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ITU Approves H.264 Video Standard Successor H.265

timothy posted about a year ago | from the looks-so-much-like-his-brother dept.

Google 182

An anonymous reader writes "The H.265 codec standard, the successor of H.264, has been approved, promising support for 8k UHD and lower bandwidth, but the patent issues plaguing H.264 remain." Here's the announcement from the ITU. From the article: "Patents remain an important issue as it was with H.264, Google proposing WebM, a new codec standard based on VP8, back in 2010, one that would be royalties free. They also included it in Chrome, with the intent to replace H.264, but this attempt never materialized. Mozilla and Opera also included WebM in their browsers with the same purpose, but they never discarded H.264 because most of the video out there is coded with it. MPEG LA, the owner of a patent pool covering H.264, promised that H.264 internet videos delivered for free will be forever royalty free, but who knows what will happen with H.265? Will they request royalties for free content or not? It remains to be seen. In the meantime, H.264 remains the only codec with wide adoption, and H.265 will probably follow on its steps."

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182 comments

So who won? (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42700309)

Several companies made proposals for what would eventually become H.265.
Who won?

Re:So who won? (4, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | about a year ago | (#42700325)

Nobody "won". Companies weren't making proposals for complete replacements for h.264. They were making proposals for incremental improvements on h.264. h.265 is a collection of those different improvements. Each one is small in itself, but they add up.

Re:So who won? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700359)

Then whose patents have now become gold mines and/or roadblocks?

Re:So who won? (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42701579)

Then whose patents have now become gold mines and/or roadblocks?

The H.264 patent pool has 30 licencors and the list of patents is 59 pages long, so the short answer is: Most of the industry. Apart from Google with WebM and previously Microsoft with VC-1, there is surprising unity. My predictions are as follows: HEVC is as dominant in hardware as H.264, there will be an open source encoder like xvid/x264 and those who can't or won't use that will use WebM despite the somewhat larger size because Google will probably fight to back it as a free codec. Anything else will be never go anywhere outside geek circles like Vorbis or Theora.

Re:So who won? (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42702831)

As it stands, WebM is somewhat less effective than h.264, and as such, it will never be competitive with h.265... No more so than MPEG-4 ASP is competitive with h.264.

WebM completely failed to gain any traction whatsoever against h.264, so why should it do any better against h.265?

Re:So who won? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700343)

"Several companies made proposals for what would eventually become H.265."

Translation

"Several companies offered patents for what would eventually become the H.265. royalty pie"

Re:So who won? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#42700445)

Amazing how that works. Company does a bunch of research work, and then says "hey, you can use the research work we did if you pay us". It's almost like the people there are normal human beings who want to live and eat!

Re:So who won? (1)

cynyr (703126) | about a year ago | (#42700549)

But if the ITU is going to make it a standard, it really should require patent grants for any patents that would cover that standard, and require all entities that are participating to sign agreements that they are agreeing that any patents they currently hold or will hold in the future will not be used against those implementing this standard.

Re:So who won? (1)

samkass (174571) | about a year ago | (#42700693)

It's funny how different Slashdot sentiment was when it was discussing Google as the plaintiff trying to get an injunction over standards-essential patents...

Re:So who won? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700825)

Which standards-essential patents?

Also: there are different people posting on here, I suspect. That might answer a lot of your concerns, if you previously thought there was just you and one other hyperactive, schizophrenic, multi personality poster on here.

Re:So who won? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702455)

Which standards-essential patents?

I believe he's talking about Motorola's lawsuits against Microsoft using H.264 patents. I don't recall if they started before or after Google had effective control over Motorola, but it seems like anything Motorola did in the patent spats is getting attributed to Google now.

That said, I do think the main point that there should be agreement to keep relate patents within a central licensing pool is a good one. It was kinda goofy that Motorola even had a leg to stand on when suing someone who licensed H.264 from the MPEG-LA. What is the point of having a standards body and licensing pool for that standard if someone can just crush licensors through side-channels anyways.

