H.264 Free Internet Video Will be Royalty-Free Forever

H.264 logoThe MPEG LA organization, owners of the h.26x video codecs have announced that licensing of the h.264 video codec will remain permanently royalty free for those who provide free internet video to end users. Previously the moratorium on licensing fees was set to expire in 2016, at which point the plan was to begin charging sites like YouTube fees.

The announcement adds an interesting twist to the contentious recent issue of video codecs and HTML5. Currently the prevailing codec appears to be the proprietary lossy H.264 (MPEG AVC) codec. It is used in the HTML 5 video implementations for Internet Explorer 9, Safari, and Google Chrome. Google Chrome also supports Ogg Theora, along with Firefox and Opera. Opera, Firefox, and Chrome's Developer version all support Google's open-source royalty-free WebM video as well.

The issue is that using three formats -- Ogg Theora, WebM, and h.264 makes coding a bit of a headache as you need to upload all three formats and include source tags for all three formats if you want to be sure to support all users.

Now that h.264 licensing is free forever for free internet video, that should help Apple (whose CEO Steve Jobs is a major MPEG LA shareholder) and Microsoft push the format. However, it must be remembered that unlike Ogg Theora and WebM, MPEG LA does still plan to charge for paid video. This means that if sites like Hulu implement subscription services, they will likely have to pay for license. As will companies that deploy h.264 on their internal websites or use the format for offline purposes.

WebM and Ogg Theora, on the other hand are both free. And while h.264 is proprietary and closed source, both WebM and Ogg Theora are open-source community efforts.

On the other hand, MPEG LA contends that WebM likely violates its patents. The makers of h.264 are rumored to be preparing a suit against Google over the claims.

And one must also consider that "free" "forever" is somewhat of a misnomer, as h.264 won't be used "forever". It'll be only a matter of time before a superior codec will come along proprietary -- or not -- and these questions will be asked anew. Perhaps MPEG LA should say its "free for as long as it's in use".

Thus, while the h.264 announcement lets (some) video providers like YouTube to breathe a sigh of relief, it by no means has laid to rest the question of what formats browsers makers should support and endorse.

Source: DailyTech

Tags: H.264, HTML5

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

A mobile hotspot in Australia will be capable of hitting gigabit speeds on the go
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri will speak at MWC 2017
Preliminary data for October shows another Windows 10 boom
The Helio P15 packs an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2.2GHz
Microsoft’s event has been scheduled for October 26th so hopefully we’ll hear more about Redstone 2 then
Samsung claims up to 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power
A smartwatch prototype developed by researchers at the Dartmouth college
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments