[whatwg] MPEG-1 subset proposal for HTML5 video codec

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Sat May 30 05:45:40 PDT 2009

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM,  <jjcogliati-whatwg at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I propose that a MPEG-1 subset should be considered as the required
> codec for the HTML-5 video tag.
> == MPEG-1 Background ==


> == Brief comparison to other video codecs ==


> Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis are newer standards than MPEG-1.  My guess
> is that they can do substantially better at compression than MPEG-1.
> Assuming there are no submarine patents, I think the OGG codecs would
> be a better choice than MPEG-1.

That's good to know.


> == Remaining Work ==
> I am not a lawyer.  In order to use MPEG-1 PRF, patent lawyers will
> have to investigate the patent issue and publicly report on the
> patent status.  Unless there is a report sitting around that can be
> published, this will likely be expensive.

The reason that current browser vendors put forward for not supporting
Ogg Theora/Vorbis is that there is no thorough report available on
their patent status which laos convincingly shows that the risk of
submarine patents is minimal.

If you would also prefer Ogg Theora/Vorbis over MPEG-1 PRF, then I
don't understand why such a report should not rather be created about
these codecs than on MPEG-1 PRF.

> As well, the prior art review is not complete.  The biggest missing
> piece is synthesis window for the audio layer.

Same argument here for Ogg Theora/Vorbis.


> == Satisfaction of requirements ==
> >From HTML 5 draft:
> 1. does not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing
> Probably.  There does not seem to be anyone requesting this kind of
> licensing right now.
> 2. Must be compatible with the open source development model.
> Probably.  There does not seem to be any identified patents for MPEG-1 PRF.
> 3. Is of sufficient quality as to be usable
> Yes.  Much better than the next best option of Motion JPEG.  Probably
> worse than Ogg Theora or H.264.

These three are better satisfied by Ogg Theora/Vorbis.

> 4. Is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies.
> Probably.  It has been widely implemented (in DVD players, in Apple
> Quicktime and Microsoft Media Player) Note that these example uses
> have either a license for MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 however.

Wide implementation does not save you from submarine patents. Nothing
really does. Wide implementation only spreads the risk across more
bodies. An existing lawsuit that has been resolved reduces the risk.
But there will always be the risk of another unknown patent that could
be interpreted to be infringed.

> == Conclusion ==
> The MPEG-1 PRF subset defined here seems to fit all the requirements
> of a codec for video for HTML5.  It seems to be patent free.  A final
> conclusion will depend on whether or not patent lawyers can sign off
> on this proposal and if the quality of MPEG-1 PRF is deemed
> sufficient.

Honestly, I'd rather suggest spending the money on Ogg Theora if you
are really suggesting spending money on lawyers and patent research.
Ogg Theora/Vorbis is miles ahead of MPEG-1 in Quality and in
increasingly wider spread use on the Web.



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