Seven leading Internet companies today announced the formation of the Alliance for Open Media – an open-source project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public interest. The Alliance’s founding members include Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix. Notably absent are Facebook and Apple.
“The Alliance has come together to share technology and run the kind of patent analysis necessary to build a next-generation royalty-free video codec,” said Mozilla’s Interim CTO and Platform Engineering Vice President, David Bryant, in a blog post.
A codec is a computer program that shrinks large movie files and makes them playable on your computer. So the idea is that the new codec will make it faster and easier to download and stream video.
Of course, many of the founding members of the alliance have already created their own proprietary video codec and Mozilla, Cisco and Google have also been developing their own royalty-free open-source codecs. But the Alliance wants to create a new codec that will meet growing Internet demand for top-quality video streaming across various devices.
“[T]he Web doesn’t stand still and neither do we. As resolutions and framerates increase, the need for more advanced codecs with ever-better compression ratios will only grow,” said Bryant.
The idea is to create a codec that will work for both commercial and user-generated content. On its new web site, the Alliance explained that among its goals is “the creation of a new, high-quality open video format that improves core media experiences for all.”
Wired notes that the new format “could make it easier for web giants to move away from Adobe Flash, which, despite recent calls for its death, has stubbornly endured. It will be designed specifically for delivering streaming video over the web with the aim of making it suitable for low-powered devices. It will also support copy protection, a must for companies like Netflix.”
We love the idea of tech companies working together for the overall good (and faster video!), but without Facebook and Apple onboard, how much good will it do?