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Tech Companies Form Alliance for New Streaming Video Format

2 Sep, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix, Google and Amazon among founding members

Netflix and Amazon may be changing how people consume video entertainment. Now the companies have formed an alliance of tech firms seeking to create a new open-source video streaming format.

Called “Alliance for Open Media,” founding members Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel Corp., Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix say they are focused on developing next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies in the public (and their own) interests.

Specifically, the new format would be an alternative to Adobe Flash — an industry standard now reportedly considered out of date, a security risk to content holders and, more importantly, not free.

As the tech world morphs into a subscription based business model, services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video believe distribution channels and video formats should be egalitarian. Hence, Netflix’s obsession with fighting against fees levied by major ISPs.

“The Web was built on innovation without asking permission, and patent licensing regimes are incompatible with some of the Web’s most successful business models,” David Bryant, CTO of Alliance member Mozzila, wrote in a Sept. 1 blog post.

Bryant said the Alliance’s new streaming format codec would be released under an “Apache 2.0” license, with all members waiving royalty fees for both implementation and any patents on the codec itself.

Indeed, the codec would be free to third-party software developers targeting both professional and user-generated content. Notably absent from the Alliance is Apple, which reportedly is considering creating proprietary content similar to what Netflix , Amazon and Hulu Plus have done.

“The Web doesn’t stand still and neither do we,” Bryant wrote. “The Alliance provides a venue for us to share the legal legwork without having to worry about it being used against us down the road. That distributes the load, allows us to innovate faster and cheaper, and gives everyone more confidence.”


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