Image Processing Reference
In-Depth Information
Once the standard is ratified and adopted, nothing will prevent Microsoft or anyone
else from trumping it with improved versions and providing even better performance
with a future proprietary codec. The VC-1 codec may be important for some time to come
because of its adoption into new platforms—that is, provided it can complete the stan-
dardization process without falling by the wayside.
Licensing Issues
Note that the SMPTE VC-1 and Microsoft WM9 codecs are not the same legal entity. The
licensing of WM9 is available from Microsoft under its commercial terms. That does not
grant permission for you to use VC-1, which must be licensed through SMPTE or the
agents that it appoints. The two standards are similar, but not one and the same, and they
could diverge somewhat over time
DRM support is a facet of Windows Media and not VC-1. Only the video coding is
being standardized by SMPTE, and it's wrong to assume that the entire Windows Media
functionality portfolio is being offered up as an open standard under the VC-1 heading.
Microsoft provides a Web page with details of Windows Media licensing costs as
well as sample contracts you can download.
Playing Windows Media on Non-Windows Platforms
All non-Windows operating systems (of any significant market share) are now UNIX
based. They are sufficiently similar that the engineering effort to achieve porting between
these systems is not massive. Windows Media Players are available on Mac OS and
Solaris. For now, at least, there is no Linux player. This might change in the foreseeable
future as Linux gains market share. History demonstrates that the availability of any
particular revision of Windows Media Player on non-Windows platforms tends to be
released later than it is for the Windows platform and often lacks some features. For exam-
ple, WM9 playback on Mac OS X does not support playback via the Windows Media
advanced codec.
WM9 is currently supported on these platforms:
Windows—all current variants
Mac OS X—10.3 is considered normative (older versions are not recommended;
10.4 is in the process of being adopted)
Windows Media 9 (or the equivalent, SMPTE VC-1) video is one of three mandatory for-
mats to be supported by consumer HD-DVD players as the next generation of DVDs is
Microsoft Licensing:
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