Google dropping H264 support for Chrome

  • Posted: 12 January 2011 06:40 PM #16

    This guy sums it up, kinda snarky, smartass,

         
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    Posted: 12 January 2011 09:31 PM #17

    Don’t be evil, Google.

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  • Posted: 12 January 2011 09:57 PM #18

    rattyuk - 12 January 2011 02:38 AM

    So on the day that Verizon announces that Apple are bringing the iPhone to the party, Google announces a switch from the hardware accelerated (on iPhones and other iOS devices) H264 to the un-accelerated VP8 Format, which they have branded WebM.

    Coincidence? I think not baby puppy.

    mbeauch - 12 January 2011 03:35 AM

    ratty, I can hear Fal’s response already. Can’t you? LOL

    You know, I read your post just now and I was mortified. “What the hell is he talking about?”, I thought. “How does he know what my response is going to be when I don’t know what my response is going to be?”

    Then, finally, I thought about our conversation on Tuesday about the glass breakage law suit and decided that you expected me to opine that the timing of Google’s announcement was co-incidental, not planned, and that the Google announcement was a nothing compared to the publicity that Apple garnered from the Verizon iPhone announcement. Was that it?

    Well, if so, you got that right. As Ratty said, Google’s abandonment of H264 may be the far bigger story in the long run, but in the short run, I can guarantee you that no one but total geeks gives a rats’ ass. I very much doubt that Google thought they could steal any of Apple’s thunder by making this announcement yesterday, and if they did, then they are far more geeky, far more insulated, far more out of touch and far more pathetic than I had thought.

    As to the substance of this announcement as opposed to its timing, yes, I’m very concerned. But since I just flat out don’t understand the technological issues involved, I’m taking a back seat on this one and trying hard just to get some sort of a handle on what this might mean for the future of the Internet, generally, and future Apple, specifically.

         
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    Posted: 12 January 2011 11:25 PM #19

    Another “co-incidence?”

    Published TODAY on Patently Apple site:

    Other Granted Patents Published Today

    Apple, One of Top 50 Companies Filing Patents in 2010: First and foremost, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Apple was granted 563 patents in 2010 which landed them in the top fifty companies with new inventions. IBM was listed as number one with 5,896 or more than ten-times what Apple was granted: Yikes! 

    H.264 AVC Video Related: Apple has been granted patent 7,869,503 for “Rate and Quality Controller for H.264/AVC Video Coder and Scene Analyzer Thereof.” This has been long in waiting, as the patent was originally filed in Q2 2004. The patent relates to encoding video signals, and more particularly, encoding of video allowing control of bitrate to meet a target while ensureing that good video quality will result when the encoded stream is decoded. If video technology is your field of expertise, you may find this of interest as it is a very detailed patent.

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  • Posted: 13 January 2011 12:05 AM #20

    I doubt the post was timed to coincide with the Verizon iPhone. Its unlikely it was even coordinated within Google. That organization is the epitome of entropy.

    Content producers and distributors hate this sort of uncertainty. This further dims the future of GoogleTV with respect to the content guys.

    While I give the strategy a low probability of success, worst case there is a coexistence similar to gif and png.

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 09:29 AM #21

    Gruber had some excellent points on the Talk Show.

    1) Hardware acceleration of H.264 exists on all smartphones and accounts for the good playback and low battery usage of watching video on mobile devices. If Google expected a switch to webM immediately it would ruin the experience of watching video on 100s of millions of smartphones (including Android) for at least a few years for most people as hardware manufacturers switched to include webM hardware acceleration on their devices.
    2) There is now a huge investment at companies (esp PORN firms which tend to lead the way on these things) in H.264. To redo their entire catalogues of only recently redone H.264 encoded videos is not going to happen because
    3) On all browsers except Chrome and Firefox H.264 videos can still be viewed and on Chrome and Firefox H.264 videos can be viewed through FLASH thus nobody has an incentive to include webM because Flash will serve as a bridge for the 2 non-H.264 browsers
    4) Microsoft is certainly not going to switch over to Google’s webM for obvious competitive reasons thus giving cover to Apple if they choose not to go along
    5) Has Chrome’s position been coordinated with Android? Will Android also not support H.264? Will that make new Android phones worse until WebM acceleration is included? (There is currently 1 known company making chips with webm acceleration
    6) Trying to fit webM acceleration, Flash acceleration and H.264 acceleration chips into one phone is going to make those phones much thicker to accommodate all the hardware acceleration chips. People won’t be thrilled, nor will hardware manufacturers. Thus widespread adoption of webM is unlikely.
    7) In the end nothing really changes except that Flash becomes very important as the “bridge” technology on Chrome and Firefox for H.264


    The end winner is Adobe and now one can wonder why Google is so keen to help Adobe. My take: Could it be because Microsoft and Adobe had high level talks up to and including merger talks and Google would like to keep Adobe out of Microsoft’s hands?

