reality is that it's bullshit--if I buy a recording device to record whatever the hell I want I have full rights to distribute my video any hell way I please without them asking me for money--period. If I want to start a side job of being a wedding filmer, or filming events and whatnot, I should be able to do whatever I please with my devices and not pay any money to anybody. That's my right as a consumer.

I highly doubt that these provisions would hold up in court if they were ever tried, but as it stands right now they aren't. And so there's that big IF statement.

Editing means recompression (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187512)

And since it's already compressed, any further compression is reducing quality even more--which makes for less market value of the quality of your work period.

Any editing of the raw footage will result in a recompression unless it's only cuts and only at keyframe boundaries. At that point, the quality difference between VP8 and baseline-profile AVC becomes negligible.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (1)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187440)

I believe that nothing of what you've said is actually true, just more of the same old H264 fear mongering you see a lot on Slashdot.

The royalty scheme includes payments for commercial encoder/decoder writers, subscription services that make money from hosting H264 video, and hardware manufacturers that include H264 playback or encoding in their devices. If you shoot a movie using an H264-capable camera, the cost of the royalties will already be absorbed in the hardware, and will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $0.10. If you re-encode to whatever other format you like to avoid H264 royalties, nobody is stopping you or charging you, except maybe the encoder writer (who will again factor the ~$0.10 H264 royalties in the price of his product). If you want to distribute your movie using a medium that uses H264 encoding (Blu-Ray disc for example) you will have to negotiate terms with a publisher anyway, which will cover a license to use the Blu-Ray disc format. This is no different from publishing on DVD, VHS or whatever other distribution medium. You can choose to distribute VP8 discs if you like, but you'll likely sell zero of them, because first of all nobody can play them with their home theatre sets, and second, the quality will be utter crap since VP8 was never intended for high-bitrate video in the first place.

So you can have your Kool-Aid like everyone else spreading horror stories about H264, but the fact of the matter is that it's just another piece in the long chain of technologies you use to shoot, produce and distribute video that you didn't invent and implement yourself, and therefore have to indirectly pay a small fee for. The MPEG-LA royalties are in fact very reasonable, they only apply to *profitable* use, you only have to pay them above a certain amount of *profit* you make from your movie, they have an upper-bound to the amount of money you have to pay, and in terms of 'cost per unit sold' they translate to a marginal negligible of the typical resale value of the item you are selling. There is no, I repeat *no*, levy on a not-for-profit H264 video you shot and encoded using licensed H264 tools and want to host on a website.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35187552)

Totally wrong. Read the licensing in a decent video/camera before spouting lies and FUD in future.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187732)

Right, because I'm going to distribute my movie in the same format that the camera uses. If it's going for broadcast I put it in a format that the broadcaster wants (which won;t be the one the camera uses, necessarily, especially if it's a prosumer one), and if it's going for a film release it will be on 35mm or into a digital format for a digital projector that is still unlikely to be the same as the camera's format.

If you have "creativity and artistic innovation" you are not concerned overly with your tools.

The editing software alone, if you want decent stuff, will cost you more than any licence to use the codec in your camera.

Re:Best possible outcome if it's better than VP8 (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188436)

I don't know about device ownership and stuff.

I'm namely approaching this from the point of view of HTML5 standardization.

That said, I never really considered the issue from the encoder perspective.
But if this codec really is completely royalty free (now MPEG is going to manage this I don't know), patents or no patents, then using it in the HTML5 standard shouldn't be a problem.

H.264 is obvious out unless they make it royalty free too, but that is highly unlikely to happen.

I think the main issue with including non-royalty free codecs in the HTML5 standard, is that it places the display of and the creation of HTML5 content under the control of the owners of the said non-royalty free codec. No one will be able to create nor display a HTML5 video without a license from codec owners. That IMHO is not good for the Internet.

all these codec wars make me fear (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186084)

Should I brace for another exciting period where a truckload of different codecs will be necessary for watching a video on internet, no one with an native Linux installer and no support whatsoever? Amazing! I cannot wait.

