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, and many others. Apple was quietly added to the website’s homepage today, and is even considered a founding member (via CNET). Here’s how the consortium describes its goal:
The initial project – AOMedia Video – pursues a new, royalty-free video codec specification and open source implementation based on the contributions of Alliance members and the broader developer community, along with binding specifications for media format, content encryption and adaptive streaming.
Other goals of the group include navigating the complicated nature of royalties with HEVC Advance, the industry group behind H.265 (commonly known as HEVC) which Apple has adopted with High Sierra and iOS 11.
It’s possible with Apple joining the Alliance for Open Media that the AV1 codec could become the efficient video compression that unifies the industry moving forward.
One example is Google currently using VP9 for 4K video, which Apple’s Safari doesn’t support. That means 4K videos on YouTube do not play in Safari and instead require Chrome, and 4K content isn’t playable on Apple TV 4K’s YouTube app. A unified codec across the industry would no doubt be beneficial for both users and tech companies alike.