    [ Edited: 13 January 2011 09:35 AM by relentlessFocus ]

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 09:46 AM #22

    Further points
    1) Many observers say that webM is a ripoff of H.264 code and at some point the copyright holders of H.264 (the MPEG-LA group) will sue webM users for infringement and Google does not offer indemnity to webM users. Firms have learned the hard way through Android licensing infringement suits that Google brings law suits to its partners.
    2) You may see Android complaining the H.264 is a way for Apple to screw people but the reality is this
    a) MPEG-LA group have included a guaranteed end user “free” use licence, end users will never pay royalties for H.264 use
    b) MPEG-LA is an open group and any firm may join and pay the same licence fee as the founders including Apple, Msoft etc so no firm would be held at MPEG-LA’s mercy. The original founders all contributed their own IP to the MPEG-LA group and share equally the licence fees received.
    c) H.264 is an open standard From Ars Technica:

    Openness can’t be the issue

    This explanation is lacking, to say the least. It appears to be a conflation of several issues: openness, royalty-freedom, and source code availability, among others. In the traditional sense, H.264 is an open standard. That is to say, it was a standard designed by a range of domain experts from across the industry, working to the remit of a standards organization. In fact, two standards organizations were involved: ISO and ITU. The specification was devised collaboratively, with its final ratification dependent on the agreement of the individuals, corporations, and national standards bodies that variously make up ISO and ITU. This makes H.264 an open standard in the same way as, for example, JPEG still images, or the C++ programming language, or the ISO 9660 filesystem used on CD-ROMs. H.264 is unambiguously open.

    What H.264 isn’t is a royalty free standard. Again from the Ars article:

    MPEG-LA’s license terms for H.264 set out a range of fee schedules depending on the exact nature of the H.264 implementation. Importantly to web users, video that is distributed over the web and which is, importantly, not behind any kind of a paywall, is royalty-free. This means that uploading a video to a site such as YouTube and then rebroadcasting that video to all and sundry is free. For browser developers, the situation is not quite so happy: browsers include H.264 decoders, and these are subject to royalties. The size of the necessary payment depends on the number of units shipped?browsers with fewer than 100,000 users would likely not need to pay a royalty at all?but in any case is capped at $6.5 million (equivalent to about 65 million users), annually, until 2015.

    Read the rest of the linked Ars article to learn yet more but this move on the part of the Chrome team and presumably with the OK of top management is a clear manipulation of the truth. Google will invariably be the biggest loser as this will tarnish their reputation except for those freetards that have committed their soul to Google.

    [ Edited: 13 January 2011 09:53 AM by relentlessFocus ]

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 09:53 AM #23

    relentlessFocus - 13 January 2011 01:29 PM

    Gruber had some excellent points on the Talk Show.

    1) Hardware acceleration of H.264 exists on all smartphones and accounts for the good playback and low battery usage of watching video on mobile devices. If Google expected a switch to webM immediately it would ruin the experience of watching video on 100s of millions of smartphones (including Android) for at least a few years for most people as hardware manufacturers switched to include webM hardware acceleration on their devices.
    2) There is now a huge investment at companies (esp PORN firms which tend to lead the way on these things) in H.264. To redo their entire catalogues of only recently redone H.264 encoded videos is not going to happen because
    3) On all browsers except Chrome and Firefox H.264 videos can still be viewed and on Chrome and Firefox H.264 videos can be viewed through FLASH thus nobody has an incentive to include webM because Flash will serve as a bridge for the 2 non-H.264 browsers
    4) Microsoft is certainly not going to switch over to Google’s webM for obvious competitive reasons thus giving cover to Apple if they choose not to go along
    5) Has Chrome’s position been coordinated with Android? Will Android also not support H.264? Will that make new Android phones worse until WebM acceleration is included? (There is currently 1 known company making chips with webm acceleration
    6) Trying to fit webM acceleration, Flash acceleration and H.264 acceleration chips into one phone is going to make those phones much thicker to accommodate all the hardware acceleration chips. People won’t be thrilled, nor will hardware manufacturers. Thus widespread adoption of webM is unlikely.
    7) In the end nothing really changes except that Flash becomes very important as the “bridge” technology on Chrome and Firefox for H.264


    The end winner is Adobe and now one can wonder why Google is so keen to help Adobe. My take: Could it be because Microsoft and Adobe had high level talks up to and including merger talks and Google would like to keep Adobe out of Microsoft’s hands?

    Google has obviously got the ire of the tech community with their latest move but as far as the issues with building suitable mobile silicon, Imagination recently announce new IP to support WebM  Which means for those who want to include the capability into their next generation chip they can start the integration process and it would likely be available in 2012.

