More on Video Codecs

Recently, there was some discussion about Theora, H.264 and video codecs prompted by  Hugo’s Open Letter to Steve Jobs. In response we reiterated that:

We believe that it is in the public interest for HTML5 video to be backed by multiple, open and royalty-free codecs available in a way that is consistent with the W3C license standards. We would absolutely consider H.264 if MPEG LA would make it available under open web terms as defined by the W3C standards.  We stand by our position on Theora.

Often the debate is improperly framed as Theora v. H.264 or (name your codec), when the real question is what are the best, open, royalty-free codecs available that are compatible with and provide the best quality for the open web. Today, only Theora meets this criteria. In the future, it could be H.264, it could be another codec; some meaningful choices would be good.

18 Responses to More on Video Codecs

  1. j says:

    Dirac would also qualify as an open, royalty-free codecs

  2. Why wouldn’t it be on2′s VP8?

  3. Colby Russell says:

    Corey, likely because the announcement hasn’t been made yet.

  4. Daniel says:

    Too bad, IE won’t support Theora :(

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  6. Don says:

    MPEG have apparently put out a call to see if national bodies are interested in them developing royalty free codecs. They specifically mention the web:

    “Given that there is a desire for using royalty free video coding technologies for some applications such as video distribution over the Internet, MPEG wishes to enquire of National Bodies about their willingness to commit to active participation (as defined by Section 6.2.1.4 of the JTC1 directives) in developing a Type-1 video coding standard.”

    http://www.robglidden.com/2010/04/mpeg-resolution-on-royalty-free-standardization/

    I assume Mozilla will be pursuing this since it is partly their actions in pushing the question of royalty free video that has made this possible. (I believe the Chinese government, sick of being on the wrong end of royalty payments is a strong proponent of this too.)

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  8. Duv says:

    As much as I would assume that Mozilla would be looking into this. It’s M

  9. Duv says:

    Don
    As much as I would assume that Mozilla would be looking into this. It’s MPEG, they have a tendency to produce codecs that are very much blind to the patent issues that would hold any adoption in OS works like Mozilla.
    Producing something that is royalty free would have to address the issue of patents directly. Given that MPEG is industry backed (argo has a vested interest) , I am not sure how well that would fare.
    Also keep in mind that even staring such a process, it would take YEARS before a codec is produced that would meet the requirements of W3C (and that is not even taking into account the duties that Mozilla has to uphold under its tri-lisences)… Still, an interesting move on MPEG’s part, I would not overlook this.

    Oh yeah, sorry about the cut post.
    Duv

    • turrican says:

      Duv, all,

      MÜEG’s goal is to standardize the best solution based on industry needs. Further on, the solution is provided by the industry. Of course, industry which puts efforts into providing solutions does not have a big interest to provide it for free. On the other hand, neither Mozilla nor any other open source player is present during MPEG standardization. So, blaming MPEG is certainly not the right thing to do, without providing alternatives. Major part of these alternatives certainly is to not simply copy concepts, as it is done in Ogg Theora/Vorbis in the past. with the main purpose to not infringe any patents, but to develop new technology. Only if the later takes place, open source community has the right to ask for alternatives to patent encumbered solutions…

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  11. AndersH says:

    > We would absolutely consider H.264 if MPEG LA would make it available under open web terms

    You make it sound as if all patents covering H.264 are part of the patent pool that MPEG LA administers. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

    • Lachlan Hunt says:

      “You make it sound as if all patents covering H.264 are part of the patent pool that MPEG LA administers. Do you have any evidence that this is the case?”

      AndersH, while there is certainly always uncertainty when it comes to patent issues, the MPEG-LA have been administering the h.264 patent pool for a number of years, and so far, no other patent holders have come forward to claim royalties, who haven’t joined the pool. So there is no evidence to suggest that there are other applicable patents outside of the pool, and that is, unfortunately, the only assurance you can get.

      It sucks badly, but it’s a symptom of the incredibly broken patent system that we are stuck with today.

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  16. Nồi hơi says:

    thanks your post

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