A plea to the Foundation re. MPEG-2


 
154 posts   Page 3 of 7   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
by AndrewS » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:32 pm
ghans wrote:So what about Theora and WebM GPU-accelerated encoding ? The best way to show off the VideoCore !
Couldn't you make your alpha efforts available (even if its not that fast) ?

I suspect the RaspberryPi Foundation would like that, but I suspect that Broadcom would be unwilling to release alpha-state code (if that code even exists). And unless one of Broadcom's "big customers" (i.e. a phone manufacturer) asks for WebM or Theora support (which seems unlikely?), there's no financial reason for Broadcom to invest the effort in writing encoders/decoders for those formats for the VideoCore GPU.

All totally IMHO of course, as somebody who has no connection to either the Foundation or Broadcom :)
User avatar
Posts: 3487
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:50 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
by kadamski » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:35 am
Please correct me if I'm wrong but the licence is acually needed only because of patents issues. If so, then it only applies to the countries where software can be patented. So, for example it should not be a legal problem to sell RPi in EU (and many other countries) with MPEG2 decoding, without paying 2$ fee. Is this, at least in theory, true?
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:56 pm
by ghans » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:41 am
@AndrewS
Thats exactly why I asked. But the responses were so far "its all in the bundle"
Anyway , they assured us they wanted to make the userspace libs OSS anyway .

@kadamski
I suppose so, but Liz is the lawyer here. It would be an administrative nightmare (already a overstrechted expression )
to separate Licenses per country etc - not going to happen.

ghans
• Don't like the board ? Missing features ? Change to the prosilver theme ! You can find it in your settings.
• Don't like to search the forum BEFORE posting 'cos it's useless ? Try googling : yoursearchtermshere site:raspberrypi.org
Posts: 4449
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Germany
by gritz » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:18 pm
So many potential issues here. The couple at the front of my mind:

1) would a licence fee be retrospective (applicable to Pi already sold)? It seems unlikely that existing boxes could be easily locked out of a licenced codec - particularly if a hack made it into the wild. Those people who already have their Pi and want mpeg 2 compatibility haven't paid for it yet (obviously). Who makes up the shortfall? And who does the paperwork? :lol:

2) Would educational establishments (who are the intended end user here) want to pony up an extra $2 per unit for an unwanted facility?

It's difficult.
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 am
by AndrewS » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:22 pm
It's been mentioned that it'll be a "codec upgrade pack", rather than something included automatically with every RPi. Here's one suggestion for how it could work: viewtopic.php?p=47856#p47856
User avatar
Posts: 3487
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:50 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
by Max » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:35 pm
Apparently quite a few of those patents expire this year and the next.

Image

half-of-mpeg-2-patents-expire-in-2012

Wonder if that has a direct effect on the licensing fees. 8-)
by ghans » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:14 pm
I'm pretty confident this is easily realisable. Especially when the GPU is unknown and a completely undocumented (for crackers) architecture.
Point is : does it pay off ? It's work an amount of work nonetheless , and without profits nobody is going to maintain license servers.
• Don't like the board ? Missing features ? Change to the prosilver theme ! You can find it in your settings.
• Don't like to search the forum BEFORE posting 'cos it's useless ? Try googling : yoursearchtermshere site:raspberrypi.org
Posts: 4449
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Germany
by AndrewS » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:59 pm
I think it's fairly safe to assume that any "codec pack upgrade" will cost significantly more than just the bare license fees paid to MpegLA ;)
But with the Foundation being a charity, who knows what "profit" they'll need to make.
User avatar
Posts: 3487
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:50 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
by thefrog » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:01 pm
Where on the priority list does making these codec's licensable and purchasable fall? Reading the various forums, the sentiment seems run from "we could do this" to "this isn't something we want to spend time on".

Where on this fit in the time horizon?
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: Virginia
by Gert van Loo » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:54 pm
To be honestly: I don't know.
I don't think we need to spend any time on the encoders/decoders.
As far as I know all the common and various not-so-common video and audio encoders/decoders are already running on the GPU.
I have only a hardware view of the project but I can see we need two major contributions.
- A secure license handling system.
- A Linux interface.
There is only so much time the volunteers at Broadcom can spend on the Raspberry-Pi and if they spend it on the above mentioned code something else is not done.
User avatar
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 2025
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:27 am
by ghans » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:55 am
WebM and Theora ? Pretty please ?

