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RE: Mandated Video Format

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 10:11:51 -0700
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
CC: "doug.schepers@vectoreal.com" <doug.schepers@vectoreal.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5C276AFCCD083E4F94BD5C2DA883F05A27D6D617BB@tk5-exmlt-w600.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>

[yes, the co-chair hat is still off.]

Henri Sivonen [mailto:hsivonen@iki.fi] wrote:
>Well, you'd get three codecs unless you can get Apple and Microsoft
>to solve their pre-existing bigger codec battle.

Indeed.  And I would think getting Apple and Microsoft to solve their codec battles is outside the scope of this working group.  If we really want to get anything done.  :)

>> Maybe there is some other "more open" codec that is older and less
>> restrictive that is RF and more distributable?
>
>That would be Theora.
>
>If you want older than that and less submarine risk, you get Motion
>JPEG (no interframe compression) and uncompressed PCM audio in an AVI
>container, which is totally unsuited for Web used due to the size of
>files.

But it is much "safer" in terms of submarine risk.  That is what I was referring to, not H.264.  Hey, you said baseline.

>The reality of the matter is that with the current patent regime in
>place, every video compression method that is technically suitable
>for Web use carries a submarine patent risk. Due to the way the
>nature of patents has been twisted, it is impossible to do an
>exhaustive patent search. Theora is RF for all known patents.

Look, I'm not trying to be a bad guy here.  The following represents my personal viewpoint, not a Microsoft one.

[Microsoft hat off - Chris Wilson hat on]
I have a responsibility to not take severe risks on the part of Microsoft without business justification.  Despite claims of safe IP, there aren't a lot of unique techniques in video compression, and in my opinion the odds of Theora being really "IP-clean" are just about zero.  Mandating support for it in HTML would be demanding the biggest players - Microsoft and Apple, and Mozilla to a much less extent - to function as lawsuit shields, since as I've said in public before we're always sued first - and frequently (e.g. the Eolas case) only.  Fair?  Not particularly.  Is it possible to avoid?  No, not really - as Henri said, it's impossible to do an exhaustive patent search.  Do I like this?  No, from a personal perspective I hate patents with a passion.  I think the system is completely broken.  But it's the world we live in.  I'd rather avoid the issue entirely and let the market figure it out, and when the clock has run out, I'm sure there will be one baseline format.  Personally, I don't even care what it is, though of course I expect others at Microsoft do.
[Microsoft hat back on]

>H.264 and VC-1 are not RF

Indeed, and I wasn't suggesting mandating them.  I don't think we should mandate anything, just as we do not for images or sound.  But at any rate...
[chair hat back on]
I agree with Dan, an incubator group can be started if desired, but the topic of choosing a video codec for the web is not really in our charter.

-Chris
Received on Friday, 6 April 2007 17:12:49 UTC

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