Re:all these codec wars make me fear (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186230)

Because the encoders who really know their codecs will even care. No one will bat an eyelash at this thing unless it's really good. You have nothing to fear.

Re:all these codec wars make me fear (1)

DMiax (915735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186278)

I hope so. But who is to say there will not be "incentives" to encode in this new format e.g. the coming olympic games? Microsoft already pulled that one with silverlight. MPEG-LA may try too.

Re:all these codec wars make me fear (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187230)

"[...]no one with an native Linux installer[...]"

If the codec in question is genuinely royalty-free and GPL-compatible, I don't think that'll be a problem. I suspect an implementation would appear very quickly, and show up in standard Linux distribution repositories in short order.

Videos are obsolete. (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186100)

The future belongs to multidimensional consciousness arrays. Remember, for humans, the world is multidimensional and consciousness is an emergent dialectic of mutually refracting dimensions of metaconsciousness. Video does not take this basic fact of nature into account, which is why it is sterile and leads to godlessness and impotence. Down with vidfeo! Down with the imperialist plot against our brainpans!

MS will not allow that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186176)

MS monopoly is based on closed formats. They will not allow any royalty free standards which would allow for example linux usage.

Re:MS will not allow that (1)

KugelKurt (908765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186848)

MS monopoly is based on closed formats. They will not allow any royalty free standards which would allow for example linux usage.

The whole set of MPEG codecs as well as Microsoft's VC-1 can perfectly played back on Linux.
Funny story: VC-2 is based on Dirac and totally royalty-free.

Quality (2)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186196)

A free codec better than MPEG2, but not as good as H.264. So they're re-inventing Theora?

Re:Quality (3, Interesting)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186338)

Not necessarily. They could decide to adopt Theora as the basis of the new standard, and see if they can get royalty free patent licenses for possible improvements.

Keep in mind that MPEG has little issue with standardizing something that already exists, like how the MOV container format was standardized as the MP4 container format, how they standardized Adobe and Microsoft's OpenType as MPEG4 Part 22: Open Font Format, or how they standarized a slight modification to ASPEC as MPEG-1 Layer 3 Audio.

Re:Quality (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186530)

While interesting why shouldnt they inveset in new codecs? MPEG2 is decent (people seem to knock it then praise their DVDs...). H.264 is much better. However it is from the early 00's. I am sure they can do much better now. The thing is the 'cool' stuff will probably end up in a patent somewhere.

However, this sort of thing is exactly what got us the GIF fiasco. People wanting a better standard than the rest. It ended up 'good enough' even though there were better ones out there. But a single submarine patent almost nuked it from orbit. So we ended up with jpeg which was supposed to be patent free (surprise), then png which so far is but is used once and awhile.

If their stance is 'between the two' then that is a shame and it will end up not being used much. As you have the choice between a 'good enough' standard and a 'costly standard', and with few people having decoders for it.

If it doesnt blow h264 out of the water people will not even give it the time of day.

Besides what are we going to use on our next round of disc's we will be getting after bluray? :)

Re:Quality (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188258)

A free codec better than MPEG2, but not as good as H.264. So they're re-inventing Theora?

Theora can't compete with MPEG-2 to begin with. MPEG-2 is designed for high-bitrate, high quality video encoding. Theora can't handle that at all. No matter how much you crank up the bitrate, Theora will continue to be fuzzy. It was designed exclusively for very low bitrate encoding. H.264 learned from On2's mistakes, and designed their codec to excel in low-bitrates, but having the ability to shut off those features, and still be tolerable at high bitrates (though really not much better than MPEG-2).

Dirac? (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186252)

Whatever happened to Dirac? Wasn't it meant to achieve greatness as open, free and high quality video codec?

