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Patent licensing terms still murky for next-gen video

A patent licensing group has revealed many names of the corporate muscle behind an important next-generation video compression technology -- but the license itself remains elusive even as the technology arrives in the marketplace.

The technology, called HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) or H.265, is a codec used to encode and decode video for more economical storage and transmission across networks. It's designed to make a transition to 4K Ultra HD video more feasible on today's network connections.

HEVC/H.265 is the sequel to today's dominant technology, AVC/H.264 -- and it's at … Read more

Review: KMPlayer

KMPlayer has evolved over the past few years, from a video player to a leading source for content discovery. The app's record-breaking viewership and the use of its flagship media is most visible on the gaming front, with a successful casting of Season 3 of the League of Legends World Championship. Alongside other forays into e-sports like GOM and Starcraft 2: Hearts of the Swarm, KMPlayer has established strong viewership that's created a whole new layer of interaction beyond its former identity as a standalone video player.

Pros

Unobtrusive layout: The main tools for video playback stay out … Read more

Review: VLC Codec Pack adds dozens of new formats to your media player of choice

VLC Codec Pack gives several different media players more support for videos and audio in a few seconds. It even comes with a brand-new media player that's loaded with features. If you constantly run into messages that your media player can't play a video or song, this download is awesome to have.

Though this pack shares a name with a very popular media player, it works with a few other players, as well. If you try it and it doesn't work with your player, the download includes a version of VLC's player, which gets high marks … Read more

Cisco, Mozilla open things up for real-time online video

Tapping into one of the biggest trends in information technology this year, Cisco will be open sourcing its H.264 codec for high-definition, online video.

The codec will be available to download for free as a binary module for use with the open-source project WebRTC. Cisco noted that it will not pass on its MPEG LA licensing costs for this module.

Mozilla already has signed up as one of the first supporters of Cisco's new strategy here by adding support for the OpenH.264 binary modules to Firefox.

Cisco and Mozilla reps declared that the free and open distribution … Read more

Review: Media Player Codec Pack adds format support to Windows Media Player

Media Player Codec Pack supercharges your Windows Media Player by adding support for dozens of new video and audio formats. If you'd rather not download a universal player to play all of your favorite songs and movies, this will be an essential boost to your built-in media player.

This comprehensive pack adds support for FLAC, MP4, FLV, and other video formats as well as some obscure audio files on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. You can install it by choosing between two installation modes -- easy and detailed. We recommend using detailed as you will be able … Read more

Apple acquires AlgoTrim, maker of compression tech, report says

Apple has acquired AlgoTrim, a Sweden-based specialist in algorithms for tasks like compressing images, video, and software, the Swedish publication Rapidus reported Wednesday.

The company got its start creating algorithms for feature phones but expanded to smartphones. AlgoTrim's Web site says its technology is used for fast decoding of images in Google's Gallery app for the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android and to compress firmware updates for Android phones for some device makers.

Asked about the report, Apple said in a statement, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not … Read more

Review: Skip the fuss with Axara Audio Converter

If you simply want to convert a funny WAV clip or a cool song in OGG into an MP3 that you can play on a smartphone or similar device as well as share with friends, Axara Audio Converter belongs on your short list, especially since you can try it free for 30 days, though the trial version only converts 30 percent of a file.

Axara Audio Converter's attractive, cleanly-rendered user interface takes its styling cues from Microsoft's Office suite, with a Start button menu and Ribbon-style toolbar that has four background color options. As Axara's documentation describes, … Read more

Google's VP9 video codec nearly done; YouTube will use it

Google plans to finish defining its VP9 video codec on June 17, providing a date on which the company will be able to start using the next-generation compression technology in Chrome and on YouTube.

"Last week, we hosted over 100 guests at a summit meeting for VP9, the WebM Project's next-generation open video codec. We were particularly happy to welcome our friends from YouTube, who spoke about their plans to support VP9 once support lands in Chrome," Matt Frost, senior business product manager for the WebM Project, said in a blog post Friday.

WebM is Google's … Read more

ORBX streaming tech could revolutionize computing

SAN FRANCISCO -- First-person shooter games don't appeal to Brendan Eich, Mozilla's chief technology guru and the guy who created JavaScript nearly two decades ago. He doesn't let his kids play them, either, he says. But he was so excited on Friday about showing off the potential of a new browser codec called ORBX.js at Autodesk's One Market Street offices here that he began playing Epic's Unreal Tournament 3 "Sanctuary" level in a room of 20 or so witnesses.

As Eich maneuvered somewhat awkwardly through the onslaught of opponents, Jules Urbach, CEO … Read more

Mozilla: Look ma, no plug-in for video, apps

A new codec from Mozilla and OTOY will let browsers run high-performance rendering apps like Autodesk and high-definition video without plug-ins, the companies unveiled Friday.

The new, open-source digital stream encoder and decoder, called ORBX.js, obviates the need for a plug-in like Flash, Sliverlight, or QuickTime to run HD video in the browser. Mozilla and OTOY expect live TV, watermarked video, and cloud gaming to all get a boost in HTML5-enabled browsers that support it. Currently, that list includes all five major browsers: IE 10, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.

"Thanks to our ongoing efforts in making the … Read more