Development of new codecs is an often frustratingly slow process due to issues with patent and licensing. To combat this and stride towards a more united and open internet, the top tech companies around the net have banded together to create ‘The Alliance for Open Media’. Founded by industry heavyweights like Netflix, Google, and Mozilla, just to name a few, the alliance aims to use their collective knowledge and experience to design new media formats. Their first priority is to make a better video format that meets the demands of our binge-watch-obsessed culture.
“The Web was built on innovation without asking permission, and patent licensing regimes are incompatible with some of the Web’s most successful business models.” states Mozilla.
Thus the team has begun work on developing an open-source and royalty-free video format that will be optimized for the web, capable of consistent, real-time delivery, and flexible enough to work for commercial and non-commercial content as well as content that is user-generated. It will also be scalable and ‘ultra high-definition’, according to the alliance’s website.
“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem,” said Alliance Executive Director Gabe Frost in a statement. “The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery.”
On top of making the next generation of video streaming, the alliance also plans to create binding specifications for media formats, content encryption, and adaptive streaming.
Google virtually began the push for a more open internet with its introduction of WebM five years ago, a video format that essentially serves as a royalty-free alternative in HTML video tags. Now, with the help of Mozilla, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Intel, and Cisco, the idea of a open web may become fully realized.
“Google launched the WebM Project in 2010 in the belief that web video innovation was too slow and too closed, and that broad collaboration — in the open — would fix both problems.” stated Matt Frost, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Chrome Media. “The Alliance for Open Media is a big leap forward for these core philosophies, and we’re gratified that our AOMedia partners share this vision. Our combined strength, resources and expertise will drive the next generation of web media experiences much further and faster than WebM can do alone.”
In fact open-source codecs were not just the dream of Google, it’s become quite apparent that modern formats are beginning to turn stale, meaning this common unifying goal of revamping them isn’t just good – it’s arguably necessary.
“As a founding member of the Alliance for Open Media, Cisco is committed to offering our innovation and resources to the creation of a next-generation video codec. We have been very vocal about our desire to deliver a royalty-free codec and we believe that joining the forces of the designers of the Daala, Thor and VPx codecs in AOMedia will multiply our collective efforts to deliver next-generation media codecs, formats and technologies.” said Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO of Cisco Collaboration Technology Group.