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2011 10:00 AM #24

    Ed Bott also did an article on the H.264 patents (He’s a Microsoft Guy)

    To me it always seems in the tech press that Apple is somehow getting rich off h264.  Ed has a list of the patent pool which is a who’s who of the tech industry

    First up, a list of the 26 companies that have added their patents to the pool, with a number that represents how many patents have been contributed by each one:

    Panasonic Corporation (377)
    LG Electronics Inc. (198)
    Toshiba Corporation (137)
    Fraunhofer?Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (82)
    Microsoft Corporation (65)
    Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (57)
    Sharp Corporation (54)
    Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (42)
    Sony Corporation (29)
    Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (18)
    Fujitsu Limited (16)
    The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (9)
    NTT DOCOMO, INC. (9)
    Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation (7)
    France T?l?com, soci?t? anonyme (7)
    Robert Bosch GmbH (5)
    Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (4)
    Scientific?Atlanta Vancouver Company? (4)
    Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (3)
    Hitachi, Ltd (2)
    Victor Company of Japan, Limited (2)
    DAEWOO Electronics Corporation (2)
    Siemens AG (2)
    Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (2)
    Apple Inc. (1)
    Sedna Patent Services, LLC (1)

    Google is obviously missing from the list and Apple has a total of 1 patent included in the pool but both license the technology.

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2011 10:04 AM #25

    pats - 13 January 2011 01:53 PM

    Google has obviously got the ire of the tech community with their latest move but as far as the issues with building suitable mobile silicon, Imagination recently announce new IP to support WebM  Which means for those who want to include the capability into their next generation chip they can start the integration process and it would likely be available in 2012.

    As I understood it hardware acceleration of video codecs is done through a separate chip from the main CPU. The reason this is done is a specialised video acceleration chip is lower in battery usage and faster at decoding the video codec (because its designed with only one purpose) than the CPU. Pats, perhaps that’s what you’re saying but just clarifying. As mentioned earlier, since H.264 will still be in wide usage this means hardware manufacturers will have to add yet another chip as oppossed to trading chips thus making the phone fatter.

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 10:06 AM #26

    pats - 13 January 2011 02:00 PM

    Ed Bott also did an article on the H.264 patents (He’s a Microsoft Guy)

    To me it always seems in the tech press that Apple is somehow getting rich off h264.  Ed has a list of the patent pool which is a who’s who of the tech industry

    First up, a list of the 26 companies that have added their patents to the pool, with a number that represents how many patents have been contributed by each one:

    Panasonic Corporation (377)
    LG Electronics Inc. (198)
    Toshiba Corporation (137)
    Fraunhofer?Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (82)
    Microsoft Corporation (65)
    Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (57)
    Sharp Corporation (54)
    Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (42)
    Sony Corporation (29)
    Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (18)
    Fujitsu Limited (16)
    The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (9)
    NTT DOCOMO, INC. (9)
    Dolby Laboratories Licensing Corporation (7)
    France T?l?com, soci?t? anonyme (7)
    Robert Bosch GmbH (5)
    Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (4)
    Scientific?Atlanta Vancouver Company? (4)
    Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (3)
    Hitachi, Ltd (2)
    Victor Company of Japan, Limited (2)
    DAEWOO Electronics Corporation (2)
    Siemens AG (2)
    Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (2)
    Apple Inc. (1)
    Sedna Patent Services, LLC (1)

    Google is obviously missing from the list and Apple has a total of 1 patent included in the pool but both license the technology.

    Interesting, thanks! We now have the data to shut up any freetard on any forum.

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 10:21 AM #27

    One other small point. Think of all the video cams and DSLRs which currently shoot video natively in H.264. You download to your computer and upload to your fave video site. There’s no way that Google’s chrome position is going to shift the entire video industry to webM which means these H.264 videos will be viewed as H.264 except for in Chrome and Firefox where they’ll be put in a Flash container for viewing in Flash.

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 11:16 AM #28

    If we step back and take out our emotion, it’s the only way to move forward for google if they want the world to standardize on WebM.  As far as mobile chips the CPU is integrated into the system on a chip (SOC).  Video encode & decode are functional blocks on the SOC .  Apple and many others use Imagination IP for the video blocks,  my guess is WebM is so similar to h 264 that support doesn’t add that much additional silicon.

         
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    Posted: 13 January 2011 12:04 PM #29

    pats - 13 January 2011 03:16 PM

    If we step back and take out our emotion, it’s the only way to move forward for google if they want the world to standardize on WebM ...

    Please refresh us as to why Google wants to introduce another video codec to mess up the world?  I mean the non-official reasons.

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    Posted: 13 January 2011 12:31 PM #30

    Mace - 13 January 2011 04:04 PM
    pats - 13 January 2011 03:16 PM

    If we step back and take out our emotion, it’s the only way to move forward for google if they want the world to standardize on WebM ...

    Please refresh us as to why Google wants to introduce another video codec to mess up the world?  I mean the non-official reasons.

    Because they can.  The open source religion, assumes h 264 is bad because it requires a liscence.  Google is offering a free alternative to placate all, as if change has no cost.  When everyone did not jump at their feet to worship, they upped the stakes.  You can bet that utube will follow and android but since Google doesn’t make hardware they are forced to coerce others.  Maybe Google really believes they are doing something good for the web, but IMO, it’s a waste of engineering resources and the effort could just as easily be used to improve any shortfalls in h 264 like Apple is doing with their just approved patent.  I’m sure Apple will add their new patent to the pool for the good of all, but since they get part of a licensing fee which helps to fund further R&D it is evil.