Re:So who won? (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#42700733)

Except for rambus that's how it works

DVD, blu ray, 3G/lte and lots of other standards are patent pools
You donate your patents and agree on a small royalty for anyone who wants to use them

Re:So who won? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701383)

Or maybe it works by letting people use your patented methods until they become a de-facto standard, all the while refusing to say exactly what is patented. Yup, that's how it really works.

Re:So who won? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701541)

or you make an apple use those patented functions and do not pay anything at all.

Re:So who won? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#42700745)

What would be better would be requiring a Free implementation of said standard, and if $BIGCO doesn't want to (or can't due to other obligations) make their resulting product Free as well, they can pay a license fee. Just like all the other dual licensed software/source out there....

Re:So who won? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700563)

"Company does a bunch of research work, and then says "hey, you can use the research work we did if you pay us"."

Translation

"Somebody does some research then a company patents it and every little incremental change every few years to keep old patents alive and to stop anyone else trying to enter the market" ...

"It's almost like the people there are normal human beings who want to live and eat!"

Sorry, I couldn't translate that with a straight face. Its even more laughable and insulting than when the RIAA says it.

Amazing how you twisted that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700653)

No, the companies said "You HAVE TO use these results of our research NOW PAY US!!!!".

Re:Amazing how you twisted that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700851)

Should you CHOOSE to use this technology.

Amazing how you twisted that.

Re:Amazing how you twisted that. (5, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#42700961)

You don't choose to "use" standards. You are forced to implement them either by government regulation or interoperability needs. See what happens with the FAT file system: it's the result of an insignificant research effort, it is itself extremely poor technology, yet every device manufacturer is currently forced to implement it, and therefore needs to pay money to Microsoft.

This adds a sunk cost to the barriers to entry into the device market, in favour of the established market dominators (which is what patents are all about), and to the detriment of free market, consumers and technological progress.

Re:Amazing how you twisted that. (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42701015)

The point is that there is not much choice if it is part of an interoperability standard. You simply cannot view a H.264 video on the web with a browser that only supports WebM, just as you'll have no luck to watch NTSC broadcasts with a PAL-only TV. Of course you are free to try to sell that PAL-only TV in the US, but you won't succeed, not because it is bad (the same TV may sell like crazy in Europe), but because it doesn't work with US broadcasts.

You only have a choice if there are two options that both work.

Re:So who won? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42701003)

The problem is the breadth and scope of how far these patents go. Not being able to profit from video i shot using a consumer grade camera is an unconscionable consequence.

Huh? (2)

h8mx (2713391) | about a year ago | (#42700319)

Mozilla and Opera also included WebM in their browsers with the same purpose, but they never discarded H.264 because most of the video out there is coded with it.

What? Firefox didn't have H.264 support until late 2012.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700335)

And I believe Opera still doesn't, except on Unix where it'll use the installed GStreamer plugins where available.

Re:Huh? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42700453)

Mozilla and Opera also included WebM in their browsers with the same purpose, but they never discarded H.264 because most of the video out there is coded with it.

What? Firefox didn't have H.264 support until late 2012.

See? Since they didn't have it, they couldn't discard it.
In other news, lynx also never discarded support for H.264.

Re:Huh? (2)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about a year ago | (#42702723)

What? Firefox didn't have H.264 support until late 2012.

Unless you're talking about some non-release version of Firefox, it *still* doesn't have it. Though I think Firefox mobile does (not sure if it's the release version or not).

time to transcode again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700323)

Being a videophile, first I encoded everything to divx, then I transcoded to h.264. Now I suppose I'll turn them all into h.265 - it'll be the best quality yet.

Re:time to transcode again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700329)

You mean you didn't encode it to WMV at some point? It's too late,t he quality is already gone.

Re:time to transcode again (-1, Redundant)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42700385)

You realize that everytime you transcode you lose quality?

Re:time to transcode again (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42700475)

This is the Slashdot QC and calibration department. Your yearly sarcasm and humor detector calibrations are due. Please leave the detectors in the tray by the door at the end of your shift.

Thank you.

