Cisco to release an open source version of H.264 Codec to better counter Google

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The Mozilla Foundation and Cisco have announced that a free open source version of H.264, which previously required a license fee, will soon be available.

For those who do not know, H.264, also known as MPEG- 4 AVC, is a video coding standard, which is very popular on the Internet. Its main advantage is its high quality/ compression ratio, making it one of the most widely used formats online.

The open source version of the codec, called "OpenH.264" will firstly be available for Firefox. Mozilla explains that "Firefox will automatically download the appropriate binary module and install it on the user's machine when necessary". Note that this common approach does not force the user to use H.264 if they prefer VP8. Meanwhile, the Mozilla Foundation will continue to develop its own codec (named Daala ).

Cisco's initiative (which could be deemed beneficial) also aims to make H.264 the standard format for audio and video communication in real-time (voice over IP and video telephony more generally).

Other players, such as Google’s "VP8" standard, pose serious competition. However, Cisco is willing to pay licensing fees to MPEG -LA consortium to impose this technology on manufacturers.

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