Alliance for Open Media
|Formation||September 1, 2015|
|Founder||Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix|
|Purpose||Develop a royalty-free video format|
|Headquarters||Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Joint Development Foundation|
The Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) is a non-profit industry consortium for the development of open, royalty-free technology for multimedia delivery headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts, USA. It adopts the principles of the development of open web standards for the creation of video standards that can serve as royalty-free alternatives to the hitherto dominant standards of the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the related business model that exploits intellectual property through patent royalties and became associated with financial uncertainties, especially for internet companies and innovators.
Some collaboration and some work that would later be merged into AV1 predates the official launch of the Alliance. Following the successful standardization of an audio standard in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 2012, a working group for the standardization of a royalty-free video format began to form under the lead of people from the Xiph.org Foundation, who have begun working on their experimental video format Daala back in 2010. In May 2015, the Internet Video Codec working group (NetVC) of the IETF was officially started and presented with coding techniques from Xiph's/Mozilla's Daala. Cisco Systems joined forces and offered their own prototype format Thor to the working group on July 22. People were left wondering about the absence and silence of Google who has invested heavily in an open video format for the web with its VP8, VP9, and WebM Project.
The lack of a suitable video format that made the W3C end up not putting a video format in the specification for HTML5 and the failed negotiations for one mandatory video format for WebRTC showed need for a competitive open video standard. The emergence of a second patent pool for HEVC (HEVC Advance) in spring 2015 provided some important motivational background for investments in an alternative video format and growing support the Alliance because it spread uncertainty regarding royalties for MPEG's next-generation video format.
On September 1, 2015, the Alliance for Open Media was announced with the goal of developing a royalty free video format as an alternative to licensed formats such as H.264 and HEVC. The founding members are Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. The plan was to release the video format by 2017.
The alliance saw expansion of its member list since inception. On April 5, 2016, the Alliance for Open Media announced that AMD, ARM, and Nvidia had joined, and Adobe, Ateme, Ittiam and Vidyo joined in the months following. Facebook later joined as a governing member, and in 2018 the alliance's website was quietly updated to add Apple as a governing member of the alliance.
In 2018, the founder and chairman of the MPEG acknowledged the Alliance to be the biggest threat to their business model, furthermore stating that:
Alliance for Open Media has occupied the void created by MPEG’s outdated video compression standard (AVC), absence of competitive [royalty free] standards (IVC) and unusable modern standard (HEVC)... Everybody realises that the old MPEG business model is now broke.— Leonardo Chiariglione, A crisis, the causes and a solution
The Alliance's first project is the creation of a next-generation state of the art open video compression format and codec that is optimized for streaming media over the internet, for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content. A line of new video formats named AOMedia Video (AV) is being developed. Alliance members from the chip industry (AMD, ARM, Intel, Nvidia) are meant to ensure hardware-friendly design.
AOMedia planned for the first version of its format (AV1) to be completed before the end of 2017. However, work on the bitstream specification will be continued in 2018. It is assumed to get rapid adoption and is the primary contender for standardisation by the video coding standard working group NetVC of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Main distinguishing features of AV1 are its royalty-free licensing terms and state of the art performance. AV1 is specifically designed for real-time applications and for higher resolutions than typical usage scenarios of the current generation (H.264) of video formats.
Operation and structure
The Alliance is incorporated in the USA as a tax-exempt non-profit organization and a subsidiary "project" of the independent Joint Development Foundation (JDF) that's also headquartered in Wakefield.
The Alliance will release new video codecs as free software under the BSD 2-Clause License. It adopted the patent rules of the W3C which mandate technology contributors to disclose all patents that may be relevant and to agree to a royalty-free patent license. The Alliance's patent license contains a defensive termination clause to discourage patent lawsuits.
Software development happens in the open using a public source code repository and issue tracking system, and welcomes contributions from the general public. Contributions have to pass internal reviews and gain consensus for their adoption. Different sub-groups inside the Alliance handle testing, reviews for IPR/patent problems and hardware-friendliness, and editing of specification documents.
There are two levels of membership: Organizations can join as an ordinary member, or as a governing member with a seat on the board of directors. Confusingly, these are dubbed "founding members" in AOM terminology, although they need not be members since the Alliance was founded.
There is a broad representation of the video industry among the Alliance members, featuring several hardware, software, and content producers, OTT video distributors, providers of real-time conferencing solutions, and browser vendors. Several AOM members have previously worked on MPEG's HEVC and hold patents to it (e.g. BBC, Intel, Cisco, Vidyo, Apple, Microsoft, and Broadcom).
