back to article MS speeds ahead as Google stalls on hardware acceleration

On the same day that Google Chrome coders pushed back some of the hardware acceleration features they had planned for version 8 of Mountain View’s browser, it was revealed that Microsoft had been awarded a patent for GPU-Accelerated video encoding. Google has been moving speedily through its own stack of test builds for Chrome, …

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FAIL

Interesting story BUT...

...what the hell has MS video -encoding- tricks got to do with Google HTML -rendering- tricks?

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IT Angle

Have I missed the point...

But what does video encoding have to do with browsers?

Browsers only have to worry about video DEcoding of WebM/OGV

Wouldn't this be more of an issue for Adobe (Premiere) and Apple (Final Cut Pro)

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I'm predicting

That there might be some Opera Hardware Accel news tommorrow...

(not that it needs it, as it's already faster than hardware accel browsers even in software rendering)

http://www.betanews.com/article/Firefox-in-the-dust-Opera-poised-to-reclaim-browser-performance-lead/1286824681

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Badgers

They've patented a need?

Takes patents to a whole new level.

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Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: They've patented a need

No. They haven't. The patent basically says "splitting the computations for video encoding into stuff for a conventional CPU and stuff for a GPU". Later on in the patent they've got some hand-waving about the algorithm they intend to use, although nothing remotely sufficient to let someone skilled in the art produce working code, so frankly they've wasted their time. (The whole point of a patent is to describe what you want to protect, so if you don't describe it, it ain't protected.) Obviously, since there is prior art for offloading embarrassingly parallel stuff onto a GPU, and since the idea is in any case bleedin' obvious, the patent is worthless in any sane jurisdiction.

It's a funny old world, isn't it, when China and North Korea are the only remaining sane jurisdictions?

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What's next?

Microsoft suing Nvidia and AMD/ATI to scale them back to Intel GMA950 performance? Remember? The chip deemed good enough for Vista!

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Anonymous Coward

The 950...

.... WAS good enough for Vista (and works fine for 7), IIRC the court case about over-optimistic graphics performance related to the 910/915.

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WTF?

I don't know.

But it may be that Microsoft actually licked a problem most in the GPGPU world thought not worth the effort. The article mentions "motion estimation", which happens to be probably the most complex aspect of modern video encoding (be it MPEG-4, AVC, VC-1, or probably even WebM). There was a time when the open-source x264 project thought about it, but they mostly decided not to deal with it: thinking motion estimation is a computationally-divergent task that could run away and stall against the architectural limitations of the GPU. This was borne out when one parituclar effort of the past got panned as it was revealed that it didn't allow for the full gamut of AVC encoding.

And isn't it interesting that the patent was applied for all the way back in 2004? Talk about foresight. I mean, Folding@home didn't even start using ATI GPUs until 2006.

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Silver badge

WTF

People have been using GPU accelerated encode for some time, esp. in cameras and other items in the mobile space. And, more to the point, have MS ever done this themselves? i.e. implemented their patent?

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FAIL

WTF ?

"But getting the invention’s seal of approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office now is arguably brilliantly timed for Microsoft."

What absolute rubbish, GPU acceleration patent lacks originality and there is probably going to be a load of prior art, hell it was probably done years ago somewhere in the bowels of SGI or Bell Labs.

Yeh and Xerox didn't invent the GUI but it was Steve Ballmer et al did on the back of a fag packet.

"My Arse" as Jim Royle would say

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Linux

The need for this is clear

MS want to use your GPU to compress quickly and efficiently what your browser is seeing to upload it to its servers, so they can see what websites you're watching.

Well, jokes apart the real season for this is so they look like they're on the bleeding edge of web development. Not that they are, and not that they filled the patent related to anything web. They did it at the time NVIDIA was all hot on GPU data crunching.

So they made the announcement once they got the patent to look cool. Good timing.

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Huh?

A web browser is an Application, what does it know about video hardware?

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I think it is time the world ignored US patents.

The US may be a large market, but the price for entry is to be a US company and to pay for patents the rest of the world would laugh at.

Let the US fret for their patents and let's have all the products they want to lawyer out of existence.

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WTF?

Missing the point

Video ENcoding has got nothing to do with web browsers (or Chrome).

While both stories are interesting, I can't see how they are related in any way. What a weird article!

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Pirate

The title is required, and must be /^[A-z 0-9]+/

Does the patent apply retrospectively from its filing date then? Because if not, there's prior art in every CUDA-assisted video encoding app out there at the moment. Nero's encoder comes to mind. But if it does, then those guys may be in the shitter.

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They still don't have Windows 7 support

Every other browser out there does the tabs in the Windows 7 task bar right, google is the only one who still hasn't implemented that in the browser yet.

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Stop

People need to read the patent.

For those patent haters.

Here is YOUR perfect patent office in action..

Say you invent a machine for perpetual motion a very complex buit of kit.

You spend a decade building it in your shed costing your life savings. During that time, someone (a work collegue / scientist) has seen your almost ready design and rips it off. As they have a massive budget and an army of employees they finish it in a few weeks. They patent the working model. Your 10 years of work is down the pan.

Now the model.

Say you invent a machine for perpetual motion a very complex buit of kit.

You Patent the design

You build it, they rip it off, you can shut them down for infringment, sue them, or license the Patent.

You still win.

Now is it so fucked up?

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FAIL

the article reads as if the patent was valid

FAIL to the register for failing to point out that the article was invalid as Ken Hagan did. Whe you read it, you have the impression that Microsoft has actually invented something.

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