[Development] QWebEngine - H.264 playback, proprietary codecs.

Steve Schilz sschilz at pasco.com
Wed Jul 20 01:57:11 CEST 2016

I have been going over the MPEG-LA writings on the web, and find no convincing argument that you can 
release a decoder for free.  You can distribute videos for free, but if you sell them, or distribute an encoder
or decoder you are apparently liable for fees if you sell > 100K units per year.

A quote from: http://www.mpegla.com/main/programs/AVC/Documents/avcweb.pdf
       MPEG-LA online summary of terms:
       AVC/H.264 License Terms
       Codec Manufacture and Sale
       o Products sold to end users and OEM for PC but not part of OS  (decoder, encoder or product consisting of one decoder and one encoder = “unit”)
 	o 0 - 100,000 units/year = no royalty (available to one legal entity in an affiliated group)
	o US $0.20 per unit after first 100,000 units/year
	o Above 5 million units/year, royalty = US $0.10 per unit
	o Enterprise cap: 
       $3.5M per year 2005-2006, 
$4.25M per year 2007-08,
$5M per year 2009-10, 
$6.5Mper year 2011-2015; 
$8.125M in 2016 and 
$9.75M per year in  2017 through 2020

This amounts to $20,000 us as soon as you exceed the minimum.

Also note that AAC audio codec that is normally used with H.264 is a separate, and apparently more expensive license,
Although I have not read about that as much.

Steve Schilz
PASCO scientific - think science

On Mon July 18, Steve Schilz Wrote:
>    Thiago, Allan, Thanks for responding.
>   Probably complicated indeed!  Qt in general does a pretty great job of shielding us from lots of complexity.  
>   I need to look into the ?Free for decoding? part more carefully, as that is my immediate need.  
>  It seemed worth mentioning, and certainly imho makes QWebEngine all the more attractive if it could be made to work.
On Weds July 16: Allan SandField Jensen Wrote:
   >>Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2016 19:21:16 +0200
   >>From: Allan Sandfeld Jensen <kde at carewolf.com<mailto:kde at carewolf.com>>>
   >>To: development at qt-project.org<mailto:development at qt-project.org>
   >>>Subject: Re: [Development] QWebEngine - H.264 playback, proprietary  codecs.
   > >That sounds a bit complicated, since it needs to hook into Chromiums media
    >>backend and have a download mechanism.
    >>Note activating it the codecs is not a matter of cost. AFAIK the h.264 and
    >>h.265 codecs are currently patented but royalty free to decode. This makes it
    >>possible for our customers to activate them without paying anyway. This is
    >>however just the status quo, and I am not sure I want to risk enabling
    >>something that might make the open-source package something that you need to
    >>pay for in the future, which is why we prefer to stick with the same codecs
    >>Google makes available in their free open source browser Chromium.
    >>I would be more interested in making it easier to enable, or maybe offer
    >>somehow. It is just something we have to make sure we offer without
    >>guaranteeing it is and will remain free.
On Wednesday 13 July 2016, Steve Schilz wrote:
   >>>We are using QWebEngine to drive a hybrid app (Html5 + Javascript + C++) on
    >>>windows.  According to QWebEngineFeatures Doc,
    >>>http://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qtwebengine-features.html#pepper-plugin-api You must
    >>>pass a flag to qmake, WEBENGINE_CONFIG+=use_proprietary_codecs, and build
    >>>Qt from source yourself in order to support h.264 video decoding.
    >>>In researching this, I became aware that Cisco provides a downloadable
    >>>binary codec, where Cisco pays the MPEG-LA royalties.   Apparently this is
    >>>the method used To provide h.264 playback in Firefox.  If you watch the
    >>>intellectual property rights video at
    >>>http://vimeo.com/cullenfluffyjennings/openh264-ipr, they explain why they
    >>>Did this, and how you can even make changes to the codec via open source
    >>>if needed.
    >>>Would it make sense for QWebEngine to support this codec, in order to be
    >>>able to provide ?out of the box? (via download at end user?s computer),
    >>>support for h.264 playback in <video> tags?


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