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Isn't H.264 a proprietary and closed codec?

I was under the impression that Google wanted to use an open-source codec rather than fork over licensing fees.
 

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No, H.264 is an open standard, it just isn't free.

Just when we were finally going to make progress toward a standard for online video that had broad support, had the support for hardware acceleration and wouldn't require plug-ins Google has to come along and ruin everything.
 

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The way I understand it is that H.264 is not an open standard - it is encumbered by patents owned by MPEG-LA. While MPEG-LA has announced H.264 encoded internet video that is free to end users will never be charged for royalties,the fact it is still a proprietary standard does not change.

I actually applaud Google for trying to make this stand, but let's face it - the H.264 codec is the best one out there right now for home users. While I think the push to adopt open standards is noble, this is probably more just an attempt by Google to stick it to one of their biggest competitors in the smartphone market - Jobs and Co. The iPhone will only natively use the H.264 codec, so if Google decides to start swapping out H.264 videos with WebM in YouTube (which Google owns), then Apple will have to make big changes to their iOS devices.
 

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Then you don't understand what an 'open standard' is. It does not refer to the cost or to whether it is patent encumbered. It merely refers to other companies' ability to implement the standard in an open way.

USB, IEEE 1394 (also known as Firewire), HDMI, are all open standards that are also patent encumbered and require implementers to pay licensing fees to use them.

MPEG-LA (Wikipedia) does not own the patents, they merely enforce the patents on behalf of a patent pool. They do the same thing for the MPEG2 standard and are looking to do the same with the new LTE standard for mobile networks.
 

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Then you don't understand what an 'open standard' is. It does not refer to the cost or to whether it is patent encumbered. It merely refers to other companies' ability to implement the standard in an open way...
Yeah, sorry, I am mixed up with the 'open' terminology in this case. In any event, this will be interesting to see if Google is serious or not. ie, whether they start converting the YouTube videos over to WebM, just to stick it to Apple and its users.
 

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H.264 is NOT an open standard. It is OWNED and CONTROLLED by the MPEG LA consortium. It's a thoroughly patent encumbered CLOSED format which is incompatible with the philosophy behind the open standard goals of HTML5.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out in the mobile phone platform, especially on the Android platform. But there's still work left to do to perfect codecs such as WEBM/VP8 and especially Theora/Vorbis which I currently use on my Web site ( http://thecanadianpublic.com/?page_id=214 ), but which is still extremely processor intensive and far from as nice looking as H.264.

But at least for now I don't have to worry about having to pay huge sums of cash to a cartel for the "privilege" of freedom of expression, which even after paying up could still be taken away from me without any advanced warning.
 

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I'm sorry but H.264 is in fact an Open Standard. Being patent encumbered and non-free does not preclude a standard from being open. Openness merely refers to the ability to participate and in this case anyone who wants to can participate. There is no committee that votes on whether you are allowed to or not.

If anything, WebM is NOT open. It hasn't been submitted to any of the standards organizations because Google has decided that they want to keep full control. That fact that it may be free and open source does not make it an open standard especially since it hasn't been tested to be free of patent infringement.

Now, if you want to argue about software patents that's a whole other argument and not the subject of this thread.

For a good read on this whole situation you may want to read this posting to Ars Techinica that went up today.
 

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On another note, if Google is so interested in 'openness' then why aren't they dropping support for Flash from their browser? Flash certainly is not 'open' nor is it 'free'. It is completely controlled by one company, Adobe!

Why the double standard Google?

If you're not aware, Flash support is also built-in to the Chrome browser, no plug-in required. I'll start believing in Google's openness when they pull support for Flash out of the browser.
 

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I personally find this development fascinating. Google certainly has the power to push users to use browsers that support WebM through YouTube.

So, now we have the W3C/Firefox/Google camp and the MPEG/Microsoft/Apple camp. The real winner here may be Adobe. It'll give websites a solid reason to stick with Flash video.

Maybe iOS will need a Flash plugin after all. ;)
 
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