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Microsoft joins forces with other tech giants to create next-generation video format

Microsoft has joined forces with six other industry giants, including Google, Amazon, and Mozilla, to form the Alliance for Open Media. The alliance's main goal is to work together to create new open source formats and codecs for online video, audio, and other streaming media.

In all, the Alliance for Open Media is made up of Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. Each member will contribute its expertise to an initial project in an effort to create an open, royalty-free "next-generation" video format that adheres to the following:

  • Interoperable and open;
  • Optimized for the web;
  • Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
  • Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
  • Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
  • Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

It will definitely be interesting to see if the combined might of these tech giants can succeed in creating widely adopted codecs for online media consumption. While the initial list of founding members already includes some of the biggest names in tech, we could see other tech titans join in the future.

Source: Alliance for Open Media; Via: The Next Web

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

108 Comments
  • Probably making way for 8-32k video rendering from anywhere
  • It's because of licensing fees announced from the mpeg group.
  • http://www.cnet.com/news/patent-licensing-terms-still-murky-for-next-gen...
  •    Thanks for posting the link.
  • That s amazing (I did not read Apple, so just better :)
  • Apple will just make use of the formats and codecs and present them to the world as something revolutionary and why should people buy the new iPhone 13
  • Apple is so crappy that they will create a full ad detailing the new audio capabilities as something they developed!
  • now presenting, for the first time ever, audio interlaced with video... we call it the iMovie
    ... wait, what was that? We used that name already? @#!$#%^%&^^*&$%
  • CaedenV , That would be "Apple Movie". Don't you remember apple has changed its naming convention with the Apple Watch, Pay etc. Lol
  • maybe apple movee(oh wait thats already copyrighted sorry apple) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android On W10
  • or change the name of the codec and sell it again to her fans 
  • Or Apple will make sure it can't run on their devices, and create a whole new codec for their own devices licensed in such a way to pay a heavy penalty for playing their vidoes on non-Apple products. 
  • Apple isn't interested in open anything... except open pocketbooks.
  • Safari uses Webkit, which is open source. Microsoft doesn't open source Edge.HTML
  • Safari is crap
  • What does that have to do whether it's open source or not lol
  • Not sure what your point is Jas. Apple are only using webkit cos browser engines are hard. You'd have a point if Safari itself was open source, but its not.  
  • Microsoft made a basic browser that I believe is open source and is entirely based off of Edge.
  • Didn't Windows Central write about it?
  • I don't recall anything about that, could you please show me the link?
  • Jas, here is a link to MS's open source. Its a very long list. http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/directory.aspx
  • Edge has a lot of open source code.
  • That is one of the few (only?) examples of Apple using open source. It's also not a good example because Apple is USING open source webkit rather than creating/contributing to open source. Lets be honest here, Apple is not know for contributing open technology or standards. Not even close.
  • http://www.apple.com/opensource/
  • Hahaha that was pretty good
  • Surprising to say the least, but I wont mind a new format that runs better than anything out there. mp4 meet mp5 :D
  • Doesn't make sense.... mp3 is audio & mp4 is video.. mp5 could be people coming out of screen and acting infront of you....which is impossible It could be something else
  • except that we already have that, called 3D movies, holograms, augmented reality, etc. Mp2 (better known as mpeg2) was video, mp3 is audio, mp4 is video, so mp5 would be audio again?
  • So .m4a or mpeg4-part 14 doesn't exist? Ya kinda skipped that one.
  • As you get to higher data rates with 4K and beyond, it very well could be that new codecs are needed to more efficiently compress the streams.
  • The mp5 does offer a much better level of entertainment
  • @ 900 "frames" a minute :)
  • 15fps
  • MP5 is a submachine gun :D
  • So we can finally get rid of all these numerous extensions and rely on only one Sent via Windows Central app
  • naw, probably a show of force to get cheap h.265/HEVC licensing to open up and become more available. It is a great standard, just too expensive to really use in the business world.
  • Then apple will introduce it to the public like they're the ones responsible.
  • Nah they can't but they can implement them.
  • Apple is nothing but show off... That's what he is trying to say
  • Yea yea grow up its just a company.
  • Exactly. A bunch of little cry babies.
    They are corporations. They don't have feelings. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is real cool to hear. Hopefully this relationship can open doors to more collaboration with those tech giants. This can only mean good things for consumers!
  • I bet if Google makes a video player (or updates Youtube) with their brand using this alliance's codecs, Windows Phone will never get an official version from them. Yeah, I know MS can just make their own. Just saying how Google will continue to sh!t on MS no matter what.
  • Windows phone is dead. Windows 10 will be the one that got all of them.
    *included for phone too
  • Wasn't h.265 suppose to be the next Gen codec?
  • It's heavily tied up with terrible patent issues. It's going to be expensive to license so it probably won't be adopted.
  • Ahhh, didn't realize it wasn't open source. Makes sense now.
  • It is open source (code). Open source does not mean free. Commercial licensing does still exist with open source.
