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  • EmmetBrown - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    > people analyzed the licensing terms for VP8 and realized that
    > Google offers no patent indemnification for potential users

    This is no different than what the MPEG-LA does (and you also hve to pay a lot here):
    Q: Are all AVC essential patents included?
    A: No assurance is or can be made that the License includes every essential patent.
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Thanks for quoting the MPEG-LA FAQ here.

    The contrast is that MPEG-LA will endeavour to bring the AVC patent in question into the patent pool (Otherwise, the holding company might be in trouble while utilizing the other patents in their H264 implementation). Google is not proposing to create a patent pool, and even if it were to, it is unlikely that other patent holders would like to give away their tech for free.

    Also, while MPEG-LA doesn't offer patent indemnification, H264 tech has been around for quite some time now, and there are no patents that I am aware of for H264, which is outside the MPEG-LA patent pool.
  • EmmetBrown - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Note that many speculated that H.264 may infringe some VP8 patents (VP8 was derived from previous On2 codecs, the VP8 source code also include comments dating from 2004, before H.264 was finalized) that Google could use to counter attack eventual litigation from MPEG-LA. Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Very much possible! That is why MPEG-LA wants to create a patent pool for VP8, and hasn't talked about suing Google yet.

    The lawyers are going to have a field day with this, definitely.

    As I said in the post, all is well if MPEG-LA is forced to change its licensing terms. The important thing is for Google to not continue to harp on VP8 if H264's licensing terms are fixed to the satisfaction of the open source community.
  • trochevs - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    "if H264's licensing terms are fixed to the satisfaction of the open source community. "

    This never going to happen until Steve Ballmer is CEO of MS. MS is holding the most of the patents for H.264. Open source software is threatening the core of MS business model and MS will do what ever possible to stop open source advances.

    Also even if MPEG-LA allow unlicensed decoding of H.264, it does not change nothing in regards of the future of the Internet. Internet needs both encoder and decoder free of restrictions of any kind. We are not going to see the real potentials of the Web Video until somebody has control on video production.

    So until we abolish software patents or MPEG-LA releases the H.264 to the public domain we need VP8 and it doesn't really count if doesn't provide better quality as long it is good enough. Remember in 1997 the web was looking horrible compared to AOL. Never the less the open web is here and AOL network is gone.
  • EmmetBrown - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    > Open source enthusiasts clamored for technology which could
    > stand up to the mighty H264 in terms of technical prowess,
    > particularly considering the fact that Theora compared very
    > poorly with it.

    That's not really true, at least for the H.264 implementations YouTube is using:
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    I remember reading that YouTube uses a variant of x264. The key here is scope for future improvements at the same bitrate. If YouTube were to update its variant to the current x264 version, the quality could be much better. I agree that there has been a lot of FUD around open source codecs, but we have to remember that open source codec development always has to be careful about treading on patents, and inevitably, in the bigger picture, the quality suffers.

    Remember that it is not only YouTube which will adopt WebM / VP8 if Google has its way. If websites like Vimeo also go the same route, the quality of HD video on the net is likely to be worse than what it would be if H264 were to be the standard.
  • EmmetBrown - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    > The introduction of VP8 may also lead to a demand from
    > consumers that their camcorders and PVRs record video in this
    > format. While companies are unlikely to yield in to this (and
    > Google itself wants to use this for Internet videos only)

    That's not really true, look here:

    also other developers are starting independent hardware implementations:
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    I don't think any of the listed hardware companies do consumer cameras or camcorders.

    The Google Group link also suggests decode only.

    Cameras and Camcorders do 'encoding', which is converting raw sensor data into video using some codec. Why would a company risk delivering not so good looking video on the HDTV with VP8, when they could create better looking videos at the same bit rate with H264 (for which so much silicon is already available and tried and tested)?

    As I have mentioned in the article, even Google agrees that this codec is meant for web use only.
  • EmmetBrown - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    > Also glaring is the absence of any technical rebuttals to Jason's
    > analysis (at least that we are aware of) from any Google
    > engineers or other proponents of VP8

    There are some comments about this from VP8 developers on webm blog:
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. The post, I see, was made on Thursday morning, and the draft for this article was prepared much before that.

