The Alliance for Open Media – an organization that Google is a founding member of – is not stopping at the creation of the controversial AV1 codec. AV1, for those who are unfamiliar, is an open source, royalty-free video codec format meant to reduce the high cost of delivering online media to you, the consumer by cutting out the negotiated licensing fees between hardware and software developers.
AOMedia unites top tech leaders behind a collaborative effort to offer open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of media delivery. The Alliance’s shared vision is to make media technology more efficient, cost-effective and of superior quality for all users, on all devices, and on all platforms using AOM standards & tools.Aomedia.org
What is Project Caviar?
Now, according to Protocol, Google has revealed behind closed doors that it plans to take on yet another industry giant to free media formats to create a “healthier, broader ecosystem” with something called “Project Caviar”. Dolby has charged fees to manufacturers to equip their hardware with HDR video and 3D audio and to be honest, those fees stack up. The end user – you – end up paying those fees in the form of more expensive shelf prices.
Project Caviar is not another video codec like AV1, but it is being developed by AOMedia. Instead, it will make use of codecs that are already available to give everyone an alternative to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. While a leaked video to Protocol did not directly mention Dolby, it was made extremely clear that these two brands are exactly what Google and other alliance members are seeking to build an alternative for.
Others have tried and failed to dethrone Dolby
Just because AOM is building something to rival the long-established Dolby brand, doesn’t mean it will succeed. In fact, something called HDR10+ tried and failed. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Google and all of the other tech giants that are members in the Alliance for Open Media will be the ones to dethrone the king of audio and video for home televisions.
I support lower costs for manufacturing premium experiences, especially as better audio and video are required for the most ideal enjoyment of entertainment nowadays. Unfortunately, an organization full of greedy bohemoths hiding behind the guise of free and open source sets my radars off big time, and somehow, I believe that in the end, such an initiative only places Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others in more powerful positions at the root of essential technologies – something that’s either very good or very bad for our future.