On to the plan for On2

Wondering why Google bought On2, the Clifton Park company that makes video compression software? NewTeeVee reports that Google plans to open-source a key video codec (a method for compressing video) developed by On2. The codec could be used to play video on the web without Flash (when you use YouTube, you're using Flash). Also, guess which device doesn't support Flash? The iPad. [via Waxy]

Comments

Lost in this discussion in Vorbis, a patent-unencumbered audio codec that's the equal of MP3 in every way. Everybody listens to MP3-encoded audio all the time, but they don't know that MP3 is only free-to-listen because the Fraunhofer Society has so far chosen not to charge for decode (decode == listening). On the day it chooses otherwise, maybe tomorrow, you'll owe a royalty to play your MP3s. On that day, you'll wish your songs were in Vorbis.

Fraunhofer's strategy not to charge consumers -- only producers, and then only rich ones -- is not altruism nor accident: it proliferated the format to ubiquity, as planned, by design. And there was no need. Vorbis was available all along. But that's how things happened.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

LQ

My know-it-all friends (the best kind to have, actually) remind me to make clear that MP3 decode is not unlicensed. Plenty of MP3 decode (playback) licenses are purchased every day -- just not by consumers, not directly.

I should have said that there's an end-user (that's you) perception that purchased MP3s (or those ripped from a purchased CD, or purely created by you) are yours to consume as you like, period. It's true that you own the files. But because they're MP3 encoded, you may only play them on a licensed device.

Example: Apple pays $X per unit so that you can play MP3s on your iPod, and obviously the iPod purchase price underwrites this. If you choose to play them on another device or in a completely different way, Apple's not involved in that, and it's up to you to ensure that you have the right to do so. Your license to decode MP3 data attaches to the iPod, not to you, and not to your files.

All this nonsense goes away with Vorbis. As we proliferate more kinds of media, it's important to weight the costs and benefits of allowing a patent-encumbered format to dominate.

Point here is that folks already think their audio data is "... living in a nice, long-lived, non-proprietary data format that isn’t anyone's competitive weapon." With MP3, they're wrong.

LQ


ps. Copyright on content is a different, unrelated subject. Still have to pay the band.

Done. Google announced WebM, which includes VP8, now open-sourced (BSD, thank god) and Vorbis.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Sonic's planning to open in Latham this summer

Long in circulation, now official: Sonic will be opening its first Capital Region location at 701 Troy Schenectady Rd in Latham (AKA where Route 7... (more)

Taxable sandwiches and other foods that are taxed, unless they're not

Sometimes things are just hilariously (and also frustratingly) complicated. We were thinking about that today after Jon Campbell said on Twitter of the state Department... (more)

Eating in Glens Falls: 5-10-15-20

Glens Falls seems to be going through a bit of a culinary renaissance, with many new eateries staking out a spot in the last few... (more)

Capital District project is a finalist for national public art prize

A joint submission by Albany-Schenectady-Troy to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge has made it to the final round, the org announced today. The competition... (more)

The future is mobile

A Siena poll out this week had some interesting bits about mobile phone and other communications tech usage. Among those bits: 28 percent of upstate... (more)

Recent Comments

... But some of the negatives mentioned could be flipped into positives, after all the 1980 games was seen as a toned down version of previous events. In terms of Olympic infrastructure, Lake Placid has most of it already. ...

Eating in Glens Falls: 5-10-15-20

...has 4 comments, most recently from Burnt My Fingers

Byrne Dairy ice cream sandwiches

...has 7 comments, most recently from MB

Taxable sandwiches and other foods that are taxed, unless they're not

...has 5 comments, most recently from Rebecca

Debbie sells the kitchen

...has 13 comments, most recently from -S

AOA Birthday Party 7

...has 12 comments, most recently from jess (jamesjake)