A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2


 
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by Lactobacillus » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:54 pm
So MPEG-2 is free in EU?

So there should be an easy way to add the decoder. Just add it to all RPIs and add 2 $ for ALL US sales (MPEG-2 "tax"). There are different prices (taxes, shipping, whatever) in all countries. So you have to adjust the prices for all countries on all accounts.

Am I totally wrong?
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by AndrewS » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:23 pm
Lactobacillus wrote:So MPEG-2 is free in EU?

Absolutely no idea, but there are a lot of UK and EU specific companies in the list I linked to earlier... viewtopic.php?p=125281#p125281
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by abishur » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:27 pm
Lactobacillus wrote:So MPEG-2 is free in EU?

So there should be an easy way to add the decoder. Just add it to all RPIs and add 2 $ for ALL US sales (MPEG-2 "tax"). There are different prices (taxes, shipping, whatever) in all countries. So you have to adjust the prices for all countries on all accounts.

Am I totally wrong?


I strongly doubt mpeg-2 is free anywhere.

The only issue with adding mpeg-2 to all pis and upping the price by 2 bucks is that there's enough backlash from those who felt $25/$35 should have included all tax/shipping/vat and come on wheels with a sandwich (that's a Liz joke for ya ;-) ) Indeed, there's a backlash from those who feel that until the model A is released that tag line should read an ARM GNU/Linux box for $35.

That said, I just want to reiterate (yet again :-P) that there's no need to panic on this issue. Even in this thread we've had RPF members saying that they're trying to work something out on the mpeg-2 issue. No one is saying no to mpeg-2 so we can all take a deep breath and relax ;-) Those who actually know how the chip handles anti-piracy are going to look into it; by all means voice your interest if you want it, but also understand that if it were as simple as X, then they would have done X already :-P
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by AndrewS » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:10 am
abishur wrote:but also understand that if it were as simple as X, then they would have done X already :-P

This is the thread about using the GPU to hardware-decode MPEG-2. The thread about using the GPU to hardware-accelerate X is here: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=4649 ;) :lol:
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by thefrog » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:20 am
tufty wrote:
thefrog wrote:...there seems to be a bunch of antipathy around folks expressing that MPEG2 as a requirement. So perhaps if I explain, then it will either make sense, or provide a insightful counter-argument that convinces me to do/want something else.

I don't think it's antipathy as such, just an expression that, if you have mpeg-2 decoding ability as a fundamental requirement, buying a device that doesn't provide that functionality, doesn't advertise itself as providing that functionality, and is aimed at a completely different market sector - then moaning about the lack of said functionality is a bit daft, regardless of whether that's due to an "artificial hobbling" of the chipset used.


I did not convey what I ment as clearly as I would have liked. I ment an antipathy towards MPEG2... As in "why would you want that?" One of the mildest being:

jamesh wrote:Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?


I used this quote because I didn't think jamesh would think I was picking on him. I would hope that my advocacy for MPEG2 is not perceived as 'moaning'.


tufty wrote:We understand that there are use cases for a media player / stb where mpeg-2 is useful or even fundamental. But they aren't use cases for the Pi, regardless of what enthusiastic third parties managed to assume the Pi could do before it hit the streets.
thefrog wrote:The fact that the Pi does not do what I wanted is my fault for not doing the proper research.

Indeed.

The conflation of the Raspberry Pi's abilities with the SoC's abilities by 3rd parties *is* something I have moaned about. Believing none of what you read and only half of what you see may yet come back into vogue. Ultimately, only thefrog is responsible for thefrog's decisions. The information was there.
tufty wrote:
thefrog wrote:I would like to humbly suggest that you have not yet seen the true demands of your customer base due to the lack of ready availability. I am sure that the request for features will mature as more Pi's get out there and MPEG2 will probably be somewhere among them -- the foundation will have to prioritize according to the demand.


tufty wrote:You have to remember that you are not a customer of the foundation. You are a customer of RS components or Farnell / Element 14. As far as the foundation is concerned, you are a beta tester, and not even one who's testing anything relevant to their device's goals.


Perhaps you are not communicating what you intended; I am a customer of the foundation, as surely as I am the customer of other fine products I have purchased from distribution and retail outlets over the years. Although I may not be the intended beneficiary of the foundation's vision, I do mange to rank among your customers. Semantics though; I did build my first ARM tool chain, write my first python program (stop laughing people that know me), and I may also do my first GPIO project with the Pi.
tufty wrote: That said, the Foundation do isten to their users, must be aware of the demand for mpeg-2 from a minority of them, and I'm sure that dealing with that demand will be prioritised according to its relevance to providing decent computer science education for kids.

