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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That's a whopper, alright
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 12:36 UTC
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

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.


Are we really claiming $6.5 million annually is "whopping", "expensive", and "unrealistic"? Remember: this is to serve 10s of millions to an INFINITE number of clients at zero additional cost because Cisco (and several other players -- INCLUDING GOOGLE) are most assuredly already at the capped figure.

Will another sugar daddy step up by that time?


Will the free software supporters realize that they should be directing this question at Google? After all, they're probably spending a similar rate on VP8 ( http://www.osnews.com/story/26849/Google_called_the_MPEG-LA_s_bluff... ) despite Thom's claims to the contrary and certainly spending more by developing the loser VP-series... but that cost is sunk in a loser, none of that cost actually goes into supporting the superior, dominant, and de facto H.264/H.265 codec.

Edited 2013-10-31 12:55 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: That's a whopper, alright
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:41 in reply to "That's a whopper, alright"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Will the free software supporters realize that they should be directing this question at Google? After all, they're probably spending a similar rate on VP8 ( http://www.osnews.com/story/26849/Google_called_the_MPEG-LA_s_bluff... ) despite Thom's claims to the contrary and certainly spending more by developing the loser VP-series... but that cost is sunk in a loser, none of that cost actually goes into supporting the superior, dominant, and de facto H.264/H.265 codec.


You expect free software supporters to fault Google for backing a royalty free standard because it is "losing" (whatever the f*ck that means) to the poster child for patent encumbered software? Really?

That is what kills me with you guys, you think there is a competition going on that the other side of your argument is trying to "win" at your expense. A patent encumbered "standard", no matter how "free" you make it, is still patent encumbered and there is still a whole party of companies out there trying to monetize it through licensing. It is what it is. webm may have a faint stench of patents on it after the Google/MPEGLA deal, but no one is trying to monetize it. Sure, Google wants to eventually make money with it, but not by selling it - they want to make money by using it.

Im practical - this gesture from Cisco solves a real problem in a practical way for quite a lot of people. But Im one of those pesky "free software" guys you are talking about I guess... I don't care one bit about this deal from Cisco - it solves absolutely nothing at all for me. I can see why Mozilla is going along with this, sometimes practical concerns trump ideals - they fought for a long time, but at some point the rubber hits the road and you have to get on with things. Just because they are holding their noses and going along with this doesn't mean they like it.

webm was not a perfect play. There were still "questions" about it from a patent point of view. Google paid the bill to make that problem go away - so it is in some respects tainted by that. But it is STILL orders of magnitude better than this deal from Cisco for people who care. Why? Because I can actually include my build of it in software, and I can even change it if I want to. I can in fact do pretty much whatever I want with it. I can encode a million videos and do whatever I want with those too. I can release code to others and they can use it without any threat of royalties. I can participate.

webm has no strings attached. h.264 has strings you can't see. Its not the same thing. Ill be happy to use h.264 whenever the patents expire or the patent pool is released without royalty - until then it is radioactive. Mozilla is putting on their hazmat suits so they can work with it, but there are not that many players in the open source world that have their particular problem set. This deal has virtually no effect on "fee software" - no one cares.

Reply Parent Score: 2

dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

"...a whole party of companies out there trying to monetize it through licensing."

And through other reserved means.

Reply Parent Score: 1

jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

You expect free software supporters to fault Google for backing a royalty free standard because it is "losing" (whatever the f*ck that means) to the poster child for patent encumbered software? Really?


Yes.

Now that you've bizarrely expressed incredulity in a grandiose manner towards a pretty clearly expressed statement on my part, do you have an actual question?

Reply Parent Score: 2