this is definitely a game changer, although it doesnt seem like it is getting picked up by the major blog/media sites. It simply comes down to how this will affect the economics of producing good web video and monetizing it. in a nutshell, on2 basically gave away the decoder to adobe for the flash player but kept major control over how the encoding tools could be used. They essentially jacked up the fees on encoding to make their money thinking they had a free ride on this one, and with the rise of web video / youtube, their stock price soared in the past 2 years. The big advantage they have over the other guys in flash video, ie, sorenson, was quality --- notice youtube's quality is not that great, even though the file sizes are comparable? It's cause they use ffmpeg on the backend to transcode video to the flv format. The obvious question now, IS --- why doesnt youtube use on2's superior vp6 codec and get the pretty video? Becuase ffmpeg cant legally support it (I dont think, but ive seen hacks) and to license from on2 is just not economically feasible from a business standpoint (disclaimer: I do not know anyone at youtube, but we have ran into similar problems with our product, and I'm extrapolating their situtation with the logical conclusions.).
I sorta figured someone out there was gonna get ticked that there was a gatekeeper sitting on a major web tech, and I knew something had to give. I think the first clue should have been the fact that youtube was transcoding everything over to h246, but I figured that was initially just for my personal enjoyment on my iphone. <grin/> Apparently they knew a few people over at adobe. The second clue, and you cant keep things like new major codecs in the worlds most dominant web video platform a secret --- was that on2's stock price has dropped from around $3.69 three months ago to $1.48 as of this morning.
so. where does that leave web video? Well, as soon as I saw the news last night, I began checking the legal issues with transcoding to h264 for our project (does ffmpeg support it, cost, etc) and apparently, its a very accessibly standard. It's going to work with the existing netstream and video objects (whether you like them or not! whats up with the stuttering issues, adobe?) so our video editor should be able to mix sorenson, vp6, and h264 video content all in the same project (in real time, with effects! sorry, quick plug) which makes me very happy.
As far as the legal constraints or fees, I dont think their are any (please correct me here if im wrong, i do need to know myself). ffmpeg supports it out of the box ( apparently you can make standard h264 video files, or you can make a flv using the h264 codec, although the new file format the adobe guys are workign with seems to be superior.). For raw source code, Video Lan has an encoder: http://www.videolan.org/developers/x264.html
I guess the big issue now is --- once we all start publishing and remixing HD content, uh, where is the bandwidth gonna come from?