Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Oct 2013 23:33 UTC, submitted by drcoldfoot
Multimedia, AV

Remember the whole H.264 thing? Cisco just solved it for us - more or less.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard - H.264 - requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

Cisco will release the code of its H.264 codec under the BSD license, and will also make binaries available for just about every possible platform. Cisco will pay all the licensing costs - over the coming decade, this will cost them a whopping $65 million, illustrating just how expensive H.264 is, and how unrealistic it was to expect it to become a standard without a free implementation being available for everyone to use. It has to be noted that both end users and developers can make use of this.

Mozilla has already announced it will implement this codec into Firefox. All this is great, but it doesn't really address the issue in the long term - the next generation of codecs is coming, and once they arrive, this whole process starts all over again. Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?

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Fun Facts.
by westlake on Thu 31st Oct 2013 21:37 UTC
Member since:

Cisco is one of 29 H.264 licensors.

Global giants in manufacturing and R&D.

Think Ericsson, LG, Mitsubishi, NTT, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba....

There are 1,277 H.264 licensees.

The big names here --- the Fortune 500 of video technologies --- could meet the enterprise cap on H.264 royalties from the sweepings of loose change off their washroom floors.

H,264 is deeply entrenched in markets which exist outside the web. Markets in which Google has no power to influence events.

The geek needs to look beyond the web, beyond mobile. --- or his next-generation video codec will be dead on arrival.

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