MPEG LA’s AVC License Will Continue Not to Charge Royalties for Internet Video that is Free to End Users
(DENVER, CO, US – 2 February 2010) – MPEG LA announced today that its AVC Patent Portfolio License will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users (known as Internet Broadcast AVC Video) during the next License term from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2016. Products and services other than Internet Broadcast AVC Video continue to be royalty-bearing, and royalties to apply during the next term will be announced before the end of 2010.
MPEG LA's AVC Patent Portfolio License provides access to essential patent rights for the AVC/H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) digital video coding standard. In addition to Internet Broadcast AVC Video, MPEG LA’s AVC Patent Portfolio License provides coverage for devices that decode and encode AVC video, AVC video sold to end users for a fee on a title or subscription basis and free television video services. AVC video is used in set-top boxes, media player and other personal computer software, mobile devices including telephones and mobile television receivers, Blu-ray DiscTM players and recorders, Blu-ray video optical discs, game machines, personal media player devices and still and video cameras.
For more information about MPEG LA’s AVC License or to request a copy of the License, please visit
And then suddenly, Unisys asked for lots of money from everyone producing software which wrote GIFs.
Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
--Unisys 1995 (http://web.archive.org/web/19981203000955/http://lpf.ai.mit....)
"Unisys has frequently been asked whether a Unisys license is required in order to use LZW software obtained by downloading from the Internet or from other sources. The answer is simple. In all cases, a written license agreement or statement signed by an authorized Unisys representative is required from Unisys for all use, sale or distribution of any software (including so-called "freeware") and/or hardware providing LZW conversion capability (for example, downloaded software used for creating/displaying GIF images)."
--Unisys 1999 (http://web.archive.org/web/20021203075728/http://www.unisys....)
This assumes that nothing will come along to challenge or supersede h.264. If nothing else, we can hope that Theora will get more developers, at which point the whole browser-battle will resume, and the same solution will likely arise: further delay in fees, or switching to a free codec (remember, Theora will have improved in the meantime).
Edit: Ah. Submitter is a licensee of the technology in question. :)
Adobe has poured alot of resources into the Flash platform over the past few years, but most of the enhancements have been around video. Most of us Flash Developers will tell you we feel a little peeved that some areas have been overlooked... I know there has been a bug I've been tracking for over two years with Adobe that stops me using the SoundMixer class in any of my apps. This added competition of HTML5 is only going to be a good thing as it will make Adobe concentrate on all areas of the platform. Thats why I get frustrated that the only discussion is always around the damn video tag!
Apple is part of the group that owns the h.264 patents. They will make money from anyone who licenses it. This is why it is important for them to stop other codecs being available on their devices. If content providers decide to use a app instead of a website to publish their content on the iPhone/iPad Apple could very easily just deduct the licensing costs from the money received from the app store (Free apps are covered as free content).
This will force the owners of H264 to either create a fair price for the codec in 2016, or they will become irrelevant like RealPlayer, etc.
Theora is a generation older than H.264. There are features in H.264 that help compression that aren't in Theora, plus Theora has a few other problems (e.g. motion vectors no longer than 16 pixels). So a good H.264 encoder is always going to beat a good Theora encoder. Perhaps they'll be able to create a truly excellent Theora encoder that will mitigate the format's deficiencies as much as possible, and outperform the majority of H.264 encoders, but I wouldn't bet on it. The open-source x264 encoder is already very good, and is only going to get better. And the increasing use of H.264 for TV broadcast and Blu-ray surely means that there's going to be strong competition amongst the vendors of commercial H.264 encoders.
...that said, I think you are right.
Really all Flash has to do is hardware accelerate their video (easier said than done - and not just for full screen) and it will alleviate the poor performance perception as it is all software decoding right now.
Still though, content creators that don't want to pay fees should really pay attention to this situation. Video could get very expensive online shortly if we are all on the H.264 html5 <video> will save us bandwagon. It would really suck to have to go with proprietary video just to stay cheap.