Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

The prospects of 4K video have brightened. That’s because the HEVC Advance group that licenses the H.265/HEVC video format enabling 4K’s higher data rate to traverse through existing pipes just adjusted its royalty rates. Up until now, the group wanted steep rates, even from free outlets, and without a cap. With the new, revamped licensing scheme, HEVC Advance not only cuts rates in half but sets a yearly cap between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type.

According to Engadget, until this move, “the future of 4K video has been in doubt” to the point that “tech giants started work on their own royalty-free format to avoid being on the hook.”


With the new scheme, companies such as Apple, Netflix and Samsung won’t have to be concerned about the cost of licensing significantly digging into their profits, or switching to other 4K video standards such as Google’s VP9. Furthermore, content that is now completely free to viewers — such as that on public TV and ad-supported websites — will be royalty free.

Digital Trends notes that HEVC Advance’s new licensing scheme is also good news for early adopters of current 4K TV sets. If the tech giants such as Netflix and TV manufacturers such as Samsung had been forced to find an alternative to HEVC, those first-generation 4K TV sets would become obsolete. Of course, that doesn’t mean that companies that have already begun work into finding an alternative to HEVC won’t continue to do so. But, for the near term, those early 4K TV displays should continue to work.

HEVC chief executive Peter Moller notes that, “after our initial pricing announcement we reengaged with key segments of the HEVC community, including content owners and distributors as well as device manufacturers, to better align our licensing structure and rates with the industry’s long-term technology goals.”

“We are pleased with the results of our industry engagement and confident that the revised pricing structure and rates balance the needs of both HEVC users and patent owners,” he adds.

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