Linked by ddc_ on Mon 30th Mar 2015 21:14 UTC
Multimedia, AV

HEVC Advance, another patent licensing group, completely independent from MPEG LA, has announced its existence, but not its licensing fees. The uncertainty and potential costs may hinder acceptance of MPEG's next generation HEVC coding format, also known as h.265.

This is good news for Google, who has just released another RC for their VP9 codec and for Xiph.org, who are finalizing their Daala.

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RE[2]: FUD
by 1c3d0g on Tue 31st Mar 2015 04:08 UTC in reply to "RE: FUD"
1c3d0g
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wouldn't call it "interesting" by any stretch of the imagination!

The last time these patent trolls had a spat, things turned out pretty nasty for every side involved with video codecs. H.264 adoption temporarily ground to a halt due to its uncertain future (hardware-based accelerators especially were delayed an eternity), VP8 was under siege by pretty much every media/encoding company in existence and any other company trying to come up with an alternative codec for proposal as a standard quickly shelved their products or even destroyed any documents relating to codec development out of fear from litigation by the army of lawyers greedily anticipating big payouts.

And I'm not even going into all the technical deficiencies in codecs these patent wars have caused (there's only so many ways to efficiently compress a frame before you run into all sorts of serious problems - energy-related, iq-related, footprint-related etc. etc. etc.). Not to mention the difficulties (to put it lightly) every other open source project had to endure to come up with a competing, but almost always inferior, codec, that ultimately didn't get implemented as a standard anyway - thanks to these patent trolls.

No, "interesting" is the last word I would use in such an event. ;)

Edited 2015-03-31 04:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: FUD
by Alfman on Tue 31st Mar 2015 04:32 in reply to "RE[2]: FUD"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

1c3d0g,

And I'm not even going into all the technical deficiencies in codecs these patent wars have caused (there's only so many ways to efficiently compress a frame before you run into all sorts of serious problems - energy-related, iq-related, footprint-related etc. etc. etc.). Not to mention the difficulties (to put it lightly) every other open source project had to endure to come up with a competing, but almost always inferior, codec, that ultimately didn't get implemented as a standard anyway - thanks to these patent trolls.


This is the saddest part of it all IMHO. Having stupid patent policies creates pressure for software developers to design sub-optimal software around legal restrictions instead of building the best software we can. It's not just open source either, even closed proprietary software vendors get sued for royalties and to cease using the best algorithms. Most devs are in agreement that incentives under the US patent system are ass backwards for the software industry. The problem is that politicians are too busy lining their pockets with lobbying money to give a crap.

Edited 2015-03-31 04:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: FUD
by galvanash on Tue 31st Mar 2015 05:46 in reply to "RE[2]: FUD"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The last time these patent trolls had a spat, things turned out pretty nasty for every side involved with video codecs.


So a unified patent pool aggressively going about the business of marginalizing efforts such as VP9 and Daala would be better? I say let them have their in-fighting, I'd much rather them pointing their guns at each other...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: FUD
by 1c3d0g on Tue 31st Mar 2015 17:26 in reply to "RE[3]: FUD"
1c3d0g Member since:
2005-07-06

The thing is, you have to look at it from a litigation point of view. Once a big patent troll is defeated in the courts, progress can continue rapidly on development of the codec, or in case of failure, development of a modified or completely "cleanroom-type", next-generation codec. If there's more than one patent troll however, things can and will get ugly pretty fast, with some choosing to negotiate & settle and others willing to continue relentless litigation until the end of time, if they have to.

The important thing to focus on here is certainty. As long as the future of a particular codec is in doubt, no company will touch it with a ten foot pole. This hampers progress in every sector you can think of. All those 4K videos that will be coming out in the near future will be useless without h.265/VP9 or some other advanced codec to, for example, minimize footprint. Hardware accelerators also take a long time to develop, the more there's a threat of litigation, the more companies will refuse to invest in R&D. Those videos that are encoded in a particular next-gen codec will absolutely suck your battery dry without these dedicated accelerators in place. And since most of them are part of an SoC, you can begin to understand the scope of the problem if there are multiple patent trolls roaming free.

Reply Parent Score: 4