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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RE[3]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 16:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes
Member since:
2011-04-25

Because licensing is actually negligible for for-profit businesses and having encoding/decoding built-in and tuned to your product and customers's needs rather than require a separate download and user interaction to the Cisco implementation and then being dependent on whatever Cisco has come up with for whatever hardware is preferable for these businesses and their users.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Hmmm...
by galvanash on Thu 31st Oct 2013 17:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm..."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Because licensing is actually negligible for for-profit businesses and having encoding/decoding built-in and tuned to your product and customers's needs rather than require a separate download and user interaction to the Cisco implementation and then being dependent on whatever Cisco has come up with for whatever hardware is preferable for these businesses and their users.


Ha. tell that to the guys in Asia making unlicensed player hardware that they can't sell in the states because of the patents... Ill bet they figure out a way to leverage this. Negligible is not the same as non-existent, and in some lines of business things like this have a way of bubbling over.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Hmmm...
by jared_wilkes on Thu 31st Oct 2013 18:25 in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm..."
jared_wilkes Member since:
2011-04-25

The question was: why would current licensees continue licensing if this is provided free by Cisco?

People who aren't paying licenses currently do not qualify as people who are paying licenses currently.

Reply Parent Score: 2