MPEG-4, everyone's favorite format
that could potentially give you high definition video
in small enough sizes to fit on a regular DVD, is officially embroiled in controversy. According to PC Magazine,
AT&T claims to hold several patents to key underlying technology of MPEG-4. Right now they are targeting Apple,
CyberLink, DivX, InterVideo, and Sonic as unlicensed offenders.
MPEG-LA, the group that oversees patent
licensing for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, says AT&T is not a part of them, but they can't do anything about it and they make
no claim to have licenses to all technologies included in the format.
Nero and Pentax have already made deals
with AT&T, so don't be surprised if the next DVD burning software you buy has a bump in price for AT&T's taste.
You have to wonder how this is going to affect satellite, cable and IPTV companies looking to roll out MPEG-4; we
didn't see any of them or set-top box manufacturers listed. Also, no word if their notification letter to included any
references to Steve Jobs as a "n00b".