The MPEG-4 camp gained two crucial pegs with announcements this week, but it
also saw a new legal challenge.
First, start-up iVAST Inc. landed a deal with El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based
ClearStar USA to supply its MPEG-4 encoding, delivery and decoding system to the
satellite content-delivery and communications provider.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based iVAST and ClearStar teamed up earlier this year on
the first successful content broadcast using MPEG-4 over satellite.
The multimillion-dollar deal, announced Tuesday, will include a beta
deployment in May, with full deployment set to begin in August in Mexico and the
And at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas this
week, Peter Marx, vice president of emerging technologies at Vivendi Universal
SA, told a crowd the much-anticipated MovieLink streaming video-on-demand
service would tap MPEG-4 as a format, although he stopped short of saying that
it would be the exclusive scheme.
MovieLink, formerly called MovieFly, is a joint project between movie studios
Vivendi, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Warner Bros. and
Paramount Pictures that is set to debut later this year.
The latest in video standards developed by the Moving Picture Expert Group,
MPEG-4 promises to deliver video and audio at higher compression rates than
older MPEG-2 video. It also adds interactive elements.
But there is a fly in the MPEG-4 ointment, as well.
Streaming-media-technology provider On2 Technologies Inc., which has developed
its own proprietary codec, filed a position paper with the Department of Justice
and 50 state attorneys general arguing that MPEG-4 should not be recognized a
On2 argued that the DOJ-sanctioned patent pool, which was set up to collect
and distribute license fees for MPEG technology, has not been formally extended
to include MPEG-4 and, therefore, its licensing is improper.