Re:Dirac? (3, Informative)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186446)

Dirac is meant to be a high-quality codec, period; it was largely designed for archival work. It makes no particularly strong effort to be low-bitrate in the process.

The result is that at high bitrates it's pretty good (and even offers lossless compression, etc). At the bitrates at which people normally serve internet video today, it's worse quality than Theora, I'm told. But this is third-hand, so don't take my word for it.

As bandwidth goes up, Dirac might find a place on the web, but we're not there yet.

Re:Dirac? (3, Insightful)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186546)

Dirac was designed for the future. Whilst it can achieve the same bitrate/quality as H.264 it is much more computationally expensive. It is also too different from H.264 to reuse the existing hardware acceleration. It was designed (by the BBC) for distribution of broadcast streams, where the required hardware is irrelevant, its better performance at high bit rates on super-HD content, optional lossless-compression, and ability to down-sample without re-compressing are all more important. In a decade Moore's Law may make it the obvious choice for all content. By acting as prior-art for most wavelet encoders it may be very important indeed.

Re:Dirac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35186622)

From what I heard, while it is still being developed, the BBC basically lost interest in it. On the side of video encoding enthusiasts it isn't popular either for several reasons.

Dirac is a wavelet codec using overlapping block motion compensation. OBMC is very slow and also influences decoding speed negatively.
Wavelets are better at intra compression, but worse at inter compression compared to traditional DCT-based codecs. Since most frames are inter frames this is a drawback for Dirac.
Another subjective criticism is that wavelets look worse than traditional compression at the same PSNR, so even the benefit for intra compression is debatable.

I did some tests about two years ago and Dirac was worse than MPEG-4 ASP (Divx/XviD), around the same quality as Theora (1.0) while being much harder to de- and encode. Keep in mind that I haven't tested Dirac recently, but I'm confident that the upcoming Theora 1.3 encoder will beat any available Dirac encoder in both speed and quality. H.264 and VP8 will give even better quality while still not being that hard to decode.

If you want a more detailed analysis you can check out this thread: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=147319

Interesting (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186292)

It is interesting to see this sudden almost about-face by the MPEG group. It will be interesting to see if they produce something better than VP8. However, VP8 is a very reasonable replacement for H.264. I have normal vision (i.e. without glasses) and I have a hard time discerning any differences between H.264 and VP8. All things being equal, I'd sooner go with something both open source and patent unencumbered.

Re:Interesting (0)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186554)

It's not really an "about face" since the Mpeg group and the MPEG-LA are not the same thing.

You can't really about-face from someone else's position.

All is want (yesterday will be soon enough) (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35186470)

All I want is ONE high-quality video format standard for websites that works on all browsers and all platforms with the stock operating system. IMHO, this is the final battle in the browser/OS wars. No, I don't want to host my content on Youtube. No, I don't want Flash. It's down to WMV and H.264 (Ogg? What's that?). WMV always looks like crap. Ain't It Cool, a connoisseur of film, always makes a point of announcing that a trailer is in "glorious Quicktime". But of course there are still a lot of Windows users out there who don't have or can't get Quicktime installed. Feh.

Re:All is want (yesterday will be soon enough) (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187768)

Quicktime is not a format though.

Quicktime can play H.264 though, as can Windows Media Player. There's no reason that a person needs Quicktime to see H.264. The key is the container format, or the nature of the stream delivered to the browser, so we need a standard format and a standard container.

The clock is ticking on MPEG cartel (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187138)

I can't wait until the patents necessary to create the first DVD players run out.

The only thing patents are doing is holding back innovation, increasing costs and unjustly enriching those who no longer have an incentive to offer anything but dead labor.

Re:The clock is ticking on MPEG cartel (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35187246)

I can't wait either! Once the patents run out, we'll finally be able to buy DVD players for 19.75$ instead of 20.00$.

*sigh* (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35188138)

Ok, if you were going to post a knee-jerk response about their intentions, motivation etc please note that MPEG != MPEG-LA.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...