Warner Bros. joins controversial patent group HEVC Advance

Warner Bros. Entertainment has joined the controversial patent pool HEVC Advance, both as a licensee and a licensor, the group announced.

Warner Bros. will make what the group terms as "essential" patents available for the HEVC/H.265 codec, which is used to compress 4K video. Warner will also license patents from the broader HVEC Advance pool.

"HEVC/H.265 enables delivery of a premium quality viewing experience," said Warner Bros. Technology Solutions Executive VP and General Manager, Vicky Colf, in a statement. "By gaining access to H.265 technology through HEVC Advance, while contributing our own essential patents for license, we can better concentrate our efforts on creating the most exciting entertainment experiences for our customers world-wide."

Added HEVC Advance CEO Peter Moller: "Having the support of a major studio like Warner Bros. will help eliminate HEVC/H.265 IP barriers and greatly accelerate UHD adoption."

HEVC Advance sprung up last year as a second pool collecting fees for use of HEVC/H.265 patents, separate from the already standing MPEG-LA.

Potential licensees originally balked at the group's fee structure, which was later reduced. 

In February, CableLabs called on HEVC Advance and MPEG-LA to merge, lest HEVC/H.265 meet the same fate as MPEG-4, which has endured slow adoption amid convoluted patent pooling. 

Having two licensing groups for HEVC could force licensees to sign agreements with both to protect themselves against infringement. This could result in "substantial financial impact" for device vendors and content distributors, which could trickle down to consumers in the form of increased prices, wrote Greg Rutz, lead architect of the Advanced Technologies Group at CableLabs, in a blog post on the company's website.

For more:
- read this HEVC Advance press release

Related articles:
CableLabs: HEVCAdvance, MPEG-LA patent pools need to merge, codec licensing costs are too high
HEVC Advance scales back on 4K patent cash grab
HEVC Advance patent group might give Netflix, Amazon and other 4K players a break

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