Tech Industry Heavyweights Like Amazon, Cisco, Google, Netflix Join Hands To Reformat Video Content Online

Tech Industry Heavyweights Like Amazon, Cisco, Google, Netflix Join Hands To Reformat Video Content Online

The Alliance for Open Media project is committed to developing next-generation video formats, codec, and technologies that are open, scalable and optimized for the Web.
(Photo : Alliance For Open Media)

Tech industry heavyweights Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix have announced the Alliance for Open Media – a new open-source project focused on developing next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies "in the public interest."

Although backed by companies with varying goals and relationships, the partnership was set up with a very intentional and specific goal: to deliver a new video format that is, "interoperable and open, optimized for the web, scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth, designed with low computational footprint and optimized hardware, capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery, and flexible for both commercial and noncommercial content, including user-generated content."

Lofty goals, to say the least, but not out of reach given the lineup of companies backing the project.

The announcement on Sept. 1 also emphasizes the alliance's goal to create royalty-free video codec, the device or computer program that can encode or decode digital data streams and signals. "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," Mozilla's David Bryant points out in a blog post.

It doesn't come as a surprise what these companies are saying; there is no lack of royalty-free codec projects out there – Daala (Mozilla), Thor (Cisco), and VP9 and 10 (Google), to name a few.

The group is also set on publishing its code under the Apache 2.0 license, operating under World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) patent rules. This means that members will waive royalties from the codec implementations and their associated patents.Â

The project as a whole was pushed by the Joint Development Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable groups to establish and operate standards and source code development collaborations.

The founding partners have emphasized that they are just the "day one" collaborators, and invite anyone who is interested to join the project. According to the announcement, there will be more information on that later this year.