Accord Reached on Patent Licensing Terms (News Release from MPEG LA)

24 March 2004

Tokyo, Japan (March 24, 2004) – In a joint press conference with MPEG LA today, Japan broadcasters NHK, TBS, NTV, TV Asahi, Fuji TV and TV Tokyo announce their adoption of AVC/H.264 Video Coding for mobile segment digital terrestrial broadcasting. A basic agreement is also announced between the broadcasters and MPEG LA on royalties and other terms of license under essential patents owned by many parties to be offered as part of a joint license.

The patent licensing accord is the result of discussions over many months to assure both the practicality and applicability of the license terms to Japanese broadcast conditions. Under the accord broadcasters will have the option of paying a one-time fee of US $2,500 for each encoder using in transmitting the AVC/H.264 video. The one-time fees will be offered as an alternative to annual fees. They will cover the use of AVC/H.264 video for free cable and free satellite as well as free terrestrial broadcast television.

In addition, it is recognised that broadcasters in developing countries have different circumstances that may require further considerations.

For more information: 
MPEG LA – Contact: Larry Horn

Statement from Japan Broadcasters
Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Japan began in December 2003. Through these Digital Terrestrial Broadcasts, there had been plans to implement broadcast services for mobile personal receivers unlike any seen before in the world. Problems were encountered, however, with regard to patents for the video coding technologies used for these services, and as a result there was no firm schedule for when these services would be realized.

These patent issues have now been essentially resolved with regard to AVC/H.264, the latest form of video coding technology. This resolution represents a major step forward in terms of achieving mobile broadcast services using AVC/H.264 as the coding technology. From this point on, it will be necessary to undertake various tasks, including the establishment of specifications for receiver terminals and ARIB standards, the development of mobile personal receivers by manufacturers, and discussions with mobile communication operators, but we believe that it will be possible to initiate mobile broadcast services in the first quarter of the year 2006. When these services become a reality, any user will be able to enjoy the latest broadcasts easily, anytime, and anywhere. We consider this a truly groundbreaking event, both for broadcasters and for viewers.

This AVC/H.264 is an exceptional video coding technology that was developed not only by the patent holders but through the efforts of many companies and institutions throughout the world. We are pleased and honored to announce that through recent discussions with MPEG LA, the requests of the broadcasters that is, the users were reflected in the royalty terms, and that it will now be possible for this outstanding technology to be used in the field of broadcasting ahead of any other field in the world.

We are confident that MPEG LA will take into consideration the differing environments faced by broadcasters throughout the world, including those in developing countries, to ensure that broadcasters around the globe may enjoy the benefits of this new AVC/H.264 technology. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank MPEG LA and the holders of the AVC/H.264 patent.

Statement from MPEG LA
We thank the Japan broadcasters for their cooperation in reaching this historic accord. Through the miracle of digital technology, the efficient use of limited bandwidth and high resolution once thought to be physically incompatible now make it possible for broadcasters and their publics to reach their full potential. What we witness here today is the further acknowledgement of the interdependence between content and technology. Both represent the height of human creative achievement, but one cannot exist without the other. Through the shared efforts of inventors and manufacturers who make technology possible and broadcasters who use it to deliver innovative services that inform and entertain audiences worldwide, lies the key to technological advancement. This represents a partnership in the truest sense of the word. By their visionary leadership and tireless service delivering free television to all the public, broadcasters make it possible for consumers to enjoy the fruits of this cooperation and experience the age of high definition television today. We thank the patent holders who agree to license their technology under these terms, and we salute the broadcasters for their public devotion.