Do you want mpeg 2 decoding on your Pi?

Whats mpeg 2?
1%
1
Yes, if it was free
26%
23
No, I couldn't care less
13%
12
Yes, if it was less than £2
12%
11
Yes, if it was less than £10
47%
42
 
Total votes: 89
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AndrewS
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:49 pm

Nr90 wrote:Is it even possible for the pi to read it's serial number?

Code: Select all

cat /proc/cpuinfo
:geek:
(It's also used to generate the last half of the ethernet MAC address)

selsinork
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:58 pm

blugerchug wrote: I think he was sort of agreeing with you wasn't he? Wasn't it just a suggestion for policing a way of paying for a license? I agree $70 was a bit steep though :) but I'd be happy to pay extra for a mpeg2 ready version and I'm sure $70 was plucked as an example..
Yep, just an example... but deliberately picked to be a bit steep! I see the single main selling point being the $35 price tag and at that price my question has always been something like 'When can I buy 10 ?' or 20 or another randomly plucked number many times greater than 1. At $35 I can find lots of things to do with it, even a media player. But at $70 you start questioning if it's the right thing for the job of a media player - $79.99 for a Roku2, cased, remote, slick software, all the codecs.
So the Pi needs to work out significantly less to be worthwhile, especially as I'll need a case, psu and all the other bits for the Pi. How much margin does that leave for the mpeg2 license? I have no idea.
Just think it's not so simple as it's sometimes made out.

tufty
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:10 pm

AndrewS wrote:All extra complexity and cost... :|
Exactly. It would presumably require a significant amount of work to the "generic" GPU blob in order to be able to load (if available) an mepg2 blob into itself at boot, the mpeg2 blob itself would have to be able to verify itself against the Pi itself (and would thus have to be custom built for that pi). Obviously, changes to the generic GPU blob would have the potential for breaking the mpeg blob, and vice versa, so you'd probably need to build the mpeg blob against a known baseline gpu blob - meaning that every time you update the gpu baseline (10 updates in the last month), everyone needs a new mpeg blob. And that would have to be delivered in some totally transparent and painless manner.

You'd need at least a bunch of dedicated hardware to do builds, some sort of web page / service to handle registrations and delivery (along with the usual online payment gubbins), and someone's time to handle the inevitable paperwork and foulup resolution.

Pulling a total finger-in-the-air (although, I suspect, rather conservative) figure, and assuming you can get away with a couple of servers, you're probably looking at "merely" 50K or so in up-front costs, with an ongoing maintenance and administration budget ranging from around 1K/month for a low turnover (in the hundreds of licenses per month range) to 5k/month for a more substantial one. Taking a price point of a fiver, which would be reasonable, and assuming that you're losing 2 of that direct to the licensors, you'd need to sell getting on for 40 thousand license packs in the first year just to break even. The foundation would have to employ someone specifically to deal with licensing mpeg-2.

And that's all ignoring the almost inevitability of the protection getting blown wide open within hours of the first binaries hitting the streets.

As far as I see it, the only sane option would be to bundle mpeg2 licensing with every pi sold, and take the hit, in the same way that's happening for H.264. Unfortunately, that blows away the baseline price for the Pi (or at least, a significant chunk of anything the Foundation are getting from sales after Farnell and RS have taken their cut), and is thus not do-able.

You can pick up a roku 2 for 79 bucks. It's cased, comes with a remote and a power supply, and can do what you want without any buggering about.

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AndrewS
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:16 pm

tufty wrote:You can pick up a roku 2 for 79 bucks. It's cased, comes with a remote and a power supply, and can do what you want without any buggering about.
Does it play Quake3? ;) :lol:

tufty
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:22 pm

AndrewS wrote:
tufty wrote:You can pick up a roku 2 for 79 bucks. It's cased, comes with a remote and a power supply, and can do what you want without any buggering about.
Does it play Quake3? ;) :lol:
Out of the box, no. But it does play Angry Birds. Does that count?

On a more serious note, it uses the same SoC as the Pi, and runs Linux, so unless it doesn't come with OpenGL libraries (a possibility) it should be able to do pretty much everything the Pi can if you can get to the underlying OS and / or reflash it.

blugerchug
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:55 pm

tufty wrote:You can pick up a roku 2 for 79 bucks. It's cased, comes with a remote and a power supply, and can do what you want without any buggering about.
I take your point, I'm not sure the price translates that well in the UK though, Roku 2 is £99 at Amazon.co.uk

I think I'll quit while I'm behind... I'm beginning to feel like the only non believer at a scientology meeting! :lol:

robwriter
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:48 pm

I refuse to believe that a secure system couldn't be set up, and I certainly wouldn't mind if they made it linked exactly to a single Pi, and said tough luck if that Pi died.

