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Byte.com: Open Source Video: The Web Video Turf Wars

Sep 12, 2000, 06:59 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Trevor Marshall)

"Microsoft wants its own "Advanced Streaming Format" to become the dominant method for transmission of video over the Internet...."

"Avery Lee had reverse-engineered Microsoft's Advanced Streaming Format (.asf) and added it to the native .avi and .mpg support in his excellent program. For a while, VirtualDub had been able to take media in Microsoft's .asf format and convert it to the more widely used .avi and .mpg formats. But Avery received a phone call from Microsoft, threatening to take legal action against him if he did not remove the .asf support from VirtualDub. Avery was smarter than to argue with Microsoft's legal team, and immediately removed the offending code...."

"In addition to its .asf patents, Microsoft has also been using its excellent MPEG-4 video codecs to help it dominate streaming video. Microsoft helped develop the MPEG-4 specification, and at an early stage it put out a codec that, at this present moment, is clearly the best video encoder available...."

"Microsoft's MPEG-4 V3 encoder was "re-engineered" as the "DivX Low-Motion" codec, and the V2 as "DivX Fast-Motion." The Linux DivX player uses the same DLL object code as the PC version, but clearly the port for the Macintosh demonstrates that these underground developers have access to source code. In fact, several MPEG-4 source codes are linked from a new website, OpenCodex.com, that is offering a $50,000 prize to the first developer who produces a good MPEG-4 codec for Quicktime, and releases it to the public domain (it's nice to see that Quicktime devotees will not be bypassed by the new technologies)."

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