HEVC Advance seeks to speed up codec adoption by waiving select software royalties

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Patent pool HEVC Advance said it will waive fees on select classes of software applications involved with the encoding and decoding of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) compression standard.

The group said it will not seek royalties on application layer software—such as browsers, downloaded to mobile devices or personal computers after the initial sale of the device—where the HEVC encoding or decoding is fully executed in software on a general purpose CPU.

The move, the group said, is intended to speed adoption of HEVC and, more broadly, the video technology it supports, Ultra HD. 

“While HEVC technology implemented in specialized hardware circuitry provides the best and most efficient user experience, there are millions of existing mobile devices and personal computers that do not have HEVC hardware capability. Our initiative is tailored to enable software app and browser providers to include HEVC capability in their software products so that everyone can enjoy HEVC/UHD video today,” said Peter Moller, CEO of HEVC Advance, in a statement

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Streaming Media—the blog run by analyst Dan Rayburn, which has been critical of HEVC Advance in the past—lauded the move. 

“While this exclusion won't shield software developers from royalty claims by MPEG LA, Technicolor, or any other HEVC IP owners, it's unquestionably a move in the right direction,” wrote Jan Ozer. 

Speaking to Ozer, Moller said he wants to quicken the integration of HEVC decoders among the installed base of IP devices. The policy, he said, “would allow Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Facebook or CBS etc. to offer apps with HEVC software decode without HEVC Advance getting involved. So their customers could access HEVC video, initially in software only but hopefully this will encourage the OS and browser providers and device manufacturers to enable HEVC in hardware on their devices.”

Essentially, eligible software must satisfy three requirements:

  1. It must be an application that enables software-only encoding or decoding of HEVC
  2. It must be software downloaded after the related device has been purchased
  3. It must not be software specifically excluded by HEVC Advance.

Indeed, figuring out which software is eligible for the fee waiver is a bit complex. HEVC Advance has two documents that detail the guidelines on its website