  • You are confusing an encoder with a video compression standard. HEVC is the compression standard or codec, and it is NOT open source. x265 is a third-party encoder that utilizes the HEVC standard. Both are not the same. The same is true of x264 and H264. They are NOT THE SAME.
  • Doesn't h.265 require royalty payments to MPEG LA?
  • h.265 is, and it is AMAZING. It is what will be used on next gen 4K Blu Ray discs when they come out later this year (... unless they get delayed, which I hope not). h.265 has a ton of hardware playback support (even my phone has native support), but licensing for commercial distribution is too expensive to really use, so it is pretty much only for people like me who copy our movies to our home servers, or premium products like 4K BluRay which will cost a hefty $30-60 each at launch. VP9 is Google's next gen codec, and it is also very good, especially for streaming content. If they would open up VP9 and implement hardware acceleration then it could pretty easily fit the standard described by this initiative.
  • There won't be a delay - IFA will have some announcements of player releases for the next gen Blu-Ray (I've heard ;) ).
  • Great news
  • Wow no apple that's great I like that go MS
  • In a near future: Iphone X, with new audio capabilities! The best audio in you device. And a full ad for it!
    That's how Apple make it
  • Streaming at an unprecedented 256kbs this is double the industry standard.  This isn't music.  You won't be listening to Bono, Bono will be in your home, watching you sleep.  Welcome to Apple Music.
  • Why do you like that Apple isn't on there?
  • It's not we don't like! It's just that they never get involved in Open Source but they are the first to make use of something they didn't help to develop!
  • Does that matter? And so why?
  • AFAIK, Microsoft doesn't help with the development of Chromium, but some of their stuff (like Visual Studio Community) is built using the codebase. How is that any different?
  • Microsoft is actually a huge contributor to open source. They just open sourced the .Net framework which is one of their most innovative solutions. MS has also created a ton of the industry standard protocols that are used in modern computing and devices. Apple goes out of their way to make their products as proprietary as possible. There is a huge difference.
  • None of your Microsoft defending or Apple hating answered my question.
  • Through many of your comments, it looks like you are picking an instance here or there to try to prove a point and paint Microsoft in a negative light...on a primarily pro Microsoft website.  I think people refer to this as trolling.  In regards to your question, many open source devs i know consider Microsoft adds more to the open source community than the other major software companies.  The open source projects Microsoft is working on was provided to you in another comment.  But if you compare that to the one you supplied that Apple works with, you can see two things.  One, many things on the Apple list are very outdated and two, many look to be created outside of Apple, not in-house  using their naming convention.  While I'm not saying Microsoft isn't at fault for many things, i do know they value the development community, including open source, very highly.  The lists should be a good start to educate you on this matter.    
  • Would be funny if Google adopted it and then banned Windows Mobile from using it.
  • That.... just.... that's not how formats work lol
  • They will!
  • They won't lol and they can't
  • They might ban Apple... Bcoz they aren't contributing... But Microsoft is contributing
  • I undestand why Netflix is there, but they really seem like the oddball in that list lol
  • To the average consumer, Cisco would be the oddball.
  • I got Cisco cable modem
  • Cool
  • Would be interesting to see anyone ever use the interwebs in a normal way, and not have that data go over Cisco hardware.
  • New DRM format to screw us. Just kidding.
  • You may not be too far off the mark. They probably want a format (and container) that can have dual use as an open DRM-free standard that can be shot on things like cell phones and video cameras, but can also support DRM so that we can have a standard DRM distribution model where multiple outlets can share the same centralized authentication point. Truth be told I would not be totally against DRM that does not get terribly in the way, and is separated from the distributor. If it means we can get high-quality digital media that can bounce around and be mixed and matched with different ecosystems then it could be just fine.
  • The only problem, you know, is that since the idea of DRM was born 20 yrs ago, there was not a single implementation that could fulfill your wish described in your comment. There were countless of types of DRM system, all suffered always from some form of lame or annoying or outrageous limitations and all their intent was to make the consumer angry. The idea of DRM was born solely because greedy media companies want to milk the consumer dry. Thinking anything else is just wet dream / delusional thinking. The company wants your money, possibly more money than you want to give to them. They dont give a flying f*** about the romantical - delusional IT peoples optimistic view how an ideal world should work.
  • And I think Intel is there to watch there work only,hahaha
  • LOL
  • Or make sure their chips will provide support at the most important level of the computer.
  • Now, lets discuss what file extension to use... Lol
  • presumably this is a codec... cram it into whatever container you like. WMA, WMV, MOV, MKV, AVI, etc.
  • I think the world is ready for a new four letter extension. Introducing the brand new Super Windows Media Video. You can see it's better because there's super in the name, and has a bigger extension
  • probably gonna be .mov2 or .wmv2
  • What other tech giants?
