Tech Giants Team To Improve Online Video

Seven of the worldEUs biggest tech companies are coming together to redefine and improve the quality of online video. Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Mozilla, Amazon and Netflix said theyEUve formed the Alliance for Open Media to create new video compression tech over the next few years that will make better use of the networks that deliver video to such devices as smartphones, computers, video game consoles and TVs.

More partners are expected to join the new alliance, but group representatives arenEUt saying who those new members might be. The initial focus of the alliance is to deliver a next-generation video format that is: 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.

Not Just Yet

To support modern streaming-media and videoconferencing services and whatever technologies are on the way, video standards must adapt more quickly than the current 10-year cycle, according to the alliance. That means innovation in video compression has to keep up with video experiences currently being built.

We reached out to Dan Rayburn, a principal analyst with Frost & Sullivan and executive vice president of Streamingmedia.com, who told us that the new alliance is promising, but observers shouldnEUt expect any kind of immediate results.

"For one thing, what theyEUre doing is not a replacement for HEVC (high-efficiency video coding)," said Rayburn. "This is about a next-generation codec that wonEUt be on the market next year or the year after that."

Improvements in compression are likely to be the key drivers of the allianceEUs efforts. Such improvements can lay the groundwork for higher-resolution video with more detail, a better range of colors and contrasts and more video frames per...

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