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Cisco Announces "Thor" Royalty-Free Video Codec

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  • Cisco Announces "Thor" Royalty-Free Video Codec

    Phoronix: Cisco Announces "Thor" Royalty-Free Video Codec

    With Cisco not liking the patent situation around H.265 nor Google's VP9 video codec, they are spinning their own royalty-free video codec...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...or-Video-Codec

  • #2
    Anyone know why Cisco is so interested in video codecs? Do they eventually want to hardwire that into their network equipment for video conferencing?

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    • #3
      They mention that Daala has the same goals, but don't mention why it isn't satisfactory for them. I guess it doesn't matter that much if both are open source and developed in a way to avoid patents. But I trust Mozilla and Xiph.org more than Cisco.

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      • #4
        I think it is good to have multiple royalty-free video standards.

        Remember with VP8, this standard was almost sunk by the MPEG LA before Google decided to pay extortion money. But the damage was already done and VP8 has only a minor role today.
        Had the attack on VP8 succeeded, Theora would have been the only non-patent-encumbered codec left to use.

        Now with VP9, Thor and Daala, (assuming they end up sufficiently dissimilar) even if one of the standards is found infringing, two more are still available. This gives much more confidence.

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        • #5
          There so many next gen video codecs that it starting to get hard to follow.
          HEVC, Daala, VP9, Thor.
          The question is which will have supported hardware acceleration, patent situation and licensing fees.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chithanh View Post
            ...Now with VP9, Thor and Daala, (assuming they end up sufficiently dissimilar) even if one of the standards is found infringing, two more are still available.
            As usually the downside is that you can bet different browsers (video players, ISVs, IHV, OSes) will support different combinations of these codecs, so it ends up being a mess for the average developer and user regardless.
            We need at least one codec that is "guaranteed" to be supported (almost) anywhere + be high quality.

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            • #7
              Nille_kungen
              If you had read the article, the patent situation with H.265/HEVC is described, and is also what prompted Cisco to introduce Thor.

              VP9 is hardware accelerated by the chips listed here. Thor and Daala are not even finalized yet, so asking for hardware acceleration is preposterous.

              mark45
              No, outside from tiny embedded systems I don't see any reason to standardize on one single codec. The code to implement all three is quite small in comparison to whatever else software runs even on a smartphone.
              Last edited by chithanh; 11 August 2015, 06:33 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                asking for hardware acceleration is preposterous.
                Why? It seems completely reasonable to me. Unless Thor is more than 50% better than VP9, then I'd go for the codec with hardware support every time. Given that I have a hard time telling Theora apart from HEVC, and I have plenty of bandwidth, I don't see the value (for me) in releasing a new codec each year.

                Still, if Cisco want to waste their time instead of working with VP9, it's their prerogative.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                  If you had read the article, the patent situation with H.265/HEVC is described, and is also what prompted Cisco to introduce Thor.
                  Not liking isn't a good description.
                  And what is claimed isn't always right which often shows over time.
                  Originally posted by chithanh View Post
                  VP9 is hardware accelerated by the chips listed here. Thor and Daala are not even finalized yet, so asking for hardware acceleration is preposterous.
                  No it's not.

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                  • #10
                    The code to Thor is already open-source and they are contributing it as an input to the IETC for the NetVC working group.

                    Cisco's blog post announcing Thor does acknowledge Mozilla's work on the Daala video codec that has most of the game goals, but it appears Cisco wanted to a clean slate in designing their own free video codec.
                    In other words, NetVC is in a situation sort of like the one that led to Opus, where Xiph.org brought CELT to the table, Skype brought Silk, and they ended up producing something that combined the strengths of both.

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