Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th May 2010 23:22 UTC
Multimedia, AV There's an incredible amount of momentum behind Google's WebM Project. Opera, Mozilla, and of course Google will all include it in their browsers by default, meaning about 35% of web users will be able to use it with a minimal amount of fuss. On top of that, Microsoft has changed its previously announced plans to make HTML5 video in Internet Explorer 9 H264-only to include VP8 as well. Only Apple's opinion was unclear - until now.
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Patents not quality
by VistaUser on Fri 21st May 2010 00:27 UTC
VistaUser
Member since:
2008-03-08

While people seem to be commenting on the quality aspect of the link that Steve Jobs linked to, this may be missing the bigger menace.

It may be more a veiled threat about patents which the blog suggested that VP8 could potentially infringe.

I would love to see a good quality comparison between the codece though - kind of like the theora "improvements" that monty from Xiph did to show the improvements.

Edited 2010-05-21 00:28 UTC

Reply Score: 1

v RE: Patents not quality
by Fettarme H-Milch on Fri 21st May 2010 00:37 in reply to "Patents not quality"
RE[2]: Patents not quality
by galvanash on Fri 21st May 2010 01:00 in reply to "RE: Patents not quality"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I dont know if you have any clue what you are talking about, but if you do - that is simply a completely untrue statement. While some aspects of VP8 do have some similarities to h.264 baseline (as pointed out in the technical analysis) there are other things it does completely differently. Even the similar parts appear to be different enough to avoid patent issues - Google did study this thing before pulling the trigger...

VP8 is VP7 with some refinements. Before that you had VP6, VP5, VP4, VP3, etc. and so on. The fact that this is the last in a line of codecs that stretches back FAR before h.264 came into existence is relevent, and the fact that MPEG-LA has never attempted to collect royalties on any of On2's previous work is going to work against them to at least some degree if they try to litigate now...

Granted patent law is not like trademarks, but ignoring something for this long and then suddenly giving a shit is not going to work in their favor.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Patents not quality
by Valhalla on Fri 21st May 2010 01:37 in reply to "RE: Patents not quality"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


Didn't you get the memo? When Google releases the source code to a modified H264 Baseline codec, it does not infringe patents, because a.) the codec has a different name and b.) Google possesses magical fairy dust that makes all patent claims disappear. As a side result, btw, x264 is now also free of any patents.


Don't make things up, using Garrett-Glaser's comment of -"With regard to patents, VP8 copies way too much from H.264 for anyone sane to be comfortable with it, no matter whose word is behind the claim of being patent-free." and try to turn it into vp8 being 'a modified h264 baseline codec' comes of as quite desperate. As for the patents, Garrett-Glaser ignores patents so he is hardly qualified to make that judgement. Now he can definately make code comparisons between vp8 and x264 and make speculations, but I doubt he has any idea of wether the techniques in question are patented, or if they should hold up in court. Howerver, I think it's pretty reasonable to believe that Google themselves has a pretty good idea of exactly what is patented or not, it's sort of in their interest.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Patents not quality
by lemur2 on Fri 21st May 2010 01:13 in reply to "Patents not quality"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

While people seem to be commenting on the quality aspect of the link that Steve Jobs linked to, this may be missing the bigger menace. It may be more a veiled threat about patents which the blog suggested that VP8 could potentially infringe.


After doing an apparently thorough search, Google are saying they are very confident that it doesn't infringe.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/20/google_confident_on_vp8_and...
In a private email, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs even went so far as to say that unnamed forces were putting together a patent pool to "go after" Ogg Theora. Today, when The Reg asked if VP8 was vulnerable to patent attack, Google product manager Mike Jazayeri indicated this isn't a big concern for the company.

"We have done a pretty through analysis of VP8 and On2 Technologies prior to the acquisition and since then, and we are very confident with the technology and that's why we're open sourcing," he said.


My bold.

I would love to see a good quality comparison between the codece though - kind of like the theora "improvements" that monty from Xiph did to show the improvements.


There is no reason why the kind of optimisations that Xiph have applied to Theora for Theora 1.2 (Ptalarbvorm), which are still ongoing, cannot be applied to WebM also.

http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/theora/demo9.html

In particular, Activity masking, Altered Skip weighting, quantization matrix adjustments and Temporal RDO techniques might be useful.

Because of their nature, I'd imagine that the earlier improvements Xiph made to Theora (for Thusnelda), however, probably don't apply to WebM.

Likewise, since VP8 patents are released royalty-free by Google, there is a possibility that some of those techniques could be back-ported to Theora (as long as the file structure supports it).

Edited 2010-05-21 01:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Patents not quality
by Fettarme H-Milch on Fri 21st May 2010 10:11 in reply to "RE: Patents not quality"
Fettarme H-Milch Member since:
2010-02-16

"We have done a pretty through analysis of VP8 and On2 Technologies prior to the acquisition and since then, and we are very confident with the technology and that's why we're open sourcing," he said.

My bold.

Microsoft said the same about VC-1 a few years ago when they opened up Windows Media to the ITU consortium as competing standard against MPEG-4.
Turned out that Microsoft is not the sole patent holder. VC-1 is covered by fewer patents than MPEG-4 AVC, but it's still covered by 3rd parties' patents.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Patents not quality
by Luis on Fri 21st May 2010 12:16 in reply to "Patents not quality"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

While people seem to be commenting on the quality aspect of the link that Steve Jobs linked to, this may be missing the bigger menace.

It may be more a veiled threat about patents which the blog suggested that VP8 could potentially infringe.

I would love to see a good quality comparison between the codece though - kind of like the theora "improvements" that monty from Xiph did to show the improvements.


He did comment a few things in his blog. I asked about the quality of VP8 and this is what he said:

Quality of the format: Theora was good enough and VP8 is solidly better than Theora (even current Ptalar). So, awesome, it's a pretty pure win.

I know everyone wants a 'but how does it compare to h.264' answer, or more specifically 'how does it compare to x264'. A: Total red herring; none of the orgs with money involved care much about that answer. It's only good for trash talking, not actually winning a fight. B: I don't actually know for sure yet. We've been concentrating on evaluating the spec and the codebase quality rather than drag racing it, because pinning VP8's success on a size contest completely misses the point.

Theora was already beating some h.264 encoders out there (no, not x.264) and VP8 at very least already beats more. As far as the sourcebase goes, it raises the ceiling over Theora on how far we can improve things. Neither h.264 nor VP8 will be holding still.

...but once I have a clearer picture of the answer to B, I'll still fess up ;-) Chances are the answer is 'about the same', at least right now. We'll see.


He also has comments about the spec and the patents:
http://xiphmont.livejournal.com/50239.html

Reply Parent Score: 2