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Friday, 27 August 2010 09:18

H264 video encoding will be free forever

Written by Nick Farell
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Could kick start the standard
The group that licenses patents for the widely used H.264 video encoding and streaming technology has committed to charge no royalties ever for use by Web sites that use it for freely available video. In February, the MPEG LA previously had declared free streaming wouldn't require royalty payments through December 31, 2015.

However  it has now lifted that limit forever in a move to kill off any hesitation to use the standard. Many felt that because it was going to charge for the use of its codec they would not use it. Adding a fee to streaming costs could have driven users to free rival video encoding technology, notably WebM from Google.  But is not clear what MPEG LA's cunning plan to make money based on the standard will be.

MPEG LA currently makes its cash by  charging royalties for use in other areas, including Blu-ray drives and disk reproduction, broadcast television, cameras, and video editing software. The rise of new codecs will make the video content of the Web a lot more interesting in coming years.

Nick Farell

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