ghans
• Don't like the board ? Missing features ? Change to the prosilver theme ! You can find it in your settings.
• Don't like to search the forum BEFORE posting 'cos it's useless ? Try googling : yoursearchtermshere site:raspberrypi.org
Posts: 4449
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Germany
by dom » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:09 am
ghans wrote:WebM and Theora ? Pretty please ?

ghans


So if you had a WebM decoder, what content would you play with it?
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 4011
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 7:41 pm
Location: Cambridge
by ghans » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:43 am
WebM encoding wasn't accelerated ?
A cheap digital recorder was my idea.
• Don't like the board ? Missing features ? Change to the prosilver theme ! You can find it in your settings.
• Don't like to search the forum BEFORE posting 'cos it's useless ? Try googling : yoursearchtermshere site:raspberrypi.org
Posts: 4449
Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:30 pm
Location: Germany
by thefrog » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:25 pm
jamesh wrote:A Raspi could, with the right software (not available - just an example), transcode SD MPEG2 to H264 in real time (if I worked the numbers out right!). With the right HW add on it can encode 1080p30 H264 from an HDMI video stream. Can't be that an expensive an operation...

I reckon there might be a market for a Raspi based real time transcoder.


I've considered these http://xbmc.org/davilla/2009/12/29/broa ... its-magic/ in the past for a lower power Atom system (I didn't realize how old that link was till I read the date in the path). No idea how large that market turned out to be.
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: Virginia
by AndrewS » Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am
thefrog wrote:I've considered these http://xbmc.org/davilla/2009/12/29/broa ... its-magic/ in the past for a lower power Atom system

Interesting :!: Is the "common programming API" used by the CrystalHD also offered by the RaspberryPi, or is the BCM2835 such a different beast that this wasn't/isn't possible?
I guess an interesting side-question is whether anything other than XBMC did add support for the CrystalHD decoder chip? :?
EDIT: To answer the second part of my question, a quick google finds http://intr.overt.org/blog/?p=117
User avatar
Posts: 3487
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:50 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
by W. H. Heydt » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:17 am
kadamski wrote:Please correct me if I'm wrong but the licence is acually needed only because of patents issues. If so, then it only applies to the countries where software can be patented. So, for example it should not be a legal problem to sell RPi in EU (and many other countries) with MPEG2 decoding, without paying 2$ fee. Is this, at least in theory, true?


let me give an example of why it may not be that simple... I live in the US, where software can, to a degree at least, get patent protection (or, at least, companies keep trying for it and get into VERY expensive court fights). I ordered (and received) a Pi from RS. It was shipped from the UK. Does that count as an EU sale? Or a US sale?

In addition, given the ability people have to download software from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world (once again, look at the DECSS case), it may be *legal* for someone to write software AND be illegal for someone else to download it and use...all because of different laws in different countries.

If i were to download legally written software that has IP protection in the US, unless I shout it from the rooftops, the odds are quite good I'd never be caught...but I'm an individual and neither a school nor a corporation, so the risk factors are different for me than they are for those sorts of entities.

Possibly the best option is to wait for the MPEG2 patents to run out (that was an interesting plot that was posted), but by the time the last one does, no one may *care* about MPEG2 any more.
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)
by kadamski » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:57 am
Well, I don't know if that counts as a EU or US sale but I'm sure it's quite clear for lawyers. As for the rest of your post, I fully agree with you. But that only applies to US (and couple other countries) but not to EU. There was an idea to make software patentable here in EU too and there was some battles about this in European Parliament but we won them and we are free from them. At least in theory because, as this example shows, we still have to worry about software patents even though they don't exist in our law.
Raspberry Pi Foundation works in GB and I believe that getting Rpi to schools in GB is their priority (it's not the only goal, of course, putting them to schools in other countries is also important but still..) . I know that video codecs are not really necessary for foundation goals but why can't schools in GB (and EU in general) use some software (in this case video codecs)? Because that's the law in US?
And I know it can be impractical to sell different version of RPi with and without video codecs, depending of the country of buyer but I hope now you understand what I mean.
Posts: 187
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:56 pm
by khulat » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:30 am
It's not entirely true that no software patents exist in the EU. See http://eupat.ffii.org/int/intro/ for more information on this. It's more or less a case of interpreting the law so it says software patents are allowed and with that interpretation the European Patent Office has granted more than 30000 software patents.
It is a rather infuriating thing.
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:43 pm
by W. H. Heydt » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:14 pm
Actually...I suspect focusing on *software* patents is a bit of a red herring. I certainly don't know what the patents that one needs to license to write an MPEG-2 decoder are, but they may very well be for things other than the software that would be involved. In any case, so long as MPEG-2 is covered by patents of any sort, unless someone with deep enough pockets wants to try to break those patents (and succeeds in doing so), I think for projects like the Pi patience is called for. Once the patents expire, anyone can write a decoder and distribute it without paying for licenses.

