AfterDawn: Tech news

MPEG-4 licensing deal finalized

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 16 Jul 2002 14:25 User comments (5)

After months of negotiations between patent owners and possible licensees, MPEG-4 licensing contract is finally ready. Joint licensing will be done through MPEG LA, just like MPEG-2 is done.
New terms seem to be much more relaxed for Net content publishers. Publishers have to pay $0.25 per subscriber or $0.02 per hour for MPEG-4 usage. Fees are also capped at maximum $1M per year. Also, small publishers with less than 50,000 subscribers, don't have to pay licensing fees at all. There are also several other licensing methods -- cable and satellite TV operators pay an annual lump sum for MPEG-4 licenses if they wish to use it (instead of now-standard MPEG-2).

Apple released its Quicktime 6 today, just hours before the MPEG LA's announcement. And yes, their new version is 100% MPEG-4 compatible. Encoder and decoder providers, such as Apple and DivXNetworks and various hardware manufacturers have the same $1M cap as web publishers do and they pay only if they sell/provide more than 50,000 units to public.

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5 user comments

116.7.2002 16:27

So now, I have to hope for built-in standard mpeg-4 compatability in home (standalone) DVD players, so that I may fit the legendary 110 minute's-worth of Hollywood movie (as suggested by your news item, "Coming At You: MPEG-4" by InterVideo Inc.) onto a standard 700MB cdr, for everyday playback as I now do with mpeg-1 vcds. Perhaps a better overall solution to DVD backup than even SVCD. Of course, this will require a completely new tutorial from AfterDawn !! -- Klingy --

216.7.2002 17:01

I would definately love to see native MPEG-4 support in future DVD players as well, but I really object the idea of Hollywood's masterminds to introduce HD-DVD as a red-laser DVD (holding the same max. 8GB per side as current discs) with MPEG-4. I put my vote to blue-laser DVD (27GB per side) with good ol' MPEG-2 as a future HD-DVD format (which will replace current DVDs, whatever the format finally will be). Ideal situation: HD-DVD will be adopted as blue-laser MPEG-2, but meanwhile all players will also start supporting standardized MPEG-4 with some yet-to-be-announced standard method to store it on CD (like VCD, SVCD, etc have their own filestructure, etc). And for DivX fans: the idea that DVD players would play simply .AVI files stored on regular Mode 1 CD is kinda utopistic, not gonna happen :-) Well, maybe in some Chinese cheap-never-heard-of-brand players, but Big Names require some standard how the file structure is stored on CD before they support it. Just my €0.02

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

316.7.2002 17:34

What a mess not only present-day digital video is in, but even moreso the digital video formats to come! [sigh]. One can hardly know what to do - or what to prepare for, or what he should adopt now in order to stave off obsolescence tomorrow. Blue-laser HD-DVD holding good 'ol mpeg-2 is certainly a nice idea, but as you say, if adopted, would render current dvd standards obsolete and p##s off a lot of people who have paid fortunes for their dvd collections *unless* compatible dual-standard players were produced. Frankly, right now, I'm glad I don't have a dvd burner. Despite it's considerable limitations in comparisons, CDR is *so* much simpler. There's too many current dvd standards (Intervideo Inc's "Don't Be Stumped...") for my investment dollars. I'm just a simple guy with simple needs/requests, mpeg-4 on a standard dvd standalone, burned on standard 700 meg cdrs. That's about as far ahead as I wish to think right now, because as I say, digital video is in a constant state of change, upheaval, with multiple new-format proposals, *none* of which may ever materialize. VHS - Ahhhhhh! Now, *those* were simpler times! -- Mike --

420.7.2002 10:33

Actually, whatever the standard will be -- blue-laser or red-laser -- the backwards support will be there, no one can ignore the fact that there are "couple of guys" who have purchased DVD movies in the past as well as audio CDs, so I see this as a natural evolution of the same format (in same way the VCD evolved to SVCD and to DVD -- look at the structure and standards they all use and it is clear that they adapt their history from the older 'brothers'). Like said, I think that the ideal situation would be that NG DVD players would move to use blue-laser technology and that HD-DVDs would use blue-laser discs with MPEG-2. Meanwhile virtually all MPEG decoder chips are going to include MPEG-4 decoding as well, which makes all DVD players capable of playing MPEG-4 clips anyway. Then only thing what would be required is to determine a standard how MPEG-4 should be stored on a disc (whether it is a CD, DVD or Blue-Laser DVD) in same manner as VCDs, SVCDs and DVDs are spec'd. Ah, maybe I'm just too optimistic...

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

520.7.2002 10:55

See? Video's in a total friggin' *mess* ! :) One universal disc player encompassing all established past (and a few current) video/audio standards???? (cd, vcd, svcd, xvcd, mpeg-2, mpeg-4, Hi-Def, & what-have-I-left-out?) (mp3? ogg? wma?) HA! (My, my, we *are* being optimistic today, aren't we dRD?) <grins> It's ok to dream though. We haven't even touched on DRM, built-in restrictions, copy-protections, licences, and however-else this new 'wonder-machine' will be crippled. One, big, friggin' mess. -- K.A. -- P.S. - God bless: a) The hackers b) The independent software writers c) AfterDawn's Tutorials Amid these three, we *may* be able to eke out some user-functionality from these new machines as we attempt to do now. ka

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