    I will update the article and we will see how this pans out when other people join in to discuss the post you have linked.
  • iwodo - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    One thing we should consider when we compare x264 ( the best of H.264 encoder ) to WebM ( VP8 ), is to use Baseline profile for H.264 only. Because one of the biggest advantage / argument for H.264 is hardware acceleration. For where hardware acceleration matter most, the Mobile sector, their hardware decoder only/mostly support Baseline profile. So if we use a High Profile H.264 quality compare against VP8 and then assume most mobile gadget can get hardware acceleration is simply unfair comparison.

    VP8 doesn't have a spec. At least not in its current form. It can only be called a Commented / Documented Reference Encoder.
  • ganeshts - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    While your indication that hardware acceleration is available only for Baseline Profile H264 might hold true for yesteryear's devices, present generation chipsets support even High Profile 4.1 with just some bit rate restrictions.

    Compare Tegra 1 and Tegra 2 chipsets, and also take a look at Chips&Media IP series on their website. Previous generation used to support only baseline. Present generation can do L4.1 High Profile with 10 Mbps restriction for Tegra 2 and 30 Mbps restriction for the Chips&Media IP (Coda series). (Chips&Media is used in the Shanzai PMP chipsets such as those from Telechips and can decode 1080p videos on to small PMP screens / output to HDMI also).

    VP8, as a spec, people say, is comparable to only Baseline H264. Personally, I feel we are regressing on the quality we could have, because H264 hardware decode is maturing fast. VP8 will take some time to catch up, and unless a new version of the codec appears to catch up with High Profile, will always lag on quality. VP8 is going to take quite some time to catch up on that front.
  • iwodo - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    Yes. Today's new chips set may support High Profile. But how many of them are shipped?
    Compare to Millions of iPhone / iPod Touch Devices that still only support Baseline Profile.
  • ajp_anton - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    One of the x264 developers wrote a blog about VP8:

    There are comparisons somewhere near the end with both screenshots and the whole video downloadable.
    x264, high profile:
    x264, baseline profile:
  • CountDown_0 - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    I'm not saying that Froyo, Google TV and WebM are not interesting, but... One thing I noticed is that nobody seems to have spent a single word about Google Wave. Does this mean bad news for that project? Reply
  • Casper42 - Friday, May 28, 2010 - link

    What about it? Its been out for a while now so its kinda old news.
    Also doesn't tie in much with Anandtech, being mainly a hardware site.
  • awaken688 - Saturday, May 29, 2010 - link

    "In a perfect world, we would have no software patents and everyone would be capable of using the best technology available. However, for now, we will have to put up with these types of laws and patents."

    You need to keep obvious bias from your articles. Not everyone in the world thinks everything should be open-sourced and free for all. As much as the patent trolling and patent squatting sucks, the core fundamentals of the system are what drive a lot of innovation. Many of these companies wouldn't even bother putting in the R & D if someone else could just come in and steal it without having to pay that cost.

    Long story short, keep it technical, objective, and less biased.
  • ganeshts - Sunday, May 30, 2010 - link

    Thanks for your comment.

    This article is meant to be Anandtech's take / opinion on the introductions. So, there will definitely be a bias.

    For an unbiased report, we have DailyTech's articles.

    Also, many engineers who work in the industry believe that software patents are not that great. Patents that reflect actual hardware / system designs make more sense. Otherwise, we end up with patents like the one issued for 'Linked List' [ Check this out: ]
  • flatline403 - Saturday, May 29, 2010 - link

    I assume Ganesh is not a native English speaker. This is a good article with good technical details, but it's badly in need of careful editing. Reply
  • Wolfpup - Monday, June 07, 2010 - link

    Huh...I'm very surprised that Sony's partnering with Google for this. I like Sony, and frankly don't like gimicky stuff in my electronics, but they're usually slower in including random extra stuff. Google TV actually sounds kind of neat, and it's a pleasant surprise that it's being included in hardware I'd actually consider buying, rather than from Funyaoje or whatever random company. I'll be curious as to what it actually does, but if it's useful enough I could actually see myself buying another Sony Blu Ray player with it, and I've NEVER said that about one of these extra services bundled on players before. Reply
  • mike87d - Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - link

    I'm looking forward to the session on Google TV (as an owner of a Google TV companion box). I bought the Logitech Revue from my employer, DISH Network, for $179 and love the ability I now have to do one search and find whatever I want to watch whether it's on my DVR, on Amazon/Netflix VOD, Youtube or somewhere else on the web. There really is no other device out there like it and so I, of course, want to see it grow. Quite literally the best purchase I made in all of 2010. Reply

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