h.264

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

VLC steps into next-gen video wars with VP9, HEVC support

VideoLAN's VLC media player software has added experimental support for two video compression formats, HEVC and VP9, that are at the center of a technologically and legally complicated fight for the future of online video.

VLC 2.1.1, free and open-source software released Thursday, continues with the program's broad support philosophy by supporting many compression formats. That neutrality, though, is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to next-generation video formats.

The video competition is chiefly between Google's open-source VP9 codec and HEVC, which has patent royalty burdens but which comes from a standards … 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

Windows - DivX is a stylish video player and converter, with some of its features locked behind a paywall.

DivX isn't just a powerful video converter, but a stylish universal video player as well. It can convert and play just about any video file you want and gives you plenty of advanced control over your product. Though some of its features are locked behind a paywall, it is worthy enough to be your sole conversion program.

In addition to a custom browser toolbar, this program's installation has a search page and home page takeover attached to the download. It tries to force you to accept one or the other, which is annoying. The program includes a video … Read more

Google, Nokia face off in video codec dispute

The nascent WebRTC standard for video communications on the Web has become a technology battleground pitting Google against Nokia.

The reason for a war not just of words but also of actions is a lowly technology called a codec, which compresses video for efficient networking and compact storage. Google wants the Net to embrace its royalty-free, open-source VP8 codec, but Nokia is trying to quash VP8 by refusing to license patents it says are required to use it.

Google, meanwhile, has come to the aid of Android phone maker HTC in a Nokia patent-infringement case that involves VP8.

Why the … Read more

Despite Google patent efforts, VP8 no shoo-in for Web video

A Google patent-licensing deal two weeks ago dramatically improved the fortunes of its VP8 video technology, but Nokia has added a barricade to what has already been an arduous road to adoption.

VP8 is a codec -- technology to encode and decode video or audio data for compact storage and efficient network streaming. Despite passionate debates about VP8 vs. the incumbent codec, H.264, most people need never care about video codecs.

But as video becomes ever more deeply embedded in the Net -- TV entertainment, chatting with friends, videoconferences for business, online schooling for children -- the video codec … Read more

Google reaches deal with MPEG LA over its VP8 video codec

Google has reached a licensing agreement with MPEG LA over patents that cover video compression, clearing the way for wider adoption of the Web giant's VP8 video codec and its streaming-video platform WebM.

The deal grants Google the right to sublicense the VP8 as well as the techniques in the forthcoming VP9 codec, which is already under development. MPEG LA also agreed to abandon its efforts to form a VP8 patent pool, which would have allowed it to cross-license its video patents.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not revealed.

"This is a significant milestone in Google's … Read more

Firefox video support expanding with WebRTC and H.264

Mozilla, which bowed to the market power of the H.264 video compression technology last year, now has built support for the patent-encumbered standard into the Nightly version of Firefox on Windows 7.

Mozilla can't actually ship H.264 in its open-source product because of the patent licensing requirements, so it decided instead to adapt Firefox to draw on H.264 support built into newer operating systems. The first step is done -- if not fully tested and debugged -- on Windows 7, according to a Mozilla blog post today.

Mozilla had thrown its weight behind VP8, a royalty-free … Read more

HEVC video standard finished; high-end improvements coming

An array of companies have finished work on video compression technology called HEVC or H.265 that promises better video to start with and that paves the way for higher-end extensions next year, they announced today.

The High Efficiency Video Codec supports 4K "UltraHD" video -- and perhaps 8K as well if the video industry can convince buyers that so many pixels are worthwhile. Perhaps more important, given how many people watch video online these days, it doubles video quality for a given network data capacity.

HEVC has the potential to spread very widely indeed. It's the … Read more

Best video tech for Web chat? Showdown set for March

After a fractious false start last year, Web standards makers will reconvene in Orlando, Fla., this March to try to settle a debate about the best video technology for browser-based chatting.

The Web-based chat standard, which holds the potential to bring Skype-like audio and video communication services to the Web, is called WebRTC. The debate about it centers on how best to compress video: the widely used industry-standard H.264 codec, or Google's royalty-free, open-source VP8 codec?

The discussion took some surprising twists and turns late last year -- including Google's last-minute action to postpone discussion because of … Read more