Skip to main content
  • IETF 116 Yokohama registration now open

    Registration is now open for IETF 116 Yokohama

    • Jay DaleyIETF Executive Director
    24 Nov 2022
  • IETF 115 post-meeting survey

    IETF 115 London was held 5-11 November 2022

    • Jay DaleyIETF Executive Director
    22 Nov 2022
  • Catching up on IETF 115

    Recordings are now available for sessions held during the IETF 115 meeting and the IETF Hackathon, where more than 1500 participants gathered in London and online 5-11 November 2022.

      13 Nov 2022
    • Opportunities for university researchers and students during IETF 115

      The upcoming IETF 115 meeting in London on 5-11 November 2022 is a unique opportunity for networking researchers to learn how RFCs are written, to engage with the Internet standards community to begin to develop research impact, and to meet more than 1,000 leading technologists from around the world currently working in industry, academia, and other organizations.

        1 Nov 2022
      • Suggested IETF 115 Sessions for Getting Familiar with New Topics

        These IETF 115 meeting sessions are likely to include discussions and new proposals that are accessible to a broad range of Internet technologists whether they are new to the IETF or long-time participants.

          24 Oct 2022

        Filter by topic and date

        Filter by topic and date

        Aiming for a standardized, high-quality, royalty-free video codec to remove friction for video over the Internet

        • Adam RoachNETVC Working Group Co-chair

        1 Sep 2015

        The NETVC working group aims to create a video codec that can be used in open-source software, in addition to proprietary software and hardware encoders.

        NETVC WG at IETF 93

        The NETVC working group aims to create a video codec that can be used in open-source software, in addition to proprietary software and hardware encoders. Historically, most open-source software has been unable to make use of royalty-bearing codecs, for two key reasons: first, having to pay royalties at all on a product that yields no revenue is fiscally unsustainable. This is further complicated by the fact that the broad, uncontrolled distribution of open-source software makes accounting for per-unit costs impossible.

        Beyond use in open-source software, the availability of a standardized, high-quality, royalty-free video codec is expected to remove friction from the market for applications and devices that transmit video over the Internet. This has an overall beneficial effect on Internet users.

        In 2012, the IETF’s CODEC working group published the specification for what is arguably the best audio codec today, Opus, with a similar set of goals. Opus has seen fairly broad adoption on the Internet, due to its high quality and royalty-free licensing status. NETVC seeks to replicate that success for video codecs.

        Last month, Cisco contributed its Thor video codec to the NETVC effort, which joins Mozilla’s Daala codec as input to our work. I’m excited that Cisco has come forth with an additional pool of techniques to draw from, and working group participants wasted no time in trying to figure out how to combine them into a best-of-breed codec. At a weekend “hackathon” before the IETF meeting in Prague, a group of NETVC participants collaborated to perform preliminary merging of some specific, easily-isolated techniques from both codecs together, with promising results.

        Almost as important as its actual implementation, Thor comes to the IETF with a pool of IPR that Cisco has declared as being available on royalty-free terms. This opens up many avenues of technical progress that would have otherwise been unavailable to NETVC.

        Finally, I’d like to quantify where the quality of NETVC’s eventual output stands as compared with H.264 and HEVC (also known as H.265, the successor codec to H.264). The working group has a stated goal to have “comparable or better performance” when compared with codecs in widespread use. I’ll start this quantification by emphasizing that the NETVC working group had its first meeting last month, and that the input codecs are still subjects of considerable research.

        With that caveat, the results achieved by the Daala team have been objectively better (using industry-standard quality metrics) than H.264 since approximately mid-February. Early testing by NETVC participants shows that Thor is also somewhat better than H.264 already. By merging the techniques used by both codecs and applying further refinements, we expect the codec produced by NETVC to surpass the performance of HEVC.

        I’ll note that this doesn’t mean that NETVC’s task is largely complete. There’s still considerable work to be done in combining the best aspects of Thor and Daala into a unified codec (along with any other techniques that are brought to the IETF by interested parties), as well as developing runtime efficiency improvements that will allow using the codec to compress media in real-time on normal consumer devices.

        Photo credit (c) Stonehouse Photographic / Internet Society


        Share this page