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iPad does in fact support H.264

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 5:00 UTC (Thu) by n8willis (subscriber, #43041)
In reply to: iPad does in fact support H.264 by bvdm
Parent article: HTML5 video element codec debate reignited

The statement is that Firefox doesn't support H.264, and the iPad doesn't support Flash.

Nate


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iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 6:25 UTC (Thu) by bvdm (guest, #42755) [Link]

I apologize, you are right. But man, that is a awfully clumsy sentence. Way too many clauses.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 14:35 UTC (Thu) by n8willis (subscriber, #43041) [Link]

I love clauses; the more, the merrier -- and for that I apologize to no one.

Nate

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 5, 2010 11:34 UTC (Fri) by DonDiego (guest, #24141) [Link]

I would like to politely and constructively suggest to refrain from such elaborate sentence construction. Many of your readers are not native speakers and will have trouble grokking what you are trying to say. I myself had to reread the sentence although I think I can claim with some confidence that, for a non-native speaker, I have an above-average command of the English language.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 10, 2010 10:00 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

Wow, now I realize what this weird "respectively" meant!

I do not think that the use of English makes much difference; this sentence is just too convoluted (in any language).

Otherwise a very interesting summary.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 6:38 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

It would be very bizzare to have a Apple product not support H.264. Apple
is
a member of the MPEG-LA group that gets royalties from H.264 usage.

http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Pages/Licensors.aspx

So it's pretty obvious why they are pushing it.

------------------------------

If Firefox/Mozilla folks want to establish HTML5 as a viable standard for
delivery of video they are just going to have to bite the bullet here and
give into the fact that their market share does not give them ability to
push a political agenda by denying users easy functionality.

Sorry. That is just not how it works.

I support the use of Theora over H.264 very much. But it is not something I
nor Mozilla org has any control over. The good thing is that Theora and
H.264 are not mutually exclusive. Just like PNG and Jpeg are not mutually
exclusive.

The issue with H.264 and what to do about supporting 'patent encumbered'
media has been done to death on Linux. There are effective and widely used
solutions in place for dealing with these issues... it's just a matter of
Mozilla taking advantage of them. (My favorite is of course Gstreamer +
ffmpeg gstreamer plugin)

As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but
Vista and Windows 7 does. As does OS X. For XP not supporting it that makes
life difficult for Mozilla, but it is a very good reason for people to
support the use of Theora.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 10:08 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> There are effective and widely used
> solutions in place for dealing with these issues... it's just a matter of
> Mozilla taking advantage of them. (My favorite is of course Gstreamer +
> ffmpeg gstreamer plugin)

In many countries, the MPEG-LA could sue you (and win) for using *or distributing* ffmpeg's H.264 decoder. Is that the kind of regime you want to live under?

> As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but
> Vista and Windows 7 does.

Vista doesn't.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 15:56 UTC (Thu) by DonDiego (guest, #24141) [Link]

> In many countries, the MPEG-LA could sue you (and win) for using *or distributing* ffmpeg's H.264 decoder. Is that the kind of regime you want to live under?

The MPEG LA has never sued an end-user to date. While in theory they could do that in the future, it's about as likely as getting killed by a meteor hit. Microsoft could also sue you for using Linux. You never know, they do have patents that cover it.

If you are afraid of distributing an H.264 decoder, fine, leave it to others and use what is available on the system.

> > As far as other platforms XP does not support H.264 out of the box, but Vista and Windows 7 does.

> Vista doesn't.

Who uses Vista? ;-p

Seriously, how big a slice of your userbase uses Vista? For the FFmpeg and MPlayer websites I see less than 20% of the Windows users on Vista, most are still on XP and likely to skip Vista on their upgrade path.

So what are the statistics? How many of your users do not have access to a system H.264 decoder and how many will not in five years time?

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 16:44 UTC (Thu) by blitzkrieg3 (guest, #57873) [Link]

> The MPEG LA has never sued an end-user to date.

They would not sue an end user. End users have no money. They would sue a Red Hat, or a SUSE for giving you access to ffmpeg package.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 16:48 UTC (Thu) by quintesse (guest, #14569) [Link]

RedHat doesn't distribute ffmpeg exactly for that reason I guess.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 20:59 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> Who uses Vista? ;-p

Some people. I was just correcting an error in the poster's facts.

> So what are the statistics?

I believe currently around 60% of our users are on WinXP. Not sure how many are on Vista. The fraction of those people who have installed a DirectShow H.264 code is probably tiny, so we can expect that somewhat less than 40% of our users have an H.264 codec on their system.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 4, 2010 21:09 UTC (Thu) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> The MPEG LA has never sued an end-user to date. While in theory they could
> do that in the future, it's about as likely as getting killed by a meteor
> hit.

