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

Enlarge / The Alliance for Open Media emblem.

Alliance for Open Media

Google can do principally no matter it desires concerning video and net requirements. YouTube is the world’s hottest video website. Chrome is the world’s hottest browser. Android is the world’s hottest working system. Something Google desires 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 just a few companions to tag alongside. That 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 requirements.

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

Encompass sound has been a film function without end with numerous numbers of entrance, again, and aspect audio system, however Dolby Atmos provides top into the equation. If you happen to take 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 combo, permitting sound to pan overhead of the viewer. Atmos is supported by Apple, Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+.

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

Neither Dolby Imaginative and prescient nor Atmos rivals require new codec improvement. Google’s technique is generally about standardizing a technique to ship audio and video knowledge that does not contain paying Dolby and branding it effectively sufficient to compete. To begin, the group already has specs for an “Immersive Audio Container” revealed on the internet, 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 desires to undertake the HDR10+ commonplace, which was initially cooked up by Samsung however lacks content material.

It isn’t but identified what consumer-facing model these requirements can be for. That is an enormous deal, for the reason that identify “Dolby” nonetheless holds a number of sway with house theater fanatics, and which means streaming apps can market the Dolby model as a premium add-on, creating demand for the requirements. Few firms have sufficient sway over the media house to push a brand new commonplace, however Google is certainly one of them. As we have already seen with AV1, pushing help into YouTube, Android, Chrome, and any hardware manufacturers seeking to license entry to YouTube is a robust cudgel.

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