Simon


I think that this will play out over time. I have seen a few statements that it was on the radar and not to panic. Ultimately I can be patient. I suspect that the need to encode the new camera module (maybe someday in stereo) will result in some movement. I would rather things be done right and properly in their due course than rushed. I actually worry more about the possible liability of doing mpeg2 'wrong' more than the wait for it to be done correctly.

I have tried to be careful to state in my conversation that I agree with the goals of the foundation and that they can best set the priorities.

(p.s. responding to this on an iPad was difficult)
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by thefrog » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:44 am
AndrewS wrote:
abishur wrote:but also understand that if it were as simple as X, then they would have done X already :-P

This is the thread about using the GPU to hardware-decode MPEG-2. The thread about using the GPU to hardware-accelerate X is here: viewtopic.php?f=63&t=4649 ;) :lol:

I had to go read that whole thread to get this joke. I must be dense -- it made no sense till I came back and re read this.
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by jamesh » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:18 am
thefrog wrote:
jamesh wrote:Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?


I used this quote because I didn't think jamesh would think I was picking on him. I would hope that my advocacy for MPEG2 is not perceived as 'moaning'.



No worries. I could have phrased that better - my point was H264 is a better system than MPEG2, and if you are just watching ripped DVD's then you are better off ripping to H264. However, OP was using the DVD's themselves, which is a different kettle of fish. And there is always the broadcast digital SD.

As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?
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by gigapixel » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:24 am
jamesh wrote:As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?

I'd pay that much just for the license. The camera would be a great freebie.
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by saintdev » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:20 am
gigapixel wrote:
jamesh wrote:As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?

I'd pay that much just for the license. The camera would be a great freebie.

Seconded.
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by AndrewS » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:02 am
jamesh wrote:But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?

According to the link posted earlier ( http://www.apple.com/quicktime/extendin ... nents.html ), that's in the same ballpark as the cost of Apple's MPEG2 component ($19.99).
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by robwriter » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:41 am
jamesh wrote:
thefrog wrote:
jamesh wrote:Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?


I used this quote because I didn't think jamesh would think I was picking on him. I would hope that my advocacy for MPEG2 is not perceived as 'moaning'.



No worries. I could have phrased that better - my point was H264 is a better system than MPEG2, and if you are just watching ripped DVD's then you are better off ripping to H264. However, OP was using the DVD's themselves, which is a different kettle of fish. And there is always the broadcast digital SD.

As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?


I would, but I'd make use of the camera as well.

I realise not everyone needs MPEG2, but I think in an ideal world the blob would have available (even if for some cost) decoding/encoding for all the formats it supports, not just those that are licensed.
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by AndrewS » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:57 am
robwriter wrote:I realise not everyone needs MPEG2, but I think in an ideal world the blob would have available (even if for some cost) decoding/encoding for all the formats it supports, not just those that are licensed.

In terms of licensing, would the RPF pay license fees to Broadcom (who then pays the licensing bodies), or would the RPF need to set up agreements (and payments) with each of the licensing bodies directly?
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by razza » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:47 pm
I would like to log my interest in paying this amount for mpeg 2 encode/decode but would prefer if I didn't have to have the camera attached to the Pi at all times. Would this be a one off operation, and then the licence is uploaded to the Pi, or would the camera need to be attached every time you wanted to use mpeg2?
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by thefrog » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:28 pm
jamesh wrote:
thefrog wrote:
jamesh wrote:Why are you watching DVD as MPEG2? I always rip to H264 - much better compression (about twice as good for same quality) as MPEG2. Or are you playing direct from DVD?


I used this quote because I didn't think jamesh would think I was picking on him. I would hope that my advocacy for MPEG2 is not perceived as 'moaning'.



No worries. I could have phrased that better - my point was H264 is a better system than MPEG2, and if you are just watching ripped DVD's then you are better off ripping to H264. However, OP was using the DVD's themselves, which is a different kettle of fish. And there is always the broadcast digital SD.

As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?


I chose your quote because it was a positive 'something else should be better'. I agree that MPEG2 is a legacy codec. Others have been more vociferous about MPEG2. Honestly, if I could replace all the video in my DVD/ISO containers with something else and maintain the menus I would do that happily.

As far as the Licenses: If you had a pci express mini slot, I'd have bought and installed a Broadcom Crystal HD card already (~$50). So yes. I don't know where I fall on the distribution curve of what people will pay for an MPEG2 license.

