Research, standards and thoughts for the digital world

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Revisiting the “patents in standards” issue

Four years ago these days, I was writing a post on my blog titled A crisis, the causes and a solution. The subject was the issue of patents in MPEG standards. It was a time when I still had reasons to believe that something could be done about that issue. In this post I want to revisit the issue because that post and others following it are still among the most read posts on my blog. This means that people…

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Excerpts from an interview

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I have been interviewed by the Chinese webzine LiveVideoStack. The questions were smart and gave me the opportunity to make my views known. Here is an extract of the questions on MPEG and of my answers. The full interview is here. LiveVideoStack: Your new book Even the stars die: The history of MPEG and how it made digital media happen has been published this summer, congratulations! Could you tell us what inspired you to write it? Leonardo: There is no…

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Video compression patents – an obtuse story

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People who look back at the MPEG-2 times as the golden age of video compression licensing have a point. For 20 years the ownership of an MPEG-2 Video and Systems patent was a licence to print money – just ask people in the industry. What those people don’t consider, however, is that the MPEG-2 licensing was not the first case of the new video compression licensing but the last case of the old consumer electronics licensing – just look at…

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The second MPEG steps

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Toward the end of the 1980’s, the television industry went crazy with digital TV: Among service providers you had the full spectrum of feelings: people yearning for it (satellite TV, cable TV and telecom), people exploiting it for different purposes (some terrestrial broadcasters), people fearing it (other terrestrial broadcasters) and people hating it (still other terrestrial broadcasters). Among manufacturers, the general feeling was of love (new markets and/or new products added to/replacing old products) mixed with fear (a competitor’s format winning the competition).…

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The Genie that makes entertainment great

(By Dr. Jon Peddie PE, President, Jon Peddie Research, Tiburon, CA) Every time you watch a video or listen to music on your phone, computer, or TV, you use a data compressor-decompressor called a CODEC. By compressing the data representing the content you’re interested in, more people can use the already crowded networks we rely on every day, all day. The primary CODEC in use today is MPEG – the Moving Picture Experts Group. It has served us well since…

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A funeral oration over the dead body of MPEG

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Friends, world citizens, lend me your ears; I come to bury MPEG, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with MPEG. The noble ISO Hath told you MPEG was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath MPEG answer'd it. Here, under leave of ISO and the rest For ISO is an honourable man; So are they all,…

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