After pushing AV1 codec, Google goes after Dolby with HDR and audio standards

Enlarge / The Alliance for Open Media brand.

Alliance for Open Media

Google can do principally no matter it needs relating to video and internet standards. YouTube is the world’s hottest video website. Chrome is the world’s hottest browser. Android is the world’s hottest working system. Anything Google needs to roll out can instantly have a large person base of purchasers, servers, and content material. From there, it is only a matter of getting a couple of companions to tag alongside. This is how Google’s next-generation AV1 video codec is being rolled out, and subsequent, Google is setting its sights on HDR and 3D audio standards.

Protocol’s Janko Roettgers has a report on “Project Caviar,” Google’s plan to tackle Dolby and create royalty-free alternate options to its HDR customary (Dolby Vision) and its 3D audio customary (Dolby Atmos). Dolby’s old-media enterprise mannequin depends on royalty charges from {hardware} producers and assist from content material creators. The firm’s know-how is deeply embedded in film theaters, Blu-rays, and extra fashionable streaming corporations like Apple are massive backers of Dolby know-how. That all prices cash, although, and Protocol’s report says $50 streaming sticks find yourself having round $2 of that price ticket go to Dolby.

Surround sound has been a film characteristic eternally with numerous numbers of entrance, again, and aspect audio system, however Dolby Atmos provides peak into the equation. If you are taking a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setup—that is three entrance audio system, two again, a subwoofer, and for 7.1, two aspect audio system—Dolby Atmos provides 4 overhead audio system into the combination, permitting sound to pan overhead of the viewer. Atmos is supported by Apple, Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.

Google is tackling Dolby by way of the “Alliance for Open Media” standards group, which counts Amazon, Apple, Arm, Google, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and Samsung in its “founding members” group. This is similar group behind the AV1 customary, which grew out of Google’s buy of On2 and the open sourcing of its video codec.

Neither Dolby Vision nor Atmos opponents require new codec growth. Google’s technique is generally about standardizing a strategy to ship audio and video information that does not contain paying Dolby and branding it nicely sufficient to compete. To begin, the group already has specs for an “Immersive Audio Container” printed on the net, which describes itself as a “codec-agnostic audio bitstream format to ship three dimensional sound fields that can be utilized for multichannel sound playback.” For HDR, the group needs to undertake the HDR10+ customary, which was initially cooked up by Samsung however lacks content material.

It’s not but identified what consumer-facing model these standards might be for. That’s a giant deal, because the identify “Dolby” nonetheless holds a whole lot of sway with dwelling theater lovers, and which means streaming apps can market the Dolby model as a premium add-on, creating demand for the standards. Few corporations have sufficient sway over the media house to push a brand new customary, however Google is one in every of them. As we have already seen with AV1, pushing assist into YouTube, Android, Chrome, and any {hardware} producers trying to license entry to YouTube is a strong cudgel.

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