  • For those that don't see why this could be important... h.264 and aac, commonly contained in mp4, are the most ubiquitous video and audio codecs, respectively, and neither are free. When either is involved anywhere, which is all the time, someone is paying royalties to use them. If you want to encode or decode either codec, it's a pain, need to pay the patent trolls. Interestingly, WebM/VP8 is a Google owned open video codec and a while back (2011) MS said it would not implement it in IE essentially due to the fact that it is not a proven "industry standard" and because Google offers no guarantees or protection to the users of the technology. MS is part of MPEG-LA so it is understandable that they were supporters of h.264, even if they "pay twice as much" as they receive in patent royalties as they claimed. Their message was that the h.264 royalty model is the best way to have a standard, proven fomat that is legally safe to use. In any case, their involvement with this new development could be important not only because of the possibility of a new open and free codec but also because of the apparent change in stance (which isn't all that surprising given the changes in other parts of MS). Of course, this isn't an overnight thing. H.264 is built deep into hardware, so it'd take a long time before a new codec could take hold (good thing Intel's on board) and the patents surrounding video codecs make development a legal minefield.
  • Interesting that MS is part of h.264, but they specifically supported HDDVD... no matter which horse won the race they were going to have a hand in it as both mainly supported h.264
  • Hopefully this won't be hd-dvd all over again. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • And yet no official youtube app for windows phone.....
  • Not only are you beating a dead horse, but your comment has no relevance to the discussion.
  • And youtube has always worked on WP, so an official app isn't required.
  • Wait, did we.. no, we couldn't have... seen Microsoft and Google, in the same.. sentence... working.. together? Someone wake me up from this dream!
  • Happens all the time. Both companies work on many open source projects and have similar interests, causing them to be in the same groups.
  • That is not surprising.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Someone didn't watch the Edge video posted the other day.
  • They should just talk to Richard Hendriks over at Pied Piper and use his middle-out compression algorithm. If I remember correctly, he got a Weissman Score of 5.3
  • I'm surprised Hooli isn't part of the alliance.
  • They plan to fight HEVC? I don't see how anyone can improve it any further already, I was recently shocked to see my gf streaming a 720p movie with 1mb bandwidth with almost no buffering
  • Nandela has extra resources to spend because of faster than expected W10 Mobile development.. Why not invent a blocky wheel.
  • I have to ask you this. I know you are not a fan of Nadella and honestly I could not care less about that. But do you write "Nandela" because you dislike him or do you not know the spelling? That's all I want to know.
  • inb4 Google just tries to push WebM on everyone. Oh, wait ...
  • This reads like a Kickstarter announcement. These people who have never worked together, are going to come together, for the common good and create somethig that has never been successfully done before..kumbaya.
  • They work together all the time...  This is a major endeavor and requires a big announcement.
  • Good lord. God knows we need standardization in this area. With too many encoding and packaging formats, not most of them supported by Movies&TV/Groove app by Microsoft, making a hell for media consumption people.
    The other day, I tried to play a h265 encoded 720p file on my phone Lumia 730 WP8.1 but the processing probably isn't supported by SD410 Adreno 305 and other current generation SoCs(I presume). Then I tried to play a downloaded streaming content that was packaged as .webm and Movies&TV app on W10 mobile gave an error of unsupported format. And according to one MS edge developer, they are still considering supporting it for edge, meaning no support for edge = no native platform support. I do hope they decide to support it though and also bring extension support to mobile Edge as well. Finally, we all know .mkv packaging isn't supported natively in WP8.1 though Microsoft acknowledged to supporting it natively in Windows 10. I've still to confirm it though. All in all, Microsoft needs to support h264/h265 encoding/decoding natively. Also, they need to support at least these below mentioned packages natively for the following formats:
    1) .wav, .mp3, .flac and other audio formats for streaming and offline playback.
    2) .flv and .webm and others for online and downloaded video streaming content.
    3) .mkv, .mp4, .avi and others for video playback.
  • "Finally, we all know .mkv packaging isn't supported natively in WP8.1 though Microsoft acknowledged to supporting it natively in Windows 10." I dont know what do you mean by "native MKV support in WP8.1", but at least Xbox video understands the MKV container since February 2015 update. The biggest problem is, that the most favorite audio codecs used in all torrent movie rips (AC3) is indeed NOT supported by Xbox video app (Just a quick stats: 100 out of 100 videos on my NAS use AC3 audio codec, so 0 out of 100 could be played back on WP8.1 due to the audio codec) . So even though the MKV container is recognized, the audio codec inside is not, and never will be supported officially by MS. So the real problem is not the MKV on WP8.1. The problem is the audio codecs. I couldnt find any recent movie rip that was encoded with MP3. If it was using MP3, there would be no problem to playback those types of MKV in xbox video.
  • something like MKV which gives one file yet one can either add or remove audio tracks, subtitles or video streams 
  • Your url is wrong: http://www.windowscentral.com/google-joins-forces-other-tech-giants-crea...
    "google-joins-forces" but the title says Microsoft joins ...    
  • This link may explain it for you.  See copy, paste, replace all. ;) http://www.androidcentral.com/google-joins-forces-other-tech-giants-create-next-generation-video-format
  • In other words they are going to back HEVC and pretend it was their joint creation, patting themselves on the back.