HEVC Advance Cuts Back on Some Royalty Rates, Caps

Licensing group ‘caves to pressure,’ analyst says
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HEVC Advance, a licensing administrator for HEVC/H.265 patents, announced this week that it has eliminated “subscription” and “title-by-title” content distribution from its patent license as it looks to speed the adoption of the bit-saving codec among streaming, pay TV, over-the-air and satellite video distributors.

That move basically eliminates content distribution royalty fees and reduces certain royalty rates and caps, the organization said.

Further, the org said it has expanded its discounts for Region 1 Lower-Priced Connected Home and Other Devices Categories to include sales up to $80 per unit, and cut its combined $45 million Device and Content Distribution Enterprise caps to a single Enterprise cap of $40 million. It has also expanded its Trademark Program discounts to include physical media, while physical content distribution (i.e. Blu-ray discs) and devices will continue to be licensed.

StreamingMedia.com has a side-by-side comparison of the old versus new approach. Examples of companies on the HEVC Advance licensor list includes Dolby Laboratories, Humax, Philips, Samsung Electronics, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., and GE Video Compression.

“HEVC Advance has worked hard since its inception to facilitate HEVC adoption and enable consumers to enjoy the best video experience. By eliminating non-physical HEVC content distribution from our license, we are transforming to meet the needs of distributors looking to adopt HEVC and bring the incredible bandwidth savings and clarity of 4K UHD to consumers,” HEVC Advance CEO Peter Moller, said in a statement.

Dan Rayburn, principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, and chairman of next month’s NAB Streaming Summit, said other pressures led the group in this direction:

Patent licensing group HEVC Advance caves to pressure. Will no longer "license nor seek royalty fees for non-physical #HEVC content distribution including Internet streaming, cable, over-the-air broadcast and satellite". Has also discounted other fees. See https://t.co/5uAHLigkPF

— Dan Rayburn (@DanRayburn) March 14, 2018

StreamingMedia.com, meanwhile points out that MPEG LA, another HEVC patent pool, doesn’t currently charge for HEVC-encoded content, but hasn’t ruled it out, either. Examples of licensors in the MPEG LA HEVC program include Apple, BBC, Funai Electric, NTT, Siemens Corp., and Vidyo.

The revisions to the HEVC Advance patent license also come amid adoption of Google-developed open/royalty free VP9, and as some big names get behind the emerging AV1 video codec.

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