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Cisco plans to open-source H.264 code, widen support for web-based video chat

WebRTC promises plugin-free video chat in our browsers, but it has been stuck in limbo due to format squabbles — some companies want royalty-free standards like VP8, while others insist on the wider support of H.264. Today, Cisco is proposing a truce between the two camps. It’s planning to open-source its H.264 codec without passing on the royalties it pays to MPEG-LA, effectively making the standard free when used in web conversations.