--
BMO

Re:time to transcode again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700837)

Hi! I'd like to register a complaint with you, the QC and Calibration Department:

You have been doing a really shitty job lately.

Re:time to transcode again (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42701159)

Article summaries are part of the Editorial Department, down the hall and to the left.

Coincidentally it's in the last stall of the washroom.

--
BMO

Re:time to transcode again (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42700989)

This is the Slashdot QC and calibration department. Your yearly sarcasm and humor detector calibrations are due. Please leave the detectors in the tray by the door at the end of your shift.

FYI, I think he already did.

Re:time to transcode again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700435)

If that's the best attempt at trolling you can manage you need to go back to 9gag with the rest of the e-tards.

Re:time to transcode again (1)

cgimusic (2788705) | about a year ago | (#42701201)

I can't wait until lossless video encoding becomes practical.

Re:time to transcode again (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#42701519)

I can't wait until lossless video encoding becomes practical.

Why? The visually perceivable differences between the source and high bit/pixel H.264 are almost non-existent.

There are generally more differences between the actual source (film/captured video/etc.) and the adjusted-before-encoding (filtering, color-"correction", etc.) source than those caused by lossy encoding.

Re:time to transcode again (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | about a year ago | (#42701707)

You're missing the the point the OP was making - Repeatedly transcoding between lossy formats degrades quality each time. *You* may not perceive differences, but encoders do, and they tend to amplify those differences until they become very noticeable visual artifacts - no matter how many bits you use.

Re:time to transcode again (2, Insightful)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year ago | (#42701729)

There are already lossless video codecs out there. Lagarith is a recent and popular one. The problem is that they only cut maybe 2/3 off your raw file size. Ten seconds of raw 1080p video is over a gigabyte. There's just too much information there -- you have to throw some away to get reasonable compression ratios. Waiting for lossless video to be as small as H.264 is like waiting for a 200MB download for a DVD-sized Linux ISO. Sadly, it's just not going to happen.

Re:time to transcode again (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#42702897)

I don't think anyone is waiting for lossless codecs to get smaller, they are waiting for the hardware to get bigger. It happened to compressed formats for music in the 90s and video in the 00s, now the teens may start to see losslessly compressed formats rule.

Re:time to transcode again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702797)

not likely to happen in your life time, compression gets better to give the ILLUSION of better quality, but lossless is lossless... you can't get something from nothing, the bitrate is hi no matter what, and around 100 times larger than good mpeg compression

Re:time to transcode again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702805)

Pointless without a gold-plated HDMI cable, though.

Dhurum (1)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year ago | (#42700351)

Does this format have and built in DRM (pronounced 'Dhurum") or other nasties?

Re:Dhurum (4, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year ago | (#42700387)

Nothing more than H.264 had. DRM is implemented at the container level, not the bitstream level.

BD+ (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42701087)

DRM is implemented at the container level, not the bitstream level.

BD+ in Blu-ray Disc muddies this a bit, as it allows transforming the decompressed image based on whether or not other authenticity checks pass.

Re:BD+ (2)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#42701867)

BD+ in Blu-ray Disc muddies this a bit, as it allows transforming the decompressed image based on whether or not other authenticity checks pass.

Although "transform the audio and video output" is listed as an option of BD+, it doesn't work the same way as most humans would parse that description. Based on this [wikipedia.org], it's just another way to encrypt the full .m2ts stream.

If it actually altered the video after decompression but before output, it would be impossible to rip a Blu-Ray losslessly with that protection, as you would need to decode the H.264 stream, apply the BD+ operations, then re-encode those frames to put back into the ripped stream. Note that you could never fully protect audio this way, as although you could apply the same sort of transformation, the audio stream isn't always decoded by the Blu-Ray player.

In addition, in order to alter the uncompressed data, it would require that every Blu-Ray player use exactly the same H.264 decoder with exactly the same options and only apply video alterations after BD+ is done with the data. This is a problem, because there are parts of H.264 decoding that are optional because they take CPU power and may not hurt video quality enough to require them.

I hate the dark cloud over software advances. (2)

Irick (1842362) | about a year ago | (#42700373)

I want to be excited about this but people keep reminding me that software patents suck.