- "Alliance for Open Media established to deliver next-generation open media formats" (Press release). Alliance for Open Media. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.[self-published source]
- Stephen Shankland (2015-09-01). "Tech giants join forces to hasten high-quality online video". CNET. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
- Bright, Peter (2015-09-01). "Microsoft, Google, Amazon, others, aim for royalty-free video codecs". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- Bhartiya, Swapnil (2015-09-02). "Open source, open standard, royalty-free media codecs? That's the promise of the newly formed Alliance for Open Media". CIO. IDG Communications, Inc. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- Lamm, Greg (3 September 2015). "Why Microsoft and Amazon are working with Google and Netflix to make video streaming faster". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- David Bryant (2015-09-01). "Forging an Alliance for Royalty-Free Video". Mozilla. Retrieved 2015-09-01.[self-published source]
- "About Us". Alliance for Open Media. Retrieved 2018-01-05.[self-published source]
- "NETVC (Canceled) – BOF meeting proposals for IETF 91". trac.tools.ietf.org. 2015-01-20. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "Initial import of Timothy Terriberry's daala-exp code". GitHub. 2010-10-13. Retrieved 2015-08-01.
- Armasu, Lucian (2015-03-25). "IETF Begins Standardization Process For Next-Generation 'NETVC' Video Codec (Daala)". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
- "NETVC IETF 93 minutes". ietf.org. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- Krill, Paul (2015-08-19). "Cisco's Thor project swings a hammer at Web video codecs". InfoWorld. IDG Communications, Inc. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- Pozdnyakov, Andrey. "AOM AV1 vs. HEVC". elecard.com. Elecard. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
- Zimmerman, Steven (15 May 2017). "Google's Royalty-Free Answer to HEVC: A Look at AV1 and the Future of Video Codecs". XDA Developers. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
- Jan Ozer (2015-09-01). "Amazon, Google, and More Working on Royalty-Free Codec". StreamingMedia.com. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
- "The Alliance for Open Media Welcomes New Members and Announces Availability of Open Source Video Codec Project". Alliance for Open Media. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-04-07.[self-published source]
- "Vidyo Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 7 June 2016.[self-published source]
- "Ittiam Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 20 May 2016.[self-published source]
- Dana Rao (14 June 2016). "Adobe Joins Alliance for Open Media to Develop Next Generation Video Platform" (Press release).[self-published source]
- "ATEME Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 14 June 2016.[self-published source]
- "Apple joins an alliance to shrink your online videos". CNET. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- Doctorow, Cory (Jan 30, 2018). "After industry adopts open video standards, MPEG founder says the end is nigh". boingboing.net. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "A Progress Report: The Alliance for Open Media and the AV1 Codec". Streaming Media Magazine. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
- Eyevinn (2017-12-12), STSWE17: Jai Krishnan from Google and AOMedia giving us an update on AV1, retrieved 2018-01-05
- Sebastian Grüner (golem.de), July 19, 2016: Der nächste Videocodec soll 25 Prozent besser sein als H.265 (german)
- "What is AV1?". Streaming Media Magazine. 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
- Boulton, Clint (2003-03-19). "W3C Publishes Patent Policy Draft". InternetNews.com. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- Ozer, Jan (2017-11-27). "HEVC IP Owners Are Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory". Streaming Learning Center. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
- "Alliance for Open Media welcomes Facebook to its board as founding member" (Press release). AOMedia. 2017-11-13. Archived from the original on 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-11-13.[self-published source]
- Zimmerman, Steven (2017-11-28). "Facebook joins AOMedia to promote Royalty-Free AV1 Video". XDA Developers. Archived from the original on 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
- "Argon Design joins AOM" (Press release). 2017-06-28. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
Argon Design has been contributing to the VP9/VP10 codebase for over 3 years (…) Argon will be positioned to release Argon Streams AV1 immediately after the standard is completed later in 2017[self-published source]
- "BBC R&D joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 14 Nov 2016. Retrieved 19 Nov 2016.[self-published source]
- "Bitmovin Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 18 Apr 2017. Retrieved 18 Apr 2017.[self-published source]
- "Bitmovin Supports AV1 Encoding for VoD and Live and Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). 18 Apr 2017. Retrieved 18 Apr 2017.[self-published source]
- "Chips&Media, Inc. Joins the Alliance for Open Media" (Press release). Seoul. 21 October 2016.
- "Press Release – VideoLAN Joins the Alliance for Open Media". videolan.org (Press release). VideoLAN. 2017-05-16. Retrieved 2018-03-17.[self-published source]
- Smith, Jordan (14 May 2018). "Vimeo Joins the Alliance for Open Media". Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.