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Cisco's Thor project swings a hammer at Web video codecs

Paul Krill | Aug. 20, 2015
Cisco is the latest big name to take on the challenge of developing an unencumbered video compression technology.

The Thor project has its first draft release -- and backers

The Thor initial draft was released to the community about two weeks ago, via open source, Rosenberg notes. Cisco has submitted it to the IETF, which had already begun a standards effort in its NetVC workgroup to develop a next-gen, royalty-free video codec based on Mozilla's Daala technology. Cisco figured it made sense to have a single effort to solve the video-codec licensing problem.

"There's an industry need for codecs of this type, and Thor and VP9 seem to be [credible] alternatives to HEVC," says Iain Richardson, the principal at codec consultancy Vcodex. "But it's early."

IDC analyst Al Hilwa says Thor is a "great move by Cisco." But he wishes Cico and Google would combine their Thor and BP9 work: "It would be great to see some confluence in these efforts."

Mozilla is backing Cisco's endeavor. Mozilla already has its Opus audio codec effort under there auspices of the IETF. "We think Mozilla's Daala and Cisco's Thor form a strong basis to repeat that success in video." Cisco's Rosenberg echoes those sentiments, saying Cisco would be happy to leverage the best of Thor and Daala.


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