HEVC codec owner eliminates non-physical license fees

HEVC codec owner eliminates non-physical license fees
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Published: 19 March 2018 - 8:44 a.m.
By: Pranav Vadehra

HEVC Advance, an independent licensing administrator, announced that it has eliminated “subscription” and “title-by-title” content distribution from the HEVC Advance Patent License in an effort to further accelerate HEVC adoption and support streaming, cable, over-the-air broadcast, and satellite distributors to bring the best video experience to consumers. With this announcement, HEVC Advance will no longer license nor seek royalty fees for non-physical HEVC content distribution including Internet streaming, cable, over-the-air broadcast, and satellite.

“HEVC Advance has worked hard since its inception to facilitate HEVC adoption and enable consumers to enjoy the best video experience. By eliminating non-physical HEVC content distribution from our license, we are transforming to meet the needs of distributors looking to adopt HEVC and bring the incredible bandwidth savings and clarity of 4K UHD to consumers,” stated HEVC Advance CEO Pete Moller.

HEVC Advance has further expanded its discounts for Region 1 Lower-Priced Connected Home and Other Devices Category to include sales up to $80 per unit. It has also reduced its combined $45MM Device and Content Distribution Enterprise caps to a single Enterprise cap of $40MM, and expanded its Trademark Program discounts to include physical media. Physical content distribution (i.e., Blu-ray Discs and other physical media) and devices will continue to be licensed. Details and an updated Royalty Chart can be found at https://www.hevcadvance.com.

Guido Meardi, CEO and Co-Founder, V-Nova Ltd commented on the development saying, “The mobile video industry needs a royalty-free alternative – a codec that would not slow down device ecosystem growth with per-device royalty costs, offering at least the performances of HEVC, and if possible better. The interesting thing to notice is that royalty-free does not necessarily mean license free.”

“Valuable code-optimized, maintained software solutions must come at a cost: some fee must pay for the salaries of the people working on it, and volunteering work can only go so far. If an operator wants to deploy a codec such as VP9, they will either have to pay a company that packages the codec into a deployable supported solution, or they will have to assemble and maintain an internal team of programmers, dev ops, quality assurance and service professionals dedicated to that effort: either way, it costs money”

"Software licensing is usage-based paid by the operator ( i.e., you pay for it when you use it and when you have demonstrable benefits that more than make up for the extra costs), while royalties to enable dedicated hardware acceleration are per device and ultimately paid by the user,” Meardi added.

Codec development projects such as VP9 and AV1 have pursued the royalty avoidance route by giving away for free the patents that allow chipmakers to design hardware acceleration for the codec.

“The design of VP9 and AV1 is free, which allows any solution developer to develop paid commercial solutions based on it. However, as brilliantly articulated by Leonardo Chiariglione, Chairman of MPEG and one of the greatest contributors to the development of digital video, in the long term this model eliminates any incentive to invest the hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of years of life that are necessary to research and invent new encoding formats, since profit making would be left only in the productization and maintenance part of the value chain," Meardi commented.

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