Re:I hate the dark cloud over software advances. (3, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42700393)

Good thing software patents don't exist in most of the civilized world then.

Immigration (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42701125)

Good thing software patents don't exist in most of the civilized world then.

Does "most of the civilized world" offer asylum to refugees from regimes with software patents?

Re:Immigration (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42701885)

Good question. I don't know. Realistically speaking, I wouldn't count on European countries refusing extradition to the US.

Re:I hate the dark cloud over software advances. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701279)

Sorry, these patents cover the hardware/device level. The royalties will be included in your next computer & phone no matter where you live.

Mp3 (5, Interesting)

bstrobl (1805978) | about a year ago | (#42700423)

Once a standard becomes good enough, people will hang on to it for a long long time. Why bother re-encoding a complete music library from mp3 even if vorbis/aac is clearly the superior codec? Apple has enough difficulties pushing aac through, and not many hardware producers are including vorbis support. I guess the same could be said for windows xp and desktop hardware.

Re:Mp3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700673)

This is for video. Major implications for mobile video and 4K/8K post-HD stuff.

Re:Mp3 (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year ago | (#42700861)

Once a standard becomes good enough, people will hang on to it for a long long time. Why bother re-encoding a complete music library from mp3 even if vorbis/aac is clearly the superior codec? Apple has enough difficulties pushing aac through, and not many hardware producers are including vorbis support. I guess the same could be said for windows xp and desktop hardware.

MP3-files are small enough to be streamable perfectly well even on really slow connections, but video files ain't small. A 2-hour, 1080p video file with any kind of a remotely-acceptable quality will weigh in at 4GB+, and well, it sure ain't streamable over very slow connections. Not to mention the fact that bandwidth costs money. Ergo, any developments that result in higher quality at the same size or similar quality at a smaller size are certainly welcome, both for consumers and for content-producers.

As a thought-experiment, let's assume that this or that TV-series I was watching on Netflix weighed in at 1.5GB for a 1h episode, and I watched 15 episodes in a month. That'd be 22.5GB of data. Now, if the move to a new codec reduced filesizes by 5% we'd end up with ~21.4GB of data -- that's already one gigabyte in savings. Now, multiply this with e.g. 200 000 users, what do you see?

Re:Mp3 (3, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | about a year ago | (#42701089)

Once a standard becomes good enough, people will hang on to it for a long long time. Why bother re-encoding a complete music library from mp3 even if vorbis/aac is clearly the superior codec? Apple has enough difficulties pushing aac through, and not many hardware producers are including vorbis support. I guess the same could be said for windows xp and desktop hardware.

MP3-files are small enough to be streamable perfectly well even on really slow connections, but video files ain't small. A 2-hour, 1080p video file with any kind of a remotely-acceptable quality will weigh in at 4GB+, and well, it sure ain't streamable over very slow connections. Not to mention the fact that bandwidth costs money. Ergo, any developments that result in higher quality at the same size or similar quality at a smaller size are certainly welcome, both for consumers and for content-producers.

As a thought-experiment, let's assume that this or that TV-series I was watching on Netflix weighed in at 1.5GB for a 1h episode, and I watched 15 episodes in a month. That'd be 22.5GB of data. Now, if the move to a new codec reduced filesizes by 5% we'd end up with ~21.4GB of data -- that's already one gigabyte in savings. Now, multiply this with e.g. 200 000 users, what do you see?

Apparently you don't remember it, but at one time, MP3 files weren't small either. I remember it taking about an hour to download a good quality MP3. And there was streaming, too. Things like Real Player provided lower quality, higher compressed versions that were more suitable for streaming. Then do you know what happened next? Did Real Player and stuff like it win out? Nope. I'll give you a hint...the MP3 files didn't get any smaller.

Connections got faster, and bandwidth got cheaper. Much like those days for MP3, today good quality h264 files are a bit cumbersome, but I can easily download them in an hour or 2 with a typical (not even high end) consumer level internet connection. And today there are ways to get lower quality, more highly compressed version that can stream a fairly good quality HD video in real time. Give it another 5 years and the problem will easily solve itself without replacing every single piece of hardware and re-encoding every existing file.

