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September 2, 2015

Tech giants Amazon, Google & Microsoft unite for next gen-video

Cisco, Intel, Mozilla and Netflix make up alliance which aims to develop a royalty-free codec.

By James Nunns

An alliance has been formed by several top companies to develop free next-generation media formats.

The open-source project formed by Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix will see all commit to contributing both technology and expertise to meet the demand for top quality media formats such as video, audio and streaming across all devices.

Named the Alliance for Open Media, the group with initially focus on developing a next-generation video format that will be both interoperable and open, optimised for the web and scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth.

The goals of the alliance don’t end there, as they aim to design this with a low computational footprint and optimised for hardware.

The group will create an open royalty-free video codec specification that will be based on the contribution of its members which includes binding specifications for media format, content encryption and adaptive streaming aim to create opportunities for next-gen media experiences.

The formation of the alliance and its aim to create a royalty-free video codec comes off the back of the industry group, HEVC Advance, threatening to demand royalties for the HEVC video codec.

Gabe Frost, executive director, Alliance for Open Media, said: "Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem.

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"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."

Members of the alliance will operate under the W3C patent rules and the Apache 2.0 license; this means that they will waive their patent rights.

One of the challenges facing it will be making sure its media specifications don’t infringe patents that are held by non-members. Microsoft fell afoul of this with its VC-1 video codec, which was subjected to patent claims from other companies.

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