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Re: Mandatory vs optional codecs

From: Gili <cowwoc@bbs.darktech.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 14:40:11 -0400
Message-ID: <51CC870B.10108@bbs.darktech.org>
To: public-webrtc@w3.org
On a side note, contrary to what it might sound like, I don't have 
strong feelings on this topic. Nor am I necessarily best informed on 
this particular topic. I'm just sharing my feedback based on what came 
up in the conference.

Cheers,
Gili


On 6/27/2013 1:32 PM, Gili wrote:
> On 6/27/2013 12:34 PM, Silvia Pfeiffer wrote:
>> On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 10:19 AM, Gili <cowwoc@bbs.darktech.org> wrote:
>>> Ending the VP8/H264 war: A proposal was made to mandate a
>>> patent-unencumbered codec (whose patents have expired or are not 
>>> enforced)
>>> as mandatory and optionally upgrade to other codecs such as VP8 or H264
>>> depending on peer capabilities and personal preferences. VP8 guys 
>>> can use
>>> VP8. H264 guys can use H264. And if the two camps need to chat with 
>>> each
>>> other they can fall back on H263. This gives you the flexibility of
>>> arbitrary codecs without the need to do transcoding.
>> I'd just like to note that this is not a new proposal and has had
>> extensive discussion. If you search for it, you will find a lot of
>> discussion about it.
> Hi Silvia,
>
>     Next time please change the subject line when discussing 
> individual items, as the original email requested.
>
>> In summary, it has been rejected mainly because it's a huge step
>> backwards in encoding quality, which would take away a big reason of
>> the uptake of WebRTC.
>
>     This is only true when mixing parties which cannot agree on a 
> higher-end codec. If the connected peers agree on a higher-end codec 
> (which will be the case most of the time) you will get an excellent 
> user experience.
>
>     My own take is that H264 and VP8 proponents are lying to 
> themselves if they believe that they can force their views on others. 
> I don't see Microsoft, Apple convincing Google to accept a mandatory 
> H264 codec or the other way around (VP8 for Microsoft and Apple). What 
> I am proposing is the lesser evil, when compared to not being able to 
> connect to such endpoints or being forced to do transcoding.
>
>     To be clear, this is a legal and political matter. I don't 
> appreciate people trying to mask these issues by bringing up technical 
> arguments. This is perfectly doable from a technical perspective. We 
> don't need "the best" codec. We need a "good enough" baseline codec 
> and the ability to upgrade to "the best" codec if so desired.
>
>     Using H262 as a fallback means higher bandwidth usage for the same 
> visual quality. It only affects a tiny minority of cases and it's 
> worth noting that this problem is quickly going away, as the average 
> internet connection is improving by leaps and bounds with every 
> passing year. This is a self-correcting problem.
>
>     Patents issues are not going away anytime soon. Also, by taking 
> this approach there is far less incentive for a malicious company to 
> sue in the future because we've got an alternative to fall back on.
>
>> Also, the assumption that it's unencumbered when
>> it's a known IPR-enforced format is flawed.
>
>     I don't understand. How is H262 an IPR-enforced format? I gave 
> H262/H263 as an example but don't get stuck on the specifics. Feel 
> free to use the best patent unencumbered codec you can find.
>
>> In comparison VP8 provides
>> much higher quality and has the IPR agreement with MPEG-LA behind it
>> and the license statement stops companies that are using the codec
>> from suing on the codec. The Nokia court case around VP8 should
>> further clarify the IPR situation around VP8 and, given the already
>> widespread support of VP8, it seems likely that this is the last test
>> on VP8.
>
>     This is a positive development but in no way guarantees that more 
> Nokia-like situations won't arise in the future. VP8 could be safe 
> (for the record, I personally think it is) but we don't know for sure. 
> Mandatory codecs should have expired patents, period. There is no risk 
> there.
>
>> Given that the choice of H.263 would be a huge step backwards, the
>> easiest way to resolve this seems to me to just wait for the court
>> resolution. We're much better informed after that.
>
>     "A huge step backwards" is subjective and vague. Again, we're not 
> shooting for "the best" codec. We're shooting for "good enough with 
> the ability to upgrade to the best".
>
>     I oppose waiting for the court resolution. Who knows how long 
> it'll take and, in any case, the outcome does not prevent other cases 
> from being raised in the future. If millions of users jump on board, 
> VP8 becomes a juicy target for patent trolls. There isn't much you or 
> anyone else can do about this.
>
> Gili
Received on Thursday, 27 June 2013 18:40:45 UTC

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