Re:Mp3 (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#42702927)

Wow, are you saying that if I multiply 5% times 200,000 users I would get, something like at least 5% of their usage? That's amazing.

Re:Mp3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700935)

If you were smart the first time, you ripped all your music to a lossless format. I ripped all my CDs into flac, and when I wanted to burn CDs for my car's player, which read mp3, I used ffmpeg in a loop to transcode all of it into a copy of mp3, and burned that to disc. Time to convert? about 10 minutes to get the loop syntax right, and then I went to bed. Took me longer to actually burn it.

Then I got an android phone, and it could play vorbis, which is quite superior to mp3. So I changed that loop from 'ffmpeg -acodec mp3' to 'ffmpeg -acodec libvorbis' and reran it, and went to bed.

Obviously won't work as well for video since lossless codecs there aren't as good, and you're talking MUCH bigger files, but music hasn't been an issue for some time.

Re:Mp3 (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#42701369)

Why bother re-encoding a complete music library from mp3 even if vorbis/aac is clearly the superior codec?

You're asking the wrong question, the right question is how many have FLAC copies of all their MP3s? Because I hope you weren't seriously suggesting they should re-encode from the MP3 files. I think you will find that many people have never even heard of FLAC and even if they did few tools have made it easy to create dual FLAC/MP3 rips of a CD, least not any the average person would have heard about. Assuming he didn't just download those MP3s in the first place and isn't about to chase down different copies for a microscopic space savings - maybe percentage-wise it's great but even thousands of songs will fit in a tiny corner of a modern HDD.

Video on the other hand is still huge. 60 BluRays to a 3TB HDD is not much, 4K is coming and for YouTube, Netflix etc. bandwidth costs are still a huge cost - far more than say Spotify. If people are maxing their cap on the Internet connection it's likely to be because of a lot of streaming video. Of course there's a huge broadband roll-out to give people more bandwidth as well, but this is not an either-or situation. For broadcasters as well this is a huge upgrade, more compression means being able to send more TV channels in a limited frequency band. As far as I know, all US channels still broadcast in MPEG2 and H.264 wasn't enough to make them change, maybe HEVC will be? At least any country looking for a new system would seriously consider it.

Re:Mp3 (2)

Buzer (809214) | about a year ago | (#42701527)

Old content will stay in h264, new content will be released in h265. For when that switch happens depends on market. Anime fansubs have been early adopters for pretty much all new technologies relating to non-streamed video. I except them to start using it pretty much right after some kind of x265 will come out. Other markets will make the switch slower (or they will just keep using both) as it requires upgrading the consumers hardware/software.

I HAVE a PREDICTION! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700427)

The Next standard will be H.266! I'll come back in 4 years and gloat when I'm right.

Re:I HAVE a PREDICTION! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700725)

Bah. If you thought h264 was had bad patent issues, wait for h666. OTOH, why worry, AC's will probably be extinct by then anyway!

Scene releases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700433)

When will scene releases switch? That's all that matters.

true sceners dont use h264 (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about a year ago | (#42702021)

and the reason x264 is being used is cause its claimed to be opne and free
the fact is it really might not be and the way they are doing releases is a scam too
its like what your getitng is actually NOT from the scene
how do i know
well i just do.
that is why xvids were created
and half the blu ray sites out there are actually run by hollywood
be careful

Re:true sceners dont use h264 (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42702887)

FYI, h.264 is a video compression format, and x264 is an encoder that produces h.264 output.

Saying "true sceners don't use h264 they use x264" is akin to saying "I don't drink coffee, I drink Folgers."

"this attempt never materialized"?? (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42700487)

They also included it in Chrome, with the intent to replace H.264, but this attempt never materialized.

Apart from the awful English, WebM has been quite successful, too: a lot of software packages use WebM because they don't need to license H.264, and not just open source software.

