the smooves blog: all about online video technology
In blog post that Cisco shared with us yesterday, Cisco announced that it has open-sourced its H.264 codec, and will provide it as a downloadable binary module at no charge. Here’s the key bit: “Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.”
The last few words (“free for use in WebRTC”) seemed, at first, to indicate that free H.264 usage will be limited to the encode/decode tasks essential to WebRTC (described in the following section). However, our communications with Cisco and Mozilla indicate that the license will extend to HTML5 playback, so browsers that haven’t yet licensed H.264, most notably Firefox and Opera, can use the Cisco module to playback H.264-encoded video.
Alex Zambelli, senior technical evangelist for the Microsoft Media Platform, explained why DASH will take off in 2013:
“I would say 2012 has really been sort of early adopters here. I think next year we’re going to see broad adoption and really I think the event that’s going to allow that to happen will be the publication of what’s known as DASH-264,” Zambelli said. “DASH-264 is really where we start getting into the specifics of DASH that enable interoperability. So DASH-264 is an application profile that’s being defined by the DASH Industry Forum which is right now about 50 or so companies that joined together into DASH Industry Forum to help really both evangelize the standard and help adoption and also to define those specifics that will enable interoperability.”
It’s these specifics that will allow widespread use of DASH.
According to Adobe, Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will be the last mobile platform to use a Flash plugin. The OS is launching without one, though. Given Flash’s terrible track record with mobile, it wouldn’t be surprising if it never arrives. Therefore, video publishers should ensure their Android video works in HTML5.
In terms of encoding, the H.264 codec is baked into the CPU of every single mobile phone today, while WebM is still confined to a software-only (and non-HTML5) implementation on some Android devices. Google is working on hardware, but the path from reference designs to phone integration, and eventually market share, is a long one.
Until WebM hardware decoding is supported by a decent slice of mobile devices, video publishers will continue to focus on H.264. Seeing this, Google continues to support H264 in Chrome, despite announcing that it would drop it almost a year ago. For all intents and purposes, H.264 is the baseline codec for HTML5 video at present.
YesVideo has made that sharing even easier, with Facebook integration that lets users post their vintage videos directly on their Timelines. According to Chang, about 40 percent of YesVideo customers are connected to Facebook, and 25 percent of those connected have shared videos on the social network. About 20 percent of all new users get referred through Facebook, so the integration, while good for users, is also a good lead generator.
With the Timeline integration, users will be able to title, time-stamp, and add metadata to a piece of content — whether it be a photo or an indexed video clip — and it will automatically appear in Timeline in the year in which it was shot. That will allow customers to pinpoint the exact date that certain milestones or events happened.
Making vintage content digital, shareable, and available anywhere will hopefully keep users coming back. But making that content social will help bring in new users.
MPEG-2 has long been the codec of choice for both DVD and broadcast delivery Sorenson Video 3 codec was built for high quality video and worked great for progressive download and CD-ROM videos Sorenson Spark codec was aimed at delivering video quickly for more immediate playback on the bandwidths of the timeAs time went on and bandwidth on both the web and disk increased, we eventually saw the delivery and adoption of H.264, which was adopted for playback on both disk — via Blu-ray — and the web through every popular web format and device.
H.264 is a high-quality codec that has been able to fit well into modern delivery formats and has become the undisputed champion and standard of codecs.Since this is the case, why would one of the most talked about topics at this year’s International Broadcasters Conference (IBC) be HEVC (H.265)? Who needs it, and what does anyone have to gain from it? If it is indeed on its way, how can both producers and consumers prepare for it, and how will it impact production and delivery workflows?
Who Needs HEVC and Who Gains from It?
The simple answer is anyone who is producing, consuming, or delivering modern video. Video producers are always looking for ways to improve their video quality, while consumers want the best viewing experience and content distribu