If you had the camera, you have other things that need licensed as well -- correct? At some point you need to encode video from the camera. I'd be interested to see what you guys come up with. I was thinking a text file containing cyphertext read from the boot partition that was the Pi's Serial Number and the string of purchased codecs signed by the foundation's certificate.
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by abishur » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:35 pm
jamesh wrote:As said above, we don't 'hate' MPEG2, but we do have difficulties managing the licence situation and those need to be overcome. One possible solution might be the camera module - we could use it as a dongle to enable MPEG2 and include the licence in the module price. But would you pay $20-25 for a MPEG2 licence?


I would pay that much if I knew I would be able to record live OTA TV signals (it would save me a lot in the long run after all). If it was just to watch the content I already have on my Hard drive... I probably would not pay that, I would just use Handbrake to convert all my files over to h.264 :lol:
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by W. H. Heydt » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:19 pm
I do not care either way as none of the projects I have in mind for the Pi involve video encoding, but it occurs to me that:

In light of the rate at which the patents covering MPEG-2 are expiring, the--as I understand it--low license rate per machine at moderately high volumes (I think someone indicated that it runs about $0.10 each in when there are 100K+ licenses involved), and the educational purpose of the Pi, would it be possible for someone to start a fundraising effort to try to negotiate a flat-fee license for all existing and future Pis?

My guess is that it could be done for something like $50K to $100K, and if that were accomplished, it would then be possible to ask Broadcom to enable MPEG-2 in the blob and not worry about whether or not individual machines use it or not.
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by thefrog » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:23 pm
W. H. Heydt wrote:I do not care either way as none of the projects I have in mind for the Pi involve video encoding, but it occurs to me that:

In light of the rate at which the patents covering MPEG-2 are expiring, the--as I understand it--low license rate per machine at moderately high volumes (I think someone indicated that it runs about $0.10 each in when there are 100K+ licenses involved), and the educational purpose of the Pi, would it be possible for someone to start a fundraising effort to try to negotiate a flat-fee license for all existing and future Pis?

My guess is that it could be done for something like $50K to $100K, and if that were accomplished, it would then be possible to ask Broadcom to enable MPEG-2 in the blob and not worry about whether or not individual machines use it or not.


That was also something I would be willing to contribute towards. There could be a KickStarter Campaign.
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by dom » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:07 pm
W. H. Heydt wrote:I think someone indicated that it runs about $0.10 each in when there are 100K+ licenses involved


Can you provice a link for that?

I believe it is $2 per unit sold, with no cap for mpeg2 decode.
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by jamesh » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:11 pm
I should add that the camera idea was just something Gert and I came up with as a possibility, which also covers encoders. There are also other options, but all of them seem to involve quite a bit of databasing. So nothing really decided yet.
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by Max » Wed Jul 18, 2012 6:25 pm
Cost aside, a problem might be that people would need new cases or do modding to house the camera.

If you want cheap basic hardware dongles: believe SD cards have a kind of manufacturer ID/serial as well.
Perhaps you can find a supplier that is willing to sell you a batch with either a known serial number range or a rPi specific manufacturer ID.
by thefrog » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:01 pm
IF there is a small dongle route, could it hang off one of the low level interface buses? Like the SPI or I2C?
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by abishur » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:25 pm
thefrog wrote:IF there is a small dongle route, could it hang off one of the low level interface buses? Like the SPI or I2C?


I believe the webcam option he's referring to is indeed attached to one of those
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by AndrewS » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:46 pm
abishur wrote:I would pay that much if I knew I would be able to record live OTA TV signals (it would save me a lot in the long run after all).

AIUI you don't need any encoder or decoder to record live OTA TV - you simply dump the MPEG2 stream received by your USB DVB-T (Freeview) dongle straight to disk :geek:
If you wanted to watch that recording on your Pi though, you'd need an MPEG2 decoder.
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by abishur » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:22 am
AndrewS wrote:
abishur wrote:I would pay that much if I knew I would be able to record live OTA TV signals (it would save me a lot in the long run after all).

AIUI you don't need any encoder or decoder to record live OTA TV - you simply dump the MPEG2 stream received by your USB DVB-T (Freeview) dongle straight to disk :geek:
If you wanted to watch that recording on your Pi though, you'd need an MPEG2 decoder.


Good to know! I thought (mistakenly so apparently :-P) that some sticks relied on the graphics card to do the encoding.
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by AndrewS » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:47 am
If you're talking about analogue TV (or composite video), then yes you'd typically need the help of a graphics card. But for digital TV, the tuner just outputs the digital stream. I'm no expert, so dunno exactly what happens (demuxing etc.) at which stage, or what happens inside the dongle and what needs to happen in software. But I know one of the people who wrote the software for http://uk.playstation.com/playtv/ :)
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