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What are the most popular and freely commercially distributable video codecs?

H264 AVC, H264 , WMV and other popular ones are not free to distribute in commercial products.

ADDED: Is there any quality difference between H264 and OGG Theora?

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Of the 3 you list, only 1 is a video format. – Steve Rowe Nov 4 '09 at 19:51
@Steve Rowe: which one? H264/AVC is a standard for video compression (ie, a video codec); so is H264/MPEG-4 AVC; so is WMV. of course, there's also a whole family of formats called WMV, and most talk of WMV is about the container format; and another family is called H264... but dismissing any of them as "not a video format" is either disingenuous or ... trolling. – quack quixote Nov 4 '09 at 20:39
@quack, when Steve commented the post listed MP3 and WMA. It was edited between your comments. – CarlF Nov 4 '09 at 20:48
@Carl, exactly. @Sunny, you might want to ask you "added" as a new question. The answer is very orthogonal to the original question. – Steve Rowe Nov 5 '09 at 0:22
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There aren't many. Video codecs are almost all encumbered by IP problems. Ogg Theora is the only one that comes to mind. Theoretically XVid is as well, but that's based on MPEG4 and so probably has latent IP issues.

The only other solution is to go back to something old like MPEG1 which probably has lost most if not all of its patent protection by now.

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IP = intellectual property – Dimitri C. Sep 16 '10 at 12:01

Your question seems to be about container formats. MKV is not patent-encumbered. As Steven Rowe says, an MKV file using Theora for video and Vorbis for audio would be completely Free Software.

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My question is about video codecs. – SunnyShah Nov 4 '09 at 20:31

tried ogg theora?

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Ogg Vorbis is an audio codec. Do you mean Ogg Theora? – Steve Rowe Nov 4 '09 at 19:50
@Steve you are correct sir. the post has been updated accordingly. – gehsekky Nov 4 '09 at 20:16

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