Technicolor has announced that they have pulled their patents from the HEVC Advance patent licensing pool and will now license their patents directly to device manufacturers. Almost a year ago I heard that Technicolor wasn’t happy with how HEVC Advance came to the market, with licensing terms that didn’t make sense and were simply too expensive, thereby stalling adoption. Someone from Technicolor even confirmed for me off-the-record that months ago, they told HEVC Advance to stop using their name as one of the companies in the pool. So I’m not surprised to see this latest announcement that Technicolor will not longer be a part of HEVC Advance.
Of course this isn’t good for those that need to license HEVC patents as now you potentially have to pay MPEG LA, HEVC Advance and Technicolor. In addition, I am hearing that Sony may also start licensing their HEVC patents directly to hardware manufactures, which means you may need to pay four different companies. After Technicolor’s announcement, HEVC Advance put out a press release to say that Technicolor’s 12 patents have been removed from HEVC’s Patent pool. The only positive here is that Technicolor is only looking to have device companies pay and says they do “not plan to license industry players for content streaming.” So if content owners don’t have to license the patents, that’s at least one positive development.
Of course this isn’t good news for HEVC Advance which already had to change their licensing terms after launching in the market and now loses one of the founding members of the pool. While HEVC Advance and companies that have patents related to HEVC technology have a few years to get some revenue from licensing, the writing is already on the wall. The next generation codec after HEVC is going to be royalty free, thanks to what the Alliance For Open Media and others are working on.