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Thread: Essential Video Coding (EVC)

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    Essential Video Coding (EVC)

    Hi all – Another next-generation video codec is Essential Video Coding (EVC). This is also an example of a dual layer approach, but it doesn't use an existing codec as the base layer like LCEVC does. Rather, it uses expired patents as the base layer, which is freaking brilliant! What I mean is that the base codec is intended to be free and unencumbered by patents or licensing. But it's a new codec, one that only uses innovations or techniques that were patented at least 20 years ago, and therefore expired. (There are also some patent grants or something thrown in, but it's mostly about expired patents.)

    The base codec is supposed to be something like 30% more efficient than H.264, so it's probably only slightly worse than H.265/HEVC, and might be similar to VP9 but with less complexity, more speed.

    The enhanced version might cost money to license, and is supposed to be about 24% more efficient than H.265/HEVC. Here's an article that talks about it.

    Have any other projects used the expired patents method before as a formal constraint in developing a codec? Is that how free codecs like Opus would be developed? It's fascinating, and of course more possibilities steadily emerge as each day passes and more patents expire. It seems like there might be an opportunity to apply advanced software to leveraging patents this way, but it would probably require something closer to real AI than what Silicon Valley currently labels as "AI".

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    The future AV2 codec might be released in 2026 which is when nearly all h264 patents will have expired. Sisvel claim that hundreds of patents in their patent pool are violated by AV1. The organisation 'Unified Patents' is working on invalidating many h265 and av1 patents in the courts at the moment.

    It is difficult to know whether EVC will become popular, i highly doubt it. This is because AV1 is already available and hardware decoders are already available. I think the creation of EVC is to try to pressure the companies involved in the creation of VVC/H.266 to choose low patents fees and fair conditions such as no streaming fees. This is what happened with Microsoft's VC-1 codec, it forced the mpeg-la to make h264 cheap to license with good conditions.

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    JamesB (23rd January 2021)

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    I get that patents generated huge revenues and funded numerous people work on improved technologies, but it's no longer the only model.

    The theory that unless someone pays for it, how are you going to fund the next generation of research, is blinkered in the modern world. Huge organisations collectively spend billions on infrastructure - storage, network bandwidth, etc. The more enlightened ones are not really interested in owning a file format or a codec technology - they view their product as being content providers and the mundane nuts are bolts are in the "precompetitive" area. Jointly funding research to reduce their overheads is a really obvious win. Hence why AOMedia exists. The flip side is the old-school members of MPEG that ended up bickering over patent pools and essentially killed MPEG as an organisation.

    I find it sad, and intensely annoying, that many of those have now turned their attention to other markets such as genomics. I've spent months battling stupid patents, but ultimately I've given up. It's just whack-a-mole. The entire thing is a broken model for all bar a very few select cases.

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    rainerzufalldererste (12th February 2021)

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