I assume folks who follow video codecs and digital media have
already noticed the brand new Alliance
for Open Media jointly announced by Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel,
and Netflix. I expect the list of member companies to grow somewhat
in the near future.
One thing that's come up several times today: People contacting Xiph
to see if we're worried this detracts from the IETF's NETVC codec
effort. The way the aomedia.org website reads right now, it might
sound as if this is competing development. It's not; it's something
quite different and complementary.
Open source codec developers need a place to collaborate on and share
patent analysis in a forum protected by client-attorney privilege,
something the IETF can't provide. AOMedia is to be that forum. I'm
sure some development discussion will happen there, probably quite a
bit in fact, but pooled IP review is the reason it exists.
It's also probably accurate to view the Alliance for Open Media (the
Rebel Alliance?) as part of an industry pushback against the licensing
lunacy made obvious by HEVCAdvance. Dan Rayburn at Streaming Media
reports a third HEVC licensing pool is about to surface. To-date,
we've not yet seen licensing terms on more than half of the known HEVC
patents out there.
In any case, HEVC is becoming rather expensive, and yet increasingly
uncertain licensing-wise. Licensing uncertainty gives responsible
companies the tummy troubles. Some of the largest companies in the
world are seriously considering starting over rather than bet on the
Is this, at long last, what a tipping point feels like?
Oh, and one more thing--
As of today, just after Microsoft announced its membership in the Open Media Alliance, they also quietly changed the internal development status of Vorbis, Opus, WebM and VP9 to indicate they intend to ship all of the above in the new Windows Edge browser. Cue spooky X-files theme music.