Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 5th Nov 2016 22:29 UTC
Multimedia, AV

H.264 is a video compression codec standard. It is ubiquitous - internet video, Blu-ray, phones, security cameras, drones, everything. Everything uses H.264 now.

H.264 is a remarkable piece of technology. It is the result of 30+ years of work with one single goal: To reduce the bandwidth required for transmission of full-motion video.

Technically, it is very interesting. This post will give insight into some of the details at a high level - I hope to not bore you too much with the intricacies. Also note that many of the concepts explained here apply to video compression in general, and not just H.264.

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That's all great, but you have to pay...
by number9 on Sun 6th Nov 2016 01:08 UTC
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I had a fellow Ph.D. student working on a hardware codec that got rid of one of the "pay to play" portions of the H.264 codec. Google was highly interested in it (back in 2013). Odd that it is so ubiquitous, even though they offer free use to end users... the provider has to pay, as it is patented. From Wiki:

"H.264 is protected by patents owned by various parties. A license covering most (but not all) patents essential to H.264 is administered by patent pool MPEG LA.[2] Commercial use of patented H.264 technologies requires the payment of royalties to MPEG LA and other patent owners. MPEG LA has allowed the free use of H.264 technologies for streaming internet video that is free to end users, and Cisco Systems pays royalties to MPEG LA on behalf of the users of binaries for its open source H.264 encoder."

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