PALO ALTO, Calif. – Like an old married couple, Hollywood and Silicon Valley keep fighting the same old arguments. The latest spat erupted at the first meeting of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers held on the Stanford campus here.
Hollywood claims Silicon Valley doesn’t do enough to protect its content. The Valley counters Hollywood doesn’t put out its video in ways attractive enough for the digital age.
Meanwhile the next big format war is brewing. And the Valley is still enamored as ever with each new sexy codec that comes along.
On the codec front, a Google engineering manager said the search giant locked down the code stream and held an industry summit two weeks ago for its VP9 codec. It showed the royalty-free codec it evolved from VP8 that Google acquired with On2 Technologies delivering streams while using roughly half the CPU horsepower of today’s H.264.
The free, fast codec will be much more attractive than the competing H.265 (aka HEVC), said Google’s Jan Skoglund, claiming H.265 will carry even high royalties than its predecessor. Industry giants are still debating terms for H.265 at the MPEG LA.
Expect more shoes to fall in this debate over the next year as debate heats up and crystallizes over patent terms for both codecs. Chip makers, many of whom attended the VP9 summit, are likely to carve support for both options into silicon. Meanwhile Google engineers are already turning their attention to a VP10 generation, said Skoglund.
Google demoed VP9 using significantly less CPU power than H.264.