Founding Members of Alliance for Open Media Include Microsoft, Intel, Google, Cisco, Mozilla, Amazon and Netflix

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world are collaborating on a new series of media codecs and formats that they hope will constitute an "open standard" for video content on the web.

The first task of the newly formed Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia for short) is creating an open video codec designed for high-quality, real-time delivery of commercial and non-commercial content over the web. The codec will be royalty free and open source and will include specs for media format, encryption, and adaptive streaming.

AOMedia was established through the Joint Development Foundation, a nonprofit infrastructure designed for development projects. The seven founding members are Microsoft, Intel, Google, Cisco, Mozilla, Amazon, and Netflix.

"The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery," said AOMedia Executive Director Gabe Frost in a prepared statement. Other companies will be allowed to join the alliance later this year.

According to a blog post by Mozilla CTO and VP of Platform Engineering David Bryant, the goal is to operate AOMedia under the W3C patent policy for producing web standards and to release code under an Apache 2.0 license, with all participants waiving their patent rights and any royalties from the codec implementation.

A Little History
The idea of an open, web-centric video codec was forwarded by Google in 2010 with the launch of the royalty-free WebM format, which supported VP8 and VP9 video astreams and was designed for use with media delivered via HTML5 tags. "Our combined strength, resources and expertise will drive the next generation of media experiences much further and faster than WebM can do alone," said Matt Frost, head of strategy and partnerships for Google's Chrome Media.

Google's VP10 is currently in development, but it found itself working in parallel with other royalty-free codec options, including the Daala project from Mozilla and Xiph.Org and the recently announced Thor codec from Cisco. Now, those initiatives will be combined under the AOMedia banner, where detailed patent analysis can take place as a shared project among companies as bits and pieces of the different technologies are combined into a single specification.

"We have been very vocal about our desire to deliver a royalty-free codec and we believe that joining the forces of the designers of the Daala, Thor and VPx codecs will multiply our collective efforts to deliver next-generation media codecs, formats and technologies," said Cisco Collaboration Technology Group CTO Jonathan Rosenberg in a prepared statement.