A number of high-profile technology and internet-based firms have formed a new standards body to develop an open and royalty-free codec for internet video streaming.
Companies including Google, Amazon, Cisco, Intel, Mozilla, Netflix and Microsoft have announced the formation of the Alliance for Open Media, which cites the challenges associated with meeting consumer expectations in an age where video streaming is responsible for a majority of IP traffic being generated. To corroborate, Cisco’s VNI predicted IP video will be responsible for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, while consumer video on demand traffic will double in the next 3 years.
The objectives of the alliance focus on creating a scalable and interoperable next-generation video format which is capable of delivering consistently high-quality, real-time video which has a low computational footprint and scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth. According to Ericsson, 40-60% of video traffic on a mobile network streams from YouTube, while mobile video in general is expected to grow by 55% annually until 2020, when it will then be responsible for 60% of all mobile data traffic; as such, the need for compressed, high-quality streaming options for a growing mobile video market is becoming increasingly imperative.
According to the Alliance’s executive director, Gabe Frost, meeting consumer expectations is a key driver for the group.
“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem,” he said. “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.”
Software developed by the project will be released under the Apache 2.0 license, and Mozilla’s David Bryant blogged about the project’s intentions, and why having a royalty-free codec is of such importance.
“Mozilla has long championed royalty-free codecs,” he said. “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. As resolutions and framerates increase, the need for more advanced codecs with ever-better compression ratios will only grow. We started our own Daala project and formed NETVC to meet those needs, and we’ve seen explosive interest in the result. We believe that Daala, Cisco’s Thor and Google’s VP10 combine to form an excellent basis for a truly world-class royalty-free codec.”
The alliance says it will be opening up to membership applications later this year.