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Re: [whatwg] Video proposals

From: Asbjørn Ulsberg <asbjorn@ulsberg.no>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 12:48:29 +0100
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, "Robert Brodrecht" <w3c@robertdot.org>
Cc: public-html@w3.org, whatwg@whatwg.org
Message-ID: <op.tpje23z45rel5w@quark>

On Mon, 19 Mar 2007 23:03:43 +0100, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>  
wrote:

> Due to software patents, MPEG 4 costs money.

I actually know nothing about MPEG4's license, and even if I had it  
printed out on my desk, I wouldn't probably understand enough of it to  
make any assumptions or conclusions. As I'm no lawyer, I thus have to ask:  
How much does it cost and for whom? Would both authors and browser vendors  
have to pay someone something to use MPEG-4, or is it a royalty-free  
license of sorts, or what?

I think this is very interesting even if I'm not equipped with the lawyery  
competence required to understand the issues myself.

> Also, it requires more processing power than many devices have.

I believe most video card vendors are working on getting MPEG4 decoding  
support in their products. Isn't that correct?

> Who will pay for licenses to OLPC's machines?

Good point. It depends on the license, I guess. Does it really cost money  
for everyone to use, no matter how it's used?

> And, how will the get the power to decode?

It has to be supported in hardware somehow. I also think it's a lot more  
likely to get hardware decoding support for MPEG4 than it is to get it for  
Theora. MPEG4 hardware decoders exists already, but I don't know of any  
Theora decoders. Do you?

> I think it's vital that we find an open format that the free world can
> use.

MPEG-4 is open per se, but it's not free (as in beer). It's an  
international standard that unfortunately costs money to implement. Who it  
costs money for, why, and how much is a very interesting question I'd like  
to be answered somehow. If nobody on this list has the answer, I'll try to  
get them from my friends in NRK who are a bit more updated than me on the  
subject.

> If MPEG4 is the alternative, we might as well continue using Flash and
> <object>. But it's not a world I want to live in.

Do you really think MPEG4 is that bad? It's at least not proprietary and  
one-vendor-controlled the way Flash is. That has to count for something,  
no?

-- 
Asbjørn Ulsberg     -=|=-    http://virtuelvis.com/quark/
«He's a loathsome offensive brute, yet I can't look away»
Received on Wednesday, 21 March 2007 11:47:54 GMT

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