Maybe I'm getting the wrong end of the stick, but it seems like people are against this idea, when in reality it can only be a good thing for the Pi to have more codecs providing it doesn't hinder other work. Maybe that's not possible, but I think only the foundation can really know that.

I've already given up on the Pi as a media player. It introduced me to XBMC and I liked it, but I couldn't live with the limitations, so I bought an old, slightly battered laptop with a working screen and power supply for less than 50 quid. And apart from being bigger and not as quiet, it wins in every other way.

jamesh
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:13 am

No-one is against it per-se. It just that some people have thought about what the problems are with trying to set up a licencing scheme. And there are problems, as has been outlined above. Just because people are pointing out problems, doesn't mean they are against the concept. More codecs will be great - and necessary when we release a camera module as we need to supply an encoder. My thoughts are if you want the codecs, you need to by the camera module. The camera module acts as a dongle - you only get the extra codecs if the camera is present. Or something like that. Problem would be other suppliers creating clones of the camera module. Might need to be combined with the serial number of the device.

No such thing as a completely secure system btw.
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:06 am

robwriter wrote:I refuse to believe that a secure system couldn't be set up, and I certainly wouldn't mind if they made it linked exactly to a single Pi, and said tough luck if that Pi died.
Depends on how secure you want and how much money you're willing to put into creating a secure system. Once a "secure" system is out there, there will be people trying to crack it. The ones trying to crack it probably have, or can get, the resources to do it by brute force, insight into how it is likely to work, leaked or stolen documents, or something dumb done by one or more manufacturers that have to have keys to make their products. Mostly likely, some combination of all of those methods.

Consider the MPAA and their creation, DECSS. Sure, the encryption turned out to be laughable, but the actual crack was a result of a bone-headed manufacturing decision. Since the DECSS system hinged on trade secrets, once the cat was out of bag, there was no way to put it back.

I agree with you that, at the cost of equipment and the proposed end user license price, the best way to handle it is one machine, one ,license. Machine dies, so does the license. For a couple of bucks it's not worth fighting over.

However, if someone has several Pis (I'm looking at a set of uses that will likely bring me into the 8 to 10 range personally), then there is the hassle factor if I have to keep track of which license key goes with which Pi. I want to be able to just swap in another SD card without futzing around matching some particular key to a particular machine. In classrooms, it will be even worse. Do you really expect teachers to spend the time making sure that keys are matched to machines every time some kid trashes an SD card? Or would you expect the teacher to have a fistful of spares so as to just plug another one in? If the kids don't have specific Pis dedicated to them, the licensing scheme would require that, and a whole new license would have to be allocated any time a machine dies and is replaced.

Perhaps the best route would be to find a royalty free codec that will work with the Pi from source to display, regardless of what the encoding scheme is...or convince the IP holders to allow one to be written.

Comes to that...does anyone know what *type* of IP is behind MPEG2 decoders? If it's patents, when do they run out?

(Note that I'm not a purist with regard to open source, though I think it's an admirable idea. I just don't think a licensing scheme that requires individuals to get a license for a $35 piece of hardware is *practical*. I wouldn't dream of trying to argue that it isn't *possible*.)

Dilligaf
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:17 am

As someone mentioned earlier there is always the option of some sort of secure "dongle" that interfaces with the Pi through the camera or display connector or usb or whatever. It could even be some sort of pass through device allowing the connector to still be used for its' intended purpose. This may or may not be tied to a specific Pi.

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:31 am

Dilligaf wrote:As someone mentioned earlier there is always the option of some sort of secure "dongle" that interfaces with the Pi through the camera or display connector or usb or whatever. It could even be some sort of pass through device allowing the connector to still be used for its' intended purpose. This may or may not be tied to a specific Pi.
While this could probably be done--and has been done in the past--the Pi has a rather restrictive power budget....especially if you do a pass through device, the power constraints would have to be looked at VERY carefully.

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:34 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:[quote="robwriter"
Perhaps the best route would be to find a royalty free codec that will work with the Pi from source to display, regardless of what the encoding scheme is...or convince the IP holders to allow one to be written.
The issue isn't one of finding a player that has freely available source code. They exist and are available on RPi (e.g ffmpeg and mplayer). The problem is that without using GPU acceleration they are too slow to be usable to play back recorded or live TV (not every country uses MPEG2 but many do, including UK for Freeview).
Work being done by some people outside the foundation to try to offload some of the work to GPU without using any Broadcom native MPEG2 support might end up side-stepping any RPi Foundation licence although I haven't worked out if that could fall foul of the MPEG2 licence rules.

ghans
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:44 am

I suppose its dependent on international treaties - there might be special legislation in the EU.
Interesting read : http://raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic ... 50#p106238

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:54 am

It probably would fall foul of the regs, but its the same as all those codecs you can get on Ubuntu/other Linux - I believe they also fall foul, but because you are not paying for them, there is little incentive for MPEGLA to chase individuals that use them. Unlike if Broadcom supplied the MPEG2 codec as part of the price of the SoC where they would have a corporate target.

