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HEVC Gets Its Groove Back

Mari Silbey

After setting off a storm of controversy in July, HEVC Advance has backed off from its initial stance on licensing fees for the High Efficiency Video Codec.

In a press release announcing the addition of chip company MediaTek Inc. (Taiwan: 2454) to its patent pool, a quote from HEVC Advance CEO Peter Moller alludes to recent industry backlash over the organization's proposed licensing fee structure: "We have received significant market feedback, particularly on content fees and will adjust fees to support widespread use of HEVC," Moller said.

The news comes after numerous industry executives criticized HEVC Advance for licensing rates which reach as high as $1.50 per HEVC-enabled TV set and include an unprecedented fee imposed on content owners of .5% of attributable revenues. (See HEVC Advance Could Hurt 4K TV Advancement.)

Arguing that high fees for the compression technology could slow the deployment of Ultra HD video, several industry leaders have even gone so far as to create their own Alliance for Open Media with plans to develop an advanced, royalty-free video codec. Members of the Alliance are industry heavyweights, and include Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), which is contributing work from its WebM Project dedicated to open web media technologies. (See New Alliance Aims at Royalty-Free Video Codec.)

Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn also called for a boycott of HEVC Advance until the organization agreed to make changes to its licensing rates. There have been no official announcements from companies saying that they would follow that route, but it's evident that HEVC Advance nonetheless felt significant pressure to ease up on fees. As Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) President of Network and Cloud Bruce McClelland put it, there was a "lot of unhappiness" after the licensing organization first released its proposed rate structure. (See Arris Irate Over HEVC Licensing Moves.)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
9/24/2015 | 3:19:57 PM
Re: Cooler heads prevailed?
This is a step in the right direction. Consumer interest in UHD is tepid at best, so now is no time to throw up barriers making adoption more costly. 
User Rank: Blogger
9/24/2015 | 11:20:14 AM
Re: Cooler heads prevailed?
Right, devil is in the details. And while the Alliance is working toward a royalty-free solution, it'll take time to get there. 
User Rank: Light Beer
9/24/2015 | 11:02:14 AM
Cooler heads prevailed?
Interesting to see the response, but we still don't know the details, right?
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