The MPEG LA group, which controls management of royalties and fees pertaining to the ultra high definition codecs H.265 and HEVC, have ironed out a basic framework which will free content creators of the burden of paying any royalty fees on projects that use the codecs. And that’s good news for the future of 4K.
While content creators will avoid any royalty payments unless there’s massive success in the realm of pay-per-view, the manufacturers of encoder/decoder hardware aren’t so lucky. According to the agreement, which has the support of over 25 companies including Apple, NEC, and the BBC, companies will foot a bill of .20 per unit, after an initial sale run of 100,000 units. Then, once sales of H.265 hit five million, the royalty drops to $0.10 after 5 million units with a cap at $6.5 million through 2115. The HEVC royalty, on the other hand, never drops, and will top out at $25 million.
The result is that HEVC may end up stalling in widespread adoption, as UHD encoders look for better deals. And the one that could benefit the most from the deal, might actually be Google’s VP9, which Google plans to push as a royalty-free codec in order to gain market traction. So far, it hasn’t really helped, but that was largely due to the fact that the royalty rates hadn’t been ironed out. Now that they look to be adopted, manufacturers may look Google’s way, much phone manufacturers have with Android and now it’s the most used mobile operating system in the world (even though Apple still enjoys the highest selling iPhone numbers, one-to-one).
Still, H.265 will definitely…[Keep reading]