(On the breaking of patents...there's a lot of material, both current and historical. I am always somewhat bemused about whose prior art was used to break the deForest patent on the triode.)
Posts: 1454
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)
by waldojim42 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:17 am
I know this is my first post, but it appears to me that this is a relatively simple problem, with a simple solution. Offer up "version c" with the codecs enabled in the firmware at an additional cost. Then there is no concern over piracy, inexpensive educational units could still be the focus, and the media users have the functions they want.

I am not sure how plausible that solution is, but I do know I would buy one. As it stands, I am still waiting on the current Pi, and Mpeg 2 won't dissuade me, as I have many different projects I intend to put it through. It would be nice to xbmc it though, and have it mounted to the back of my TV.
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:13 am
by abishur » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:24 am
waldojim42 wrote:I know this is my first post, but it appears to me that this is a relatively simple problem, with a simple solution. Offer up "version c" with the codecs enabled in the firmware at an additional cost. Then there is no concern over piracy, inexpensive educational units could still be the focus, and the media users have the functions they want.

I am not sure how plausible that solution is, but I do know I would buy one. As it stands, I am still waiting on the current Pi, and Mpeg 2 won't dissuade me, as I have many different projects I intend to put it through. It would be nice to xbmc it though, and have it mounted to the back of my TV.


Ah if only it was that simple :-)

From this and other threads, it's been implied that what we need to give the r-pi the ability to play mpeg-2 files would be something we could move around without the proper security. Just because a version C came out with the codecs enabled wouldn't be enough to prevent people from taking those codecs and distributing them around. Now it's also been hinted that the chip itself might have some built in ability to handle anti-piracy in this regard but it's something they would need to look into amongst all the other things going on right now. I know all of us (and I include myself in that us) in this thread really want mpeg-2, but the fact is we're a small percentage here. Out of the half a million pis sold, I *might* have seen almost 50 people express a desire for mpeg-2. Even considering the fact that not everyone who wants it will join the forum and comment about it, that still going to be a very miniscule percentage of your consumer base.

All that said, it seems like there is good reason to hope that we'll eventually get our wishes and have a codec pack available. We just have to wait our turns ;-)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)
User avatar
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 4250
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:10 am
Location: USA
by thefrog » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:58 am
I suspect that any licensing scheme would have to be implemented in the binary GPU blob to be trustworthy enough to work. Even still, coding of this type usually requires specialized knowledge to prevent easy circumvention. If there was a 'model c', the driver would have to be 'unfoolable'.

There is unique serialization on the Pi, but turning that into a set of signed information and a GPU blob capable of enabling codecs bases on that information is tough logistically. A lot of signing and keeping track and not getting hacked at anyplace along the way... From the CA to the binary blob.

It'll be a while before anyone takes that task up for the htpc crowd. I think mostly due to the bookkeeping and where the coding has to take place (in the GPU).
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:41 pm
Location: Virginia
by mikerr » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:15 am
You may not have seen many asking for accelerated mpeg2 yet, because few realise what it means at this point:

UK Freeview TV is MPEG2

So without that running on the GPU, it makes anything involving TV signals a job for the CPU and hence lower frame rate / less things feasible.
Got a Pi Camera? View it in my android app - Raspicam Remote ! No software required on the pi
User avatar
Posts: 1190
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:46 pm
Location: NorthWest, UK
by jamesh » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:52 am
Freeview HD is H264 I believe, but the point is valid. But even so, how many people buying Pi's want to use them for broadcast TV?
Soon to be unemployed software engineer currently specialising in camera drivers and frameworks, but can put mind to most embedded tasks. Got a job in N.Cambridge or surroundings? I'm interested!
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Posts: 11616
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:41 pm
by rpdom » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:03 am
mikerr wrote:UK Freeview TV is MPEG2


Watching my Freeview recordings is (just) one of the things I was hoping to do with my Pi. Either by running a MythTV frontend (which would b hoping a bit much), or just as a standalone player for the files.

There's probably a lot of people who would really like GPU driven MPEG2 decoding who are not commenting on this thread.
Posts: 3358
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 5:17 am
Location: Essex, UK