Video standards aren't replaced overnight, and in fact, in a lot of places can't be replaced at all. The best way of dealing with these kinds of compatibility issues is to offer an alternative when people need to upgrade and change hardware/software anyway. So, let's hope that WebM can compete with H.265, because then we have a real chance of largely getting rid of proprietary video standards.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700677)

WebM doesn't have the performance (in terms of bitrate vs quality) to compete with H.265.

please prove that statement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701057)

because it sounds like it's made up out of hope and pray.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (4, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42700737)

So, let's hope that WebM can compete with H.265, because then we have a real chance of largely getting rid of proprietary video standards.

WebM could barely compete with H.264, so how the hell is it going to compete with H.265 which is going to offer the same quality at H.264 but only use about half the bitrate?

If Google could have improved WebM this much, they would have.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701123)

The current WebM standard uses the VP8 video codec.
Google is currently working on VP9 [wikipedia.org], which is supposed to include major improvements to the quality/bitrate.

It's still in development, and I haven't seen much in the way of independent testing yet, but going by the statements of the developers it's a next-gen codec and should at least beat H.264 and be competitive with H.265.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701953)

The current WebM standard uses the VP8 video codec.

WebM is defined specifically as VP8 video streams and Vorbis audio streams in a Matroska container.

There cannot be another codec used while still being WebM. Google can work on a new codec, but it cannot be used in WebM because that would break everything. WebM is not a container.. WebM is a specification.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702967)

Right, so they'll call it WebM 2 or whatever.

The point is, when people say "let's hope that WebM can compete with H.265", they probably mean "let's hope VP9 can compete with H.265", while when they say "WebM could barely compete with H.264", they mean "VP8 could barely compete with H.264".

(BTW, the audio codec for next-gen WebM will probably be Opus [opus-codec.org], which by all accounts is excellent.)

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701421)

Not everything has to be the "best" to be the best. If your consumer base doesn't notice the difference between webm and H.265 and the bandwidth saved doesn't offset the royalties or it isn't your bandwidth or it makes a lot of sense to go the direction of webm. I think in a lot of cases webm is the best choice.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702561)

WebM could barely compete with H.264, so how the hell is it going to compete with H.265 which is going to offer the same quality at H.264 but only use about half the bitrate?

Video encoding is currently under the "it's free as long as your vid is unpopular" umbrella. From a content creator point of view (esp. as a dev who is implementing a video/audio encoder from scratch to turn in-engine playback/record into videos uploadable to youtube, etc.), implementing H.264/5 encoding isn't even on the table as a "maybe" option due to licensing BS. I think it's silly to call the fight of WebM vs H.264, especially from a content creator perspective. From a consumer perspective, I think it's far less important, and thus the argument is far weaker.

TL;DR: Bandwidth is cheap. The format war is fought in the authoring world, so what matters most is content creators & authoring tools.

If Google could have improved WebM this much, they would have.

[citation needed]

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#42700983)

So, let's hope that WebM can compete with H.265, because then we have a real chance of largely getting rid of proprietary video standards.

WebM is a distribution codec for YouTube. H.264 is core technology in digital television.

Theatrical production. Cable, broadcast and satellite distribution. Home video. Industrial applications... The list goes on and on and on.

The licensors of H.264/HEVC are global giants in R&D and manufacturing. Philips. Samsung, Mitsubishi. Panasonic. Toshiba. The 1181 H.264 licensees operate on more or less the same scale. The standards they adopt are the standards which stick.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#42701223)

Which part of "video standards aren't replaced overnight" went over your head?

You can look at PNG/JPEG to see how this is likely to play out, except that the incentives to move from H.264/5 to WebM are actually stronger for many people.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702583)

The Internet generations lives in its own bubble of Google products and startup dreams. The world out there is a bit different.

Re:"this attempt never materialized"?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702875)

incentives to move from H.264/5 to WebM are actually stronger for many people.

