Choosing a codec

The State of Video Codecs 2016

015 was a tumultuous year for codecs. HEVC seemed like a sure thing in January, looked to be in trouble in July, but was happily resuscitated in December, albeit with some missing productive months from its useful life. Open source codecs began the year with the entropy normal only in the codec world, as entities with clearly aligned goals evolved in completely different directions. Then, in the rarest of occurrences, the companies reversed course and converged toward a single standard, which almost certainly helped shove HEVC back on its intended path. Along the way, there were some interesting new technologies making the usual bold (and unproven) claims of pristine quality at seemingly impossible data rates (PERSEUS, Tveon). In case you missed it all, here is your codec year in review.

Technicolor Withdraws from the HEVC Advance Patent Pool

On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016, Technicolor issued a press release stating that the company had decided to “license its HEVC IP portfolio directly to device manufacturers rather than through the HEVC Advance patent pool.” The release further stated that Technicolor had signed a “material patent license” with an unspecified third party which it hoped would “pave the way for the industry to adopt the HEVC standard.”

Joicaster Review: A Simple Platform for Live Video Distribution

Joicaster is a web-based live streaming syndication platform that takes a single live stream and pushes it out to multiple services, including YouTube Live, Ustream, and Twitch, as well as commercial sites. Joicaster is affordable, straightforward to operate, and performed well in all my tests. If distributing to multiple live streaming platforms is a problem for you, Joicaster could very well be the solution.

HEVC Advance Releases Revised Licensing Terms

When HEVC Advance first proposed royalty rates and policies in July 2015, the terms were almost universally criticised, if not vilified. Recognizing that the proposed structure would slow HEVC adoption rather than promote it, HEVC Advance has issued a sweeping revision that addresses nearly all of the earlier concerns. While the ultimate fairness of the new terms will be determined by those who have to sign the license agreement and pay the royalty, the new terms are much closer to those for competiting offerings and older technologies like H.264.

HEVC's Journey in 2015: Going Downhill and Gaining Speed

At the start of 2015, the future of HEVC seemed clean and green. There was a single patent pool, and royalties were capped at a reasonable rate. Meanwhile, the open source world was a mess, with multiple codecs from multiple sources, and only a hint of potential cooperation. Ten months later, the situation has totally reversed. HEVC is in disarray, with two patent pools (the second with near-usurious rates and no caps) and the threat of a third, while all open source efforts have consolidated into a single, focused whole. To paraphrase Talking Heads: “Well, how did we get here?” Let’s review.

Moscow State Releases First HEVC Comparison

Over the last few years, the Moscow State University Graphics and Media Lab (MSU) has produced the most highly-respected H.264 codec comparisons available. In October, MSU released its first HEVC comparison, which promises to achieve the same significance with the new codec. During the testing, which involved 20 HD video clips encoded to an exhaustive array of configurations, MSU compared eight HEVC codecs, including x265 and two codecs each from Intel and Ittiam, while also assessing how HEVC compared to Google’s VP9 and the winner of most previous H.264 trials, x264. As usual, MSU described its findings in free and pro versions ($850) of a report.

Current Status of HEVC Royalties

This post will quickly summarize the current status of HEVC royalties. There are two existing patent pools. The first was assembled by MPEG LA and calls for royalties of $0.20/unit on encoders and decoders, after a 100,000 de minimus exception, wi...

HEVC Advance Royalties: Onerous or Not?

There has been lots of discussion about how onerous the content royalties proposed by HEVC Advance are for streaming distributors. In this article, I analyze the impact of those royalties on HEVC adoption and usage using two models, the M-Go model, f...

HEVC Advance: What Do the Royalties Mean for Video Publishers?

HEVC Advance shook up the codec world when they announced proposed royalty policies in July, 2015, that included much higher hardware royalties then MPEG LA is seeking, without a cap, as well as royalties on content. In this article on streaming me...

VP9 vs. HEVC Quality Comparison is up on

My article, The Great UHD Codec Debate: Google's VP9 vs. HEVC/H.265, is up on Streaming Media. Here's the intro that describes what I tried to do. As of today, the great UHD codec debate involves two main participants: Google’s VP9 and HEVC/H.265. ...