Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 4th Feb 2010 00:12 UTC
Multimedia, AV We've got news from the MPEG-LA, regarding any possible H264 license changes they might institute at the end of this year. More specifically, they've put out a press release stating that they will not change one specific aspect of the license that governs the AVC Patent Portfolio (to which h264 belongs): MPEG-LA will not collect royalties for internet video that is free to end users. The press release is highly confusing, so let's de-construct what's going on here.
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RE: Comment by memson
by lemur2 on Thu 4th Feb 2010 01:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by memson"
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

Dear Lemur2, Thom and to a lesser extent Kroc - here is your dose of Crow. Please eat it all up and try not to choke.


Actually, it is a victory in a way.

MPEG LA were all set to charge for transmission of web video using h264 for the next licensing period.

Then the Thusnelda project came up with the goods, and Theora 1.1 was released with performance as good as h264. The W3C proposed Theora as the codec for HTML5, which in turn necessitated a massive FUD campaign from MPEG LA against Theora.

Essentially, the FUD hasn't worked. MPEG LA see a serious risk that people will use Theora and not h264 for web video, and hence be entirely free of threat from MPEG LA. This announcement is an admission from MPEG LA that if they charge for all transmission of h264 over the web in the next licensing period as they had intended, then h264 just wouldn't become the accepted codec for web video. Not a chance.

Not to worry, though ... there are still numerous licensing restrictions on h264, MPEG LA will still charge for commercial h264 video clips on the web, h264 is still patented to the hilt, threats of patent lawsuits surrounding the use of h264 are still prevalent, Theora 1.1 still performs as well as h264 does, Theora is still protected by the patents for VP3, and still no-one has nominated a patent earlier than the VP3 patents that can even remotely be considered to apply to Theora (despite Apple and others desperately seeking any owner of such a patent).

This announcement shouldn't really be a problem.

It is telling, in a way, that MPEG LA had to make this decision.

Edited 2010-02-04 01:16 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by memson
by hornett on Thu 4th Feb 2010 08:56 in reply to "RE: Comment by memson"
hornett Member since:
2005-09-19

Then the Thusnelda project came up with the goods, and Theora 1.1 was released with performance as good as h264. The W3C proposed Theora as the codec for HTML5, which in turn necessitated a massive FUD campaign from MPEG LA against Theora.


People keep saying this on OSNews, but I can't get Theora (even SVN version) looking anywhere near as good as x264.

My results are very similar to this:
http://saintdevelopment.com/media/

All the results I have so far seen which state otherwise seem to have disabled all the 264 high-complexity encoding methods (e.g. they are comparing Theora at slowest/best quality encoding with h264 baseline/quickest encoding).

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Comment by memson
by lemur2 on Thu 4th Feb 2010 09:05 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by memson"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Then the Thusnelda project came up with the goods, and Theora 1.1 was released with performance as good as h264. The W3C proposed Theora as the codec for HTML5, which in turn necessitated a massive FUD campaign from MPEG LA against Theora.


People keep saying this on OSNews, but I can't get Theora (even SVN version) looking anywhere near as good as x264.

My results are very similar to this:
http://saintdevelopment.com/media/

All the results I have so far seen which state otherwise seem to have disabled all the 264 high-complexity encoding methods (e.g. they are comparing Theora at slowest/best quality encoding with h264 baseline/quickest encoding).
"

The tinyvid.tv site had some excellent quality 720p movie trailers encoded in Theora 1.1, but the site has closed now because the required bandwidth was getting too heavy for them as more and more people are using Theora (since more and more people now have Firefox 3.5 or 3.6).

Edited 2010-02-04 09:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by memson
by aliquis on Thu 4th Feb 2010 10:41 in reply to "RE: Comment by memson"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Source for the claim that Theora 1.1 would be as good as H.264?

What I've read everywhere is that Theora is worse, even from our own Eugenia.

But then I don't know anything about version 1.1, but then there is H.265 to so ...

Also no matter what I've read on Slashdot earlier about Dirac which also is open and seem to be superior over Theora so why discuss Theora at all?

It's not like Theora is a market standard or something anyway so why go with it if it's not the best product?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac_(codec)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by memson
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 4th Feb 2010 10:45 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by memson"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It's not like Theora is a market standard


Well, it actually is. Every HTML5-capable browser supports Theora (except Safari), which means that everyone who has Chrome, Firefox, and Opera installed (32% of the market*) can playback Theora content on the web.

Since only Chrome and Safari support h264, h264 video on the web will give you a market reach of about 10%.

In other words... Theora is AT LEAST a better standard for web video than h264.

* Figures from NetApplications.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by memson
by lemur2 on Thu 4th Feb 2010 11:17 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by memson"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Source for the claim that Theora 1.1 would be as good as H.264?


See for yourself:
http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html

Same filesize, same bitrate, imperceptible difference in video quality.

http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-h-264-what...

Mozilla says:
What the web is really asking for is a codec that is implemented everywhere, that competes well on quality and doesn’t come with GIF-like surprises. Theora and Vorbis fit every part of this bill. You can actually use them on all of the desktop browsers, either via native support or via a Java plugin that actually works pretty well.

On the quality side what we’ve been able to do at Mozilla, with the help of the rest of the Xiph community, is to show that even though Theora is based on older, royalty-free technology, most people can’t really tell the difference between a video encoded with a decent Theora encoder and a video encoded with H.264.


What I've read everywhere is that Theora is worse, even from our own Eugenia.


Out of date.

But then I don't know anything about version 1.1, but then there is H.265 to so ...


Theora 1.1 is the current version. h.265 is vapour-ware, and it throws away more video data than h.264 anyway, so it probably won't be as high quality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.265
Although some agreements about the goals of an H.265 project have been reached, e.g. computational efficiency and high compression performance, the current state of technology does not yet seem mature for creation of an entirely new H.265 standard


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theora#Performance
More recently however, Xiph developers have compared the 1.1 Theora encoder to YouTube's H.264 and H.263+ encoders, in response to concerns about Theora's inferior performance from Chris DiBona, a Google employee. They found the results from Theora to be nearly the same as YouTube's H.264 output, and much better than the H.263+ output.

The performance characteristics of the Theora 1.0 reference implementation are dominated mostly by implementation issues inherited from the original VP3 code base. Work leading up to the 1.1 stable release was focused on improving on or eliminating these implementation problems. A May 2009 review of this work shows a considerable improvement in quality, both subjectively and as measured by PSNR, just by improving the forward DCT and quantisation matrices. A flaw in the version of FFmpeg used in the test initially led to incorrect reports of Theora PSNR surpassing that of H.264. Although not achieving this goal, the improvement in the measured PSNR and the perceived quality is considerable. Further work on adaptive quantization, as well as overall detailed subjective tuning of the codec, is still to come.


Also no matter what I've read on Slashdot earlier about Dirac which also is open and seem to be superior over Theora so why discuss Theora at all?


Dirac is theoretically better at very high resolutions and quality, but it is not at all competitive with smaller video clips. There is also no software for it commonly available (hence it is at best only "theoretically" better).

It's not like Theora is a market standard or something anyway so why go with it if it's not the best product?


It is the best open codec product by far.

Edited 2010-02-04 11:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by memson
by memson on Thu 4th Feb 2010 12:51 in reply to "RE: Comment by memson"
memson Member since:
2006-01-01

"Dear Lemur2, Thom and to a lesser extent Kroc - here is your dose of Crow. Please eat it all up and try not to choke.


Actually, it is a victory in a way.
"

Yes, and Crow is tasty.

Reply Parent Score: 2