Any devices sold to customer with MPEG2 enabled would have to have paid the licence fee.
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selsinork
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:44 am

robwriter wrote:I refuse to believe that a secure system couldn't be set up, and I certainly wouldn't mind if they made it linked exactly to a single Pi, and said tough luck if that Pi died.
I'm inclined to agree with you on what happens if the Pi dies, but that only works if the incremental cost of the license is very low, or if they all come with mpeg2 for 'free'

Can you give an example of a secure system ? The list of broken ones always seems to be growing, decss, wep, hdmi's hdcp. Even WPA2 which itself seems reasonably ok so far was defeated by the laughably bad implementation of WPS.

So again we come back to cost, can we implement a system that's secure enough, cheaply enough that we're not getting into Roku2 territory ?

I don't think I've read anything in this thread from anyone saying they don't want it, it's impossible, or it's a stupid idea. I believe we'd all like to have more codecs and the poll agrees with the if it was less than £10 option in the lead. Can it be done for less than £10 ? Without lots of risk for the RPF and without costing so much to implement that it's not worth the hassle ?

blugerchug
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:15 am

selsinork wrote: So again we come back to cost, can we implement a system that's secure enough, cheaply enough that we're not getting into Roku2 territory ?
Again, it depends on which side of the swamp you're on. UK Roku2 price is around £99 = $154. Given that the Pi is $25 that means it would need to cost less than $129 to impliment before it would become cheaper to buy a Roku2. A slightly simplistic analysis I know, but I for one would be willing to pay a significant premium for a Media Pi.

selsinork
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:21 am

jamesh wrote: Unlike if Broadcom supplied the MPEG2 codec as part of the price of the SoC where they would have a corporate target.
I'll suggest an alternative, although I'm pragmatic enough to realise the chances are slim..

Broadcom could release just enough docs on the GPU to allow an outside group to write a codec blob that could be loaded by the main gpu blob as a plug-in. Then possibly someone like the ffmpeg folks could port something to run on the GPU.

I see lots of troubles there, not least finding an outside developer who is willing - until there's tens of millions of RPi out there the effort may not be worth it. Then you have task of convincing Broadcom. And how long does it take said developer to get up to speed on an alien architecture.

Like some of the other things we've discussed, it's possible, I'm not sure it's ever likely to happen though.

selsinork
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:53 am

blugerchug wrote: Again, it depends on which side of the swamp you're on. UK Roku2 price is around £99 = $154. Given that the Pi is $25 that means it would need to cost less than $129 to impliment before it would become cheaper to buy a Roku2. A slightly simplistic analysis I know, but I for one would be willing to pay a significant premium for a Media Pi.
Sure, and I think a lot of people will be interested to pay a premium. The costs probably work out differently depending on where you are and how much a Roku2 is locally.

But using the all-inclusive £99 delivered from Amazon Roku2 cost vs base cost of a model A that's not available and still needs VAT+shipping added is a bit cheeky, but I'll let you off with it this time ;) In turn I'll compare your analysis to a $49.99 Roku LT :P

So to do it in UK money...

£30 for a model B - can't get a $25 model A today, so no point using that price point
£7 SDCard
£10 decent PSU - sure, cheaper is available but we've all read about the various power issues, so get a decent one. WAF is important for a media player :)
£8 case
£20 MCE remote
assume another £15 for assorted cables, shipping, roll of duct tape to affix to back of TV etc.
add a few hours of your time messing around to put all the bits together install & configure software £12.38 (based on minimum wage in UK, think the wife will pay you any more than that ?)

I think we're easily into Roku2 territory there and we've not added the mpeg2 license yet.

Sure just as simplistic analysis as yours :D

selsinork
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:59 am

Paul Webster wrote:not every country uses MPEG2 but many do, including UK for Freeview
I'm surprised we haven't yet worked out that we can wedge another 100 shopping channels onto freeview by moving all the multiplexes to DVB-T2 and h.264, probably forcing a large number of people to go buy yet another freeview box doesn't seem to have stopped us before :(

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:24 am

selsinork wrote:
Paul Webster wrote:not every country uses MPEG2 but many do, including UK for Freeview
I'm surprised we haven't yet worked out that we can wedge another 100 shopping channels onto freeview by moving all the multiplexes to DVB-T2 and h.264, probably forcing a large number of people to go buy yet another freeview box doesn't seem to have stopped us before :(
Me too. H264 is about half the bandwidth for the same quality, so it's a much better codec.

