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Dolby is sound on MPEG 4, gets thumbs up

MPEG-LA gets it in the neck

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Dolby has updated its audio streaming standard, MPEG AAC, with the release of Version 4.

The company is offering an easy upgrade from MPEG 2 AAC, and a licensing model based on size of customer, rather than usage, and an annual cap on payments. (Here are the licensing terms.)

Also the AAC patent license treats PC devices as a separate class of products, meriting cheaper license fees from non-PC devices.

This is in marked contrast to the MPEG-LA, owner of the new MPEG 4 standard for video streaming, which is seeking a clip each time a stream is played, to the dismay of video streaming software makers and content providers.

As a reward, Dolby gets a big pat on the back from
The Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) which yesterday announced its "enthusiastic support" for Dolby by way of a press release.

At the same time Tom Jacobs, president of ISMA, put the boot into MPEG-LA: "ISMA members have been very concerned that the proposed use fees for MPEG-4 video patent licensing will inhibit the uptake of MPEG-4 among its most important constituents -- the companies that create and/or distribute multimedia content. ISMA strongly supports the MPEG-4 AAC business model. It
encourages the use of this important new technology by making it attractive to the content industry, which will in turn promote the sale of products and the success of the MPEG-4 standard."

The MPEG-LA last week proposed cheaper royalty fees in an attempt to find common ground with licensees, Insanely Great Mac reports.

The web site reckoned that the new terms will encourage Apple to make Quicktime 6.0, which uses MPEG 4, available. We think this is very unlikely -Apple last month said it would not make Quicktime 6.0 available to retail customers, so long as MPEG-LA insisted on per-stream royalties. Nothing has changed.
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Related stories, links

Dolby press release

Apple pushes Mobile QuickTime bundle, delays release of 6.0

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