[co-author: Dr. Timothy Pohlman]
The following technology video codec
The following-generation video codec Versatile Video Coding (VVC) (H.266) affords vital technical benefits over its predecessors HEVC (H.265) and AVC (H.264) and rivals (eg, the proprietary codecs AV1 and VP9). Finalized in October 2020, VVC can obtain the identical stage of perceptual high quality as prior video codecs with as much as 50% enchancment in video coding effectivity, supporting 4K and 8K extremely excessive definition and excessive dynamic vary. The usual’s designers created it from the bottom up with new functions in thoughts, therefore ‘versatile’ in its title.
These efficiency positive aspects come at an opportune second, because the centrality of environment friendly video encoding in trendy life grows ever extra obvious. A examine by Ericsson launched final 12 months forecasts that, at the same time as complete cell visitors worldwide is about to quadruple by 2026, the proportion of that visitors for which video accounts will develop from 66% to 77%, assuming that the business employs environment friendly compression expertise.
A number of elements feed into this explosive progress in transmitted video. For the primary time, billions of individuals could have entry to high-speed web and video streaming. International lockdowns because of covid-19 have drastically elevated the prevalence of video streaming and conferencing. As well as, a number of new use instances for video are on the close to horizon, together with 360-degree video gaming functions, distant management over manufacturing machines and robotics, and healthcare functions (e.g., distant surgical procedure).
VVC was designed to satisfy the world’s calls for for environment friendly video compression and help a wide range of new functions. Nonetheless, to unlock VVC’s potential, business should account for hundreds of SEPs. Patent holders will, in lots of instances, request royalties for these, and the royalty price of implementation could play a task within the adoption fee of VVC.
Recognizing each the worth of speedy uptake of VVC to worldwide commerce and improvement and the potential impediment that an opaque or extreme royalty regime might pose to this purpose, firms shaped the Media Coding Trade Discussion board (MC-IF) in 2018. Since MPEG-LA’s MPEG-2 patent pool started within the Nineties, video codec implementers have grown accustomed to acquiring all or a lot of the patent rights that they should implement a codec by way of swimming pools. Three patent swimming pools serve VVC’s predecessor HEVC, and plenty of contend that this plurality has impeded HEVC’s use. Accordingly, amongst MC-IF’s ambitions was the fostering of a single, dominant patent pool that may supply all or almost all of the patent rights that an implementer would wish for a single worth. As MC-IF has said in current press releases, the group’s membership, which now contains 49 firms, didn’t align on a single pool administrator. Two members in MC-IF’s pool fostering course of, MPEG-LA and Entry Advance (previously HEVC Advance), intend to launch separate patent swimming pools for VVC.
However, a VVC licensing regime with broad business help stays attainable as video codecs have launched with a number of swimming pools traditionally. For instance, MPEG-LA and Through Licensing provided separate swimming pools for the 2003-finalized normal AVC (H.264) – presently probably the most broadly used codec. With HEVC, the licensing ecosystem has turn out to be extra stratified. Determine 1 shows the members of the three HEVC patent swimming pools – HEVC Advance, MPEG-LA and Velos Media. One other licensing administrator – Sisvel – affords implementers of the VP9 and AV1 codecs licences to some SEPs which might be additionally licensed to HEVC implementers in different swimming pools.
Determine 1: HEVC patent pool licensing packages and pool licensors
The VVC management panorama
With a selection of VVC swimming pools to affix, SEP house owners and implementers alike ought to contemplate the depth and energy of each other’s SEP portfolios. Complicating this effort is the truth that the universe of VVC SEPs is unknowable so far. The patent declaration knowledge for VVC –promulgated by the requirements physique ITU-T and the consortium Joint Video Specialists Crew (JVET) – is incomplete, as ITU-T doesn’t require SEP house owners to determine particular patents as important. Certainly, as of March 2021, simply 23 firms had filed declarations of VVC-essential patents with ITU-T, which is lower than half of MC-IF’s membership.
One method to figuring out VVC expertise leaders is to research the involvement of firms within the improvement of the VVC normal. This method assumes a correlation between a agency’s obvious affect on VVC and the energy of its VVC SEP portfolio. JVET is contribution-based, which implies that member firms can submit technical proposals for inclusion in the usual on approval by the membership. The ensuing closing VVC specs have thus been reviewed by all members in VVC standardization – a big cross-section of all world video compression experience. Because the consultants normally work for firms in competitors with each other, JVET is each collaborative and aggressive.
Significant, convincing contributions require appreciable analysis and funding. Common participation in requirements setting tends to accord an organization credibility in JVET, which in flip permits such an organization to place its personal expertise for inclusion in the usual. The counting and evaluation of permitted normal contributions is due to this fact one measure of how a lot share and affect firms have within the improvement of an ordinary corresponding to VVC.
Determine 2 exhibits the highest firms which have submitted permitted VVC normal contributions. Right here, the IPlytics Platform database gathered greater than 8,000 thousand VVC contributions, out of which solely about 1,100 VVC contributions have been recognized as ‘included’ within the closing VVC normal (as of March 2021). Qualcomm leads the VVC contributor listing, adopted by Huawei, ByteDance, Sharp and MediaTek. Of the highest 5 firms, ByteDance is the one one which was not concerned with the event of VVC’s predecessor HEVC. Different new contributors for VVC embrace the China-based firms Alibaba, Kuaishou and Hikvision, in addition to Korea-based Wilus Group. When taking a look at determine 2, a number of the listed firms belong the identical guardian firm as within the case of eg Sharp which has been acquired by Chinese language Foxconn, each listed individually.
Determine 2: VVC included contribution share per firm (IPlytics March 2021)
Determine 2 just isn’t a definitive itemizing of events with VVC-essential patents. In truth, of the declarations of VVC-essential patents on file with ITU-T, a number of declarants will not be listed right here as contributors. This might replicate the collaborative and iterative features of requirements setting, the place one participant’s expertise could wind up in contributions by one other as a result of it independently got here up with comparable improvements or due to casual – generally unattributed – collaborations. In any occasion, the statistics supplied herein are a superb start line for understanding which companies are more likely to have important patents and the relative depths of their portfolios.
Environment friendly video compression is essential in lots of respects to ongoing financial development worldwide. The majority of video presently transmitted over the web is encoded utilizing the 2003-finalized codec AVC, and we’re approaching the higher sure technologically of what that codec can present. VVC is poised to satisfy business calls for for video compression going ahead.
With widespread deployment of VVC will come the problem of licensing VVC SEPs. Senior patent counsel and normal managers ought to bear the next in thoughts about VVC patents:
1. Future applied sciences that allow video will more and more depend on patented expertise requirements corresponding to VVC.
2. Patent administrators mustn’t solely contemplate info retrieved from patent knowledge, but additionally monitor and contemplate patent declaration knowledge, declare charts, patent pool knowledge in addition to standardization knowledge (eg, technical contributions) to grasp the panorama of VVC patent holders.
3. VVC – like different video codecs – might be deployed worldwide, that means that the worth and enforceability of its SEPs might be thought of by a wide range of jurisdictions. Senior patent managers ought to keep in mind that the regulation surrounding enforcement of SEPs continues to evolve worldwide, with potential implications for any agency promoting standard-implementing expertise.
4. VVC was solely finalized in July 2020, that means that many patent functions disclosing VVC-essential expertise have but to difficulty. The variety of VVC SEPs is due to this fact always rising. Additionally, VVC’s designers meant for the usual to be helpful for brand spanking new, even unexpected, use instances.
This text was printed in IAM, which could be discovered here.