MPEG LA's HEVC Licensing Terms Are Flawed, Will Prevent Adoption reports that there’s no reason for Adobe to add HEVC support to Flash, and that keeps HEVC from becoming relevant for general purpose streaming.

As you might know, MPEG LA announced the licensing terms for HEVC back in January. At the time, I thought, as most observers did, that those terms would provide long-needed certainty. Upon further reflection, I think they’re flawed and will delay, if not prevent, the adoption of HEVC in the streaming space. For HEVC to flourish there, MPEG LA needs to dramatically revamp the structure for free players.

It’s not that I’m joining the “internet should be free” crowd, heaven forbid. Rather, it’s that under the current royalty structure, it seems unlikely that free HEVC decode will become available anytime soon, which is necessary to jump start HEVC in the streaming space.

Let’s start with the proposed terms. Briefly, MPEG LA opted for a “flat tax” system: $0.20 per unit of HEVC products distributed by a legal entity to end users. You can ship up to 100,000 units per year with no royalty, with a per annual maximum royalty of $25 million, which will increase over time, though there is no royalty for any content encoded with HEVC. All this is before the potential for payments to companies that aren’t in the MPEG LA group, which reportedly includes Microsoft, Toshiba, Dolby, Sharp and Samsung, according to CNET.


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