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The Price of Being First

New technology is always exciting. There are always groups within the organization that have seen some product demo at a convention or user group and need that new functionality right now!

But sometimes the infrastructure is not there to support it. Or it’s the first time this type of technology has been introduced into your organization. Both of these pose their own distinct issues and challenges.

Some initial questions we ask ourselves are the following:

•    Does our current infrastructure support the requests?
•    Do we need to procure hardware or do code upgrades?
•    Will this pass a security sniff?
•    Will this support the entire organization or is this a one off that will sporadically be used?
•    Who is the first department willing to pilot this?

EricBlog51

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Open UX Foundation Blog Setting the Foundation for HTML5

For pay-TV service providers, delivering multi-screen TV services is a must. Same goes for embedding web and social applications. But with the proliferation of video-enabled devices such as set top boxes (STB) and computer electronics (CE) devices, software platforms become more fragmented. And that makes it more of a challenge to deliver and maintain a high quality video service across the device ecosystem. Many rightly consider HTML5 to be the Internet technology for delivering commercial TV to video enabled devices. Indeed many devices already support HTML5. And all new devices will have native HTML5 browsers built-in. Furthermore, many open source frameworks also make it easier to create new services while social sites provide SDKs to help integrate existing services.

But that’s not enough.

The fact is that many HTML5 implementations simply don’t match the capabilities required by today’s commercial TV applications. Nor do they achieve the performance levels to which users are accustomed. Take, for example, the 3D effects and animations that are part and parcel of an award-winning EPG design such as Videoscape Snowflake. Or accessibility to metadata, authorizations and user preferences. Not to mention app life cycle management. Essentially, there is a need for more than an HTML5 standard browser.

So what can be done? Well at Cisco, we have an answer. Read More »

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Summary: No consensus at IETF, but it’s not over yet

November 19, 2013 at 6:57 am PST

Recently Cisco made significant efforts around open sourcing our H.264 implementation, including covering the MPEG-LA licensing costs for distribution and working with Mozilla to add support for H.264. However, in this attempt to unstick the logjam that has occurred in the standards bodies, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) failed to reach consensus on the selection of a common video codec.

Cisco’s Jonathan Rosenberg explored this topic more in a recent Collaboration blog post. Read on to find out how we’re planning to move forward and why this conversation is definitely not over!

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No Consensus at IETF, But It’s Not Over Yet

Cisco recently announced that we would open source our H.264 implementation under favorable open source terms, and more importantly, provide a binary distribution of that implementation that could be downloaded and integrated into browsers and other applications. We said we’d cover the MPEG-LA licensing costs for this distribution as well. Mozilla responded by saying that, based on this, they would add H.264 to Firefox, using our technology.

Part of our motivation for making this announcement was to unstick the logjam that has occurred in the standards bodies. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is defining the standards for how real-time voice and video will work natively in the browser. Selection of a common video codec is part of that process. The group has been highly divided on this topic, with two camps – one (including Cisco), in favor of industry standard H.264, and others in favor of Google’s VP8 technology.

We hoped that our announcement, and Mozilla’s agreement to support H.264 as a common codec, would provide enough impetus to sway the standards to a concrete decision so that the industry could move forward. Alas, that was not the case. Despite what we felt was a fairly objective analysis on the reasons why H.264 was a better choice for the overall success of real-time communications on the web (click here for a recording), the IETF failed to reach consensus.

Obviously, we’re very disappointed by this. Read More »

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Open-Sourced H.264 Removes Barriers to WebRTC

When it comes to making collaboration technology such as high-definition video open and broadly available, it’s clear that the web browser plays an important role. The question is, how do you enable real-time video natively on the Web? It’s a question that folks are anxious to have answered.

WebRTC--a set of enhancements to HTML5--will address the issue head on. But, there is an important hurdle that must first be cleared, and that’s standardizing on a common video codec for real-time communications on the web – something the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will decide next week.

The industry has been divided on the choice of a common video codec for some time, namely because the industry standard--H.264--requires royalty payments to MPEG LA. Today, I am pleased to announce Cisco is making a bold move to take concerns about these payments off the table.

We plan to open-source our H.264 codec, and to provide it as a binary module that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Cisco will not pass on our MPEG LA licensing costs for this module, and based on the current licensing environment, this will effectively make H.264 free for use in WebRTC.

I’m also pleased that Mozilla has announced it will enable Firefox to utilize this module, bringing real-time H.264 support to their browser.

“It hasn’t been easy, but Mozilla has helped to lead the industry toward interoperable video on the Web,” said Brendan Eich, Mozilla Chief Technology Officer. “Cisco’s announcement helps us support H.264 in Firefox on most operating systems, and in downstream and other open source distributions using the Cisco H.264 binary module. We are excited to work with Cisco on advancing the state of interoperable Web video.”

Why is Cisco Doing This? Read More »

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