Yeah, FREEtards, who aren't as big of a group as they think they are thanks to the internet, who put "FREE" on the top of their priority list above quality, performance, appearance, scalability, compatibility, and every other factor under the sun. I store all the music on my PC in FLAC format. I encode to OGG Vorbis for use on my phone because the quality is CLEARLY better than MP3 at equal bitrates. WebM, on the other hand, sucks crusty gorilla cock compared to H.264 and only comes close if the H.264 baseline profile is used. Fuck off, and take your "FREE" shit with you.

Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (3, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about a year ago | (#42700561)

The answer is some variant of "follow the money", I'm sure, but why doesn't the standards body in question require that the standard be truly open?

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

xswl0931 (562013) | about a year ago | (#42700911)

The standard IS open in that during definition of it anyone (paying to be a member) can contribute, provide feedback, and vote. If you meant free as in beer, they could have required that, but then none of the corporations that did the R&D would have participated and we'd have many "standards" and not just one.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701381)

That was stupid though. There are companies which have an interest in these improvments beyond profiting off of the royalties.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42700931)

Its because they want something that is near the best technology possible at this time, and that means dealing with the people that do actually have technology that is near the best possible at this time. H.265 is a very large improvement over H.264 (about 50% of the bit rate for equal quality) and nobody in the "open" world can do that.

This is a huge upgrade for any business pushing digital video through wires and radio waves. Even in the case where encoder and decoder licenses are a large cost, they will still win big with this sort of upgrade. This effectively doubles their capacity with only a software change.

So no, patent-encumbered standards arent stupid. Adopting demonstrably very-far-from-optimal standards is stupid.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

lingon (559576) | about a year ago | (#42701411)

All of those patents are most likely incredibly trivial and all companies and organizations that sucessfully lobbied them in, did so not for their technological benefits but to make sure their patents were as widely used as possible.

If the ITU were to demand patent-free standards, they would be just as good but without the royalties.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42701501)

Did you just theorize that it was trivial to improve H.264 to use half the number of bits for a given video quality?

I'm simply amazed at the depths of the dream world that some people live in.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

LordKronos (470910) | about a year ago | (#42701997)

H.265 is a very large improvement over H.264 (about 50% of the bit rate for equal quality)

According to wikipedia, it's 35.4% smaller
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Efficiency_Video_Coding#Coding_efficiency [wikipedia.org]

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (1)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#42702299)

Anyone who believes they can describe the efficiency difference between two video codecs as one percentage with 3 significant digits needs their head examined.

Re:Patent-encumbered standards are stupid (0)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | about a year ago | (#42702345)

This is the ITU, the same geniuses behind the "leap second" that crashed computer systems all over the world last June (because god forbid our clocks should ever be out of synch with the Earth's rotation by more than one second - never mind that given the way time zones are set up, many places are off by over an hour anyway). I'd be surprised if they even know what a patent is let alone why it's a bad thing to have on a standardized file format.

H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (2)

Danathar (267989) | about a year ago | (#42700661)

Given how widespread H.264 hardware implementations are and the fact that blu-ray does not have H.265 I'd expect to see adoption first in the video conferencing world (SIP, H.323....CISCO/Tandberg, Polycom, etc)

For real time encoding H.265 can provide 30% reduction of bandwidth at the same bitrate. Transcoded content like what you might do at home will get some benefit but not as much as the real time stuff (streaming will benefit a lot too)

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (4, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about a year ago | (#42700751)

I also think that H.265 could find its way to satellite TV broadcasting, because its lower bandwidth requirements for 720p/1080i resolution video means they can add in more channels per satellite.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42700865)

I also think that H.265 could find its way to satellite TV broadcasting, because its lower bandwidth requirements for 720p/1080i resolution video means they can add in more channels per satellite.

You might be waiting a while. We're still stuck with MPEG2 for our SD channels, over DVB-T and DVB-S.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701627)

It sucks to be you. We never had anything other than h264 over dvbt.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42700923)

Just having the encoding doesn't mean they can do it. They'll need to update the hardware on the subscribers side for decoding H.265. That's going to take a lot of $$$.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (1)

aaron44126 (2631375) | about a year ago | (#42701241)

Or maybe they can keep the bandwidth the same (or not lower as much as they could) and instead take advantage of higher quality at the same bitrate... so that the channels don't look so terrible with compression artifacts all over the place.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#42700817)

First adaptation, as usual, will be by HQ rip groups and anime fansubbers. These people pride themselves in being on the cutting edge and implementing stuff that isn't implemented anywhere in hardware yet. They were the guys who moved from h.264 high profile to h.264 10 bit high profile when h.264 hardware support started to become prevalent. They were the ones who moved to h.264 when divx hardware support became prevalent. Etc.

