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Apple joins hands with Alliance for Open Media

Apple has joined the Alliance for Open Media, a technology consortium that is working on a new industry standard, high-efficiency video codec called AV1. The group includes Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, Intel, ARM, Mozilla and many others. Apple was quietly added to the website’s homepage today, and is even considered a founding member.

Alliance for open media, while stating about its goals and moto says –

WE ARE INDUSTRY LEADING COMPANIES FOCUSED ON DEVELOPING NEXT-GENERATION MEDIA CODECS, FORMATS AND TECHNOLOGIES IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
Executive Director of Alliance for Open Media, Gabe Frost says –
“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem. 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.”

The Alliance is developing a royalty-free video codec known as AOMedia Video 1 (AV1). It’s design compresses the video before storing or sending the same over a network. Apple’s move to join the Alliance for Open Media is notable because implementing such technology requires it to be widely supported, and Apple was one of the only major companies not participating.

Until now Apple has been a major holdout, opting for H.264 and H.265 across its platforms. That decision has made it beholden to patent holders wanting royalty payments. However, AV1 could potentially be free of those obligations. AV1 also offers a better compression, shrinking file sizes by 25 to 35 percent versus H.265 and Google’s VP9.

AV1 continues to be a work in progress. The Alliance for Open Media is planning to release the first version of in the near future. Mozilla supports an early version of AV1 and has said that it reduces file sizes by 25 to 35 percent compared to HEVC, which Apple implemented support for in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11.

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