Can a current Freeview HD box decode SD H264 (I believe Freeview HD is H264)? In which case lots of people could already have the correct devices. Not a huge percentage, but a lot.
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blugerchug
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:31 pm

selsinork wrote: But using the all-inclusive £99 delivered from Amazon Roku2 cost vs base cost of a model A that's not available and still needs VAT+shipping added is a bit cheeky, but I'll let you off with it this time ;)
Opps, yes, you're right. I'd forgotten it was the model A that was $25 :oops:

I've spent £46.58 on my setup so far (see getting more precise now :) ) but I admit there are some reused bits in there such as PSU and ethernet cable. I can see where you are coming from though and perhaps a Roku2 does need another look as for most it would probably cost £60+ for Pi with WAF factored in. Its difficult to find good information on how a Roku might work though so I'm still not certain it is for me. I'm a tinkerer and I've read that Roku is well locked down so an XBMC install is off the cards and that is what I was really hoping for. So if mpeg2 happens to turn up it'll still be looking to go that way, time will tell I guess..

Now, does anyone have any other ideas of what I can do with my Pi now the media centre idea is dead? Maybe, I'll look at seeing if its possible to put Windows 8 RT on it...




















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robwriter
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:17 pm

selsinork wrote:
blugerchug wrote: Again, it depends on which side of the swamp you're on. UK Roku2 price is around £99 = $154. Given that the Pi is $25 that means it would need to cost less than $129 to impliment before it would become cheaper to buy a Roku2. A slightly simplistic analysis I know, but I for one would be willing to pay a significant premium for a Media Pi.
Sure, and I think a lot of people will be interested to pay a premium. The costs probably work out differently depending on where you are and how much a Roku2 is locally.

But using the all-inclusive £99 delivered from Amazon Roku2 cost vs base cost of a model A that's not available and still needs VAT+shipping added is a bit cheeky, but I'll let you off with it this time ;) In turn I'll compare your analysis to a $49.99 Roku LT :P

So to do it in UK money...

£30 for a model B - can't get a $25 model A today, so no point using that price point
£7 SDCard
£10 decent PSU - sure, cheaper is available but we've all read about the various power issues, so get a decent one. WAF is important for a media player :)
£8 case
£20 MCE remote
assume another £15 for assorted cables, shipping, roll of duct tape to affix to back of TV etc.
add a few hours of your time messing around to put all the bits together install & configure software £12.38 (based on minimum wage in UK, think the wife will pay you any more than that ?)

I think we're easily into Roku2 territory there and we've not added the mpeg2 license yet.

Sure just as simplistic analysis as yours :D
The numbers don't matter too much but I got an SD card for 4, a good PSU for less than 4, and a decent quality MCE remote for 12 (cheap ones available for 5). All from eBay. And they aren't hard to find for that price. 15 for cables is massively high as well, there's no need to buy an expensive HDMI cable, and what else do you need? Also, no one who buys a Pi is going to start charging their time to their projects.

I actually agree with you - better off using something else for this kind of thing - but I think it'd be better for the foundation if that wasn't the case.

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:11 am

I appreciate all these adding up of costs to compare the Pi to a Roku, but I think that they miss the point of the Pi -- you can do what you want with it and are encouraged to do so.

Sure you might be able to do one thing on a roku and maybe hack an ATV and do another, but none of those product producers want you doing that. And sooner or later they will come out with products that prevent your tinkering.

I ran XBMC on my old xbox1 and had a grand time making that work. But I never got to do anything with my PS/3 or Xbox 360 that wasn't carefully controlled. I just don't want to hack on an ATV if Apple doesn't want me to.. I want hardware I can do what I want with.

I don't know how many other folks want the various codecs (not just mpeg2) for their various projects, but the set-top-box angle is what got me excited about the foundation's product to begin with. I will even understand if the effort and the hassle of figuring out a way provide codecs isn't core to their mission enough for them to attempt.

But I certainly want to be counted among those that want them. As far as price point, my step up is an HTPC .. Not an ATV2 or a Roku .. Because I can do what I want with that to.. Just at a higher price point.

BuzzCola
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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:57 am

thefrog wrote:I appreciate all these adding up of costs to compare the Pi to a Roku, but I think that they miss the point of the Pi -- you can do what you want with it and are encouraged to do so.
I couldn't agree more, you do wonder who actually owns the hardware.

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Re: Mpeg 2 poll

Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:11 am

tufty wrote:As far as I see it, the only sane option would be to bundle mpeg2 licensing with every pi sold, and take the hit, in the same way that's happening for H.264.
So roughly how much is h.264 licencing currently costing per Pi ? $2 ?

Maybe have a model C "media model" with mpeg2 included
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