Funnily enough, it was the same for h.264, divx/xvid and so on. Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if many of the guys encoding that stuff actually work in the industry and use their "hobby" as a testbed for new encoding techniques and methods before they go to mass production.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701797)

Wrong. You have it backwards. H.265 is an order of magnitude more computationally complex, so realtime will see the least benefits (given the realtime constraint) and offline encoding the most benefit. Also, a substantial amount of the compression gains come from being able to operate on larger macroblock sizes, and there are likely of more benefit for higher resolution material. So, expect this to be of most benefit for 1080p+ streaming video content.

Re:H.265 will gain traction in video conferencing (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year ago | (#42702931)

I expect we'll see services like Netflix jump on the bandwagon pretty fast. They already produce multiple copies of their videos in different codecs to cater to different device capabilities. If memory serves, they do VC-1 for the desktop client, low bitrate h.264 for the mobile clients, and high bitrate h.264 for the STB/console clients.

Migrating platforms which can support it to h.265 will provide them with immediate savings. There aren't that many of them, but the PS3 happens to be their flagship and development platform (it's the single most popular Netflix device so they launch new features on it first), and it can probably handle h.265 in software. It's a dumb CPU design for general use, but it excels at this sort of thing.

kill it via no support from firefox/opera/chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701345)

We need to fund developments of the webm standard to get it up to speed. With all the money Mozilla, Google, and even Opera is bringing in you would think that wouldn't be that terribly difficult. Start hiring/stealing the people with the know-how.

Another patent grenade from the ITU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701783)

In good ITU tradition, the new standard is a patent minefield.

Moronic Article (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42701927)

The 'H' video encoding standards have NOTHING to do with free-to-use codecs. They are a COMMERCIAL industrial standard, designed to be reasonable and safe to license, because of the patent pool.

Complaining that H265 will include some royalty mechanisms is like complaining that the sky is blue! Even the document that will detail the final H265 standard will NOT be free, just as today you have to pay to get a copy of the H264 standard.

The open-source movement is not the same as demanding "death to capitalism" or the end of profit, as some very stupid people here seem to think. The 'H' standards have nothing to do with open-source. However, because the 'H' standards are not industrial secrets, open-source developers can and will develop open-source encoders and decoders.

Talk of WebM is pure garbage, since the key developers of x264 looked at the source Google released, and discovered that VP8 had illegally ripped off the H264 standard (badly), taking advantage of the fact that VP8 was originally closed-source. In other words, Google was conned (actually, this isn't true- Google knew full well that VP8 infringed hundreds of patents, but simply wanted to transfer millions to the owners of the company).

If people want to be activists over the royalty situation, it should be with this goal. Encoders, and encoded video (including streamed) should be royalty free. Only the decoders (hardware or software) should pay a royalty. This way, once you own your tablet, laptop, phone, or Windows, you have already paid for the licence to decode H265, allowing all apps to use this format freely.

The advantage of H265 (and H264) to end users is clear. Tiny, extremely energy efficient, hardware circuits can handle the video decoding, providing first quality video services on devices of all kinds. The standards allow software teams (like those behind x264) to produce insanely efficient, ultra-high-quality encoding solutions, and also allow work to progress on very fast (although low quality or very high bandwidth) hardware encoders.

H265 promises (if the encoding efficiency shown by x264 is possible for H265) 4K films on existing Bluray technology- which is essential since the collapsing market for disks means that it is most unlikely a new disk standard will ever replace Bluray.

To conclude. Standards are good, and some standards will involve royalties.

(plus one Infuormative) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42702263)

but suufice it
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