There's no way to tell. Five years ago you could have said the same thing about the RIAA suing individual file-sharers, but then they started doing it.

Fundamentally it's a bad idea to bet on the MPEG-LA being lenient forever. Their job is to bring in licensing revenue for patent holders. At some point in the future, if suing users is a convenient way to scare people, or to destroy free competition to products that actually generate license revenue, there's no reason to believe they won't do it. Keep in mind that the optimal revenue-generation strategy changes over time: it pays to be lenient at first, to get the format maximally entrenched, and then you can squeeze the licensees for all you can get (modulo contractual restrictions). History is instructive.
http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-...

Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be completely wrong. Betting on such guesses, no matter who makes them, would be foolish.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 5, 2010 10:50 UTC (Fri) by DonDiego (guest, #24141) [Link]

> There's no way to tell. Five years ago you could have said the same thing about the RIAA suing individual file-sharers, but then they started doing it.

The RIAA is not a patent pool, this is a straw man.

> Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be completely wrong. Betting on such guesses, no matter who makes them, would be foolish.

I never said any such thing. The MPEG LA patent license question rests on the depth of your pockets, not on the type of software you use.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 7, 2010 22:08 UTC (Sun) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> The RIAA is not a patent pool, this is a straw man.

The point is that "<Large Corporate Entity> would never sue end users, because they have no money" is an argument that has failed in the past.

>> Plus, let me remind you that your guess about the intention of the
>> MPEG-LA to "not require" licenses for free software proved to be
>> completely wrong.
> I never said any such thing.

http://lwn.net/Articles/371439/
> You don't need a license from the MPEG-LA (and neither does FFmpeg)
> because you don't qualify for requiring one:

Suing individual users of H.264

Posted Feb 8, 2010 2:07 UTC (Mon) by jhhaller (subscriber, #56103) [Link]

Suing end-users would be dependent on the particular domestic law. In the US, my understanding (IANAL) is that practicing a patent does not require a license, only importing or distributing. Certainly, if I were to write my own H.264 decoder, I am not infringing. Now, if I were to distribute a software decoder, that would require a license under current case law. Surprisingly, there has been no effort as of yet to stop US-based mirrors of distributions containing FFMPEG. Of course, this case law is under review by the US Supreme Court, so this uncertainty could be inhibiting bringing of lawsuits, as they could make such lawsuits easier or harder. This leaves the typical method of getting H.264 software, importing it into the US. The International Trade Commission can block import of products containing patented technology, although how that would play out against multiple, independent importers could be interesting.

Suing individual users of H.264

Posted Feb 8, 2010 4:01 UTC (Mon) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

"In the US, my understanding (IANAL) is that practicing a patent does not require a license, only importing or distributing."

The USPTO Sez (http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/#patent)

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.

Relevant portions bolded and italicized by me. (See also the the MPEG-LA's response to my query in the other article comments.

Certainly, if I were to write my own H.264 decoder, I am not infringing.

Yes, you would. That would be the non-bolded "making" above, which precedes the bolded "using".

Now, if I were to distribute a software decoder, that would require a license under current case law.

Perhaps under current case law (IANAL), but not under a strict reading of the USPTO's talk (as long as it's not for sale, sold, or brought into the US).

Suing individual users of H.264

Posted Feb 8, 2010 20:50 UTC (Mon) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> In the US, my understanding (IANAL) is that practicing a patent does not
> require a license, only importing or distributing.

Incorrect. Practicing requires a license.

> Certainly, if I were to write my own H.264 decoder, I am not infringing.

Incorrect. If you used it, you would be infringing.

Suing individual users of H.264

Posted Feb 8, 2010 21:10 UTC (Mon) by Trelane (subscriber, #56877) [Link]

If you used it, you would be infringing.

If you used an encoder/decoder that you wrote, you'd be infringing twice (see the USPTO link above; the act of making a patented idea is prohibited, as is using an implementation without a license).

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 7, 2010 12:01 UTC (Sun) by man_ls (guest, #15091) [Link]

While in theory they could do that in the future, it's about as likely as getting killed by a meteor hit.
Meteors scare me, man! Just the thought of them makes me afraid. Often fear (not likelihood) is enough to prevent people from doing things.

iPad does in fact support H.264

Posted Feb 10, 2010 13:00 UTC (Wed) by marcH (subscriber, #57642) [Link]

> Just like PNG and Jpeg are not mutually exclusive.

OK this is off-topic but... JPEG and PNG serve two very different purposes. The former is for photographs while the latter is for computer images. Use the wrong one and you will get poor quality or poor compression or both.

You probably meant: "just like GIF and PNG are not mutually exclusive".


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