Apple joins Alliance for Open Media, signaling support for AV1 video

Posted:
in General Discussion
Perhaps looking to get around licensing issues with H.265/HEVC, Apple has silently become a founding member of the Alliance for Open Media, a group working on a new video compression format known as AV1.




The Alliance added Apple to its website on Wednesday, according to CNET. Other founding members include Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, and Nvidia -- among lower-level partners are Adobe, AMD, Hulu, and VLC maker VideoLAN.

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, whereas AV1 could potentially be free of those obligations.

AV1 is also said to offer better compression, shrinking filesizes by 25 to 35 percent versus H.265 and Google's VP9.

Indeed Apple's interest may stem as much from the evolution of video as avoiding royalties. With the launch of the Apple TV 4K, the company has also begun hosting 4K video on iTunes, which can consume tremendous amounts of bandwidth and storage for both Apple and viewers. 8K video is already on the horizon, even if it's unlikely to reach most Apple devices in the near future.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Can anyone tell me the relevance of the photo accompanying this article? Other than it's the web, and every article has to be illustrated with something
    zroger73randominternetpersonnetroxtycho_macuserksecSpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 2 of 18
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,545member
    Well, I can tell you that it's a capture from Wes Anderson's film The Grand Budapest Hotel, but apart from being "from a movie that is available on iTunes" I can't see any real connection.
    leighc-sfoSpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 3 of 18
    ...every article has to be illustrated with something
    I’ll take “Boilerplate Article Templates” for five hundred, Alex.
    leighc-sforandominternetpersonSpamSandwichbshankjony0
  • Reply 4 of 18
    If they were added to the website yesterday, why don't I see their logo between Amlogic and Argon Design on that site?  Was this retracted?
  • Reply 5 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,618member
    Oh I SO look forward to @ericthehalfbee 's reaction to Apple finally buying into the Google-led royalty-free alternative to HEVC.  We've had numerous discussions in the past about this, some relatively recently....

    but I expect him to avoid doing so. 
    edited January 2018 muthuk_vanalingam1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 6 of 18
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,124member
    Wait, so how did Apple become a founding Member when they were the last to sign up?
    r2d2
  • Reply 7 of 18
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,124member
    gatorguy said:
    Oh I SO look forward to @ericthehalfbee 's reaction to Apple finally buying into the Google-led royalty-free alternative to HEVC.  We've had numerous discussions in the past about this, some relatively recently.
    Apple didn't do that!!! Google's is VP8 which went no where, and now followed by VP9. Which is what Google is using for YouTube in HD and why Apple doesn't support it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP9

    AV1 which is what Apple has finally signed onto is being developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) In which Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and now Apple have signed onto as Founding Members. Along with others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Open_Media

    It's not Google-led. As for royalty-free, give it time, I'm sure someone will be suing them, maybe the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
    edited January 2018 williamlondonwatto_cobrapscooter63patchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 8 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,618member
    jbdragon said:
    gatorguy said:
    Oh I SO look forward to @ericthehalfbee 's reaction to Apple finally buying into the Google-led royalty-free alternative to HEVC.  We've had numerous discussions in the past about this, some relatively recently.
    Apple didn't do that!!! Google's is VP8 which went no where, and now followed by VP9. Which is what Google is using for YouTube in HD and why Apple doesn't support it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP9

    AV1 which is what Apple has finally signed onto is being developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) In which Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and now Apple have signed onto as Founding Members. Along with others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Open_Media

    It's not Google-led. As for royalty-free, give it time, I'm sure someone will be suing them, maybe the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
    As I read it Google rolled their next version VP10 into AV1 and serves as basis for the codec being finalized by the Open Media Alliance. 
    https://www.xda-developers.com/av1-future-video-codecs-google-hevc/

    So yeah Apple is buying into into Google's vision, and that's OK. The more rabid Apple fans and loudest Google-haters have more of an issue with that than Apple themselves do, so trust what Apple chooses as several of the most vocal members here would normally suggest. . 
    edited January 2018 muthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 9 of 18
    gatorguy said:
    jbdragon said:
    gatorguy said:
    Oh I SO look forward to @ericthehalfbee 's reaction to Apple finally buying into the Google-led royalty-free alternative to HEVC.  We've had numerous discussions in the past about this, some relatively recently.
    Apple didn't do that!!! Google's is VP8 which went no where, and now followed by VP9. Which is what Google is using for YouTube in HD and why Apple doesn't support it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP9

    AV1 which is what Apple has finally signed onto is being developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) In which Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and now Apple have signed onto as Founding Members. Along with others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Open_Media

    It's not Google-led. As for royalty-free, give it time, I'm sure someone will be suing them, maybe the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
    As I read it Google rolled their next version VP10 into AV1 and serves as basis for the codec being finalized by the Open Media Alliance. 
    https://www.xda-developers.com/av1-future-video-codecs-google-hevc/

    So yeah Apple is buying into into Google's vision, and that's OK. The more rabid Apple fans and loudest Google-haters have more of an issue with that than Apple themselves do, so trust what Apple chooses as several of the most vocal members here would normally suggest. . 
    Not really Google’s Vision. Apple rightly choose not to use anything that Google controlled. They got burned with maps when they decided to complete on phones and held back features like turn by turn for years to make Apple look bad. They are supporting this because it is a merger of three platforms and Google’s control will be limited. Here is a quote from the article you linked. “Cisco was developing Thor for use in their videoconferencing products, and Xiph was developing Daala (a codec designed to be substantially different from all previous codecs, in order to prevent any possibility of patent claims). All three codecs (Thor, Daala, and VP9/VP10) were looking quite promising, but the split efforts were stifling their development and adoption, so the three organizations came together and merged their codecs into one (AV1), and created the Alliance for Open Media to further the development and adoption of this joint codec. AV1 aims to take the best parts of each of those three codecs, and merge them into a royalty-free package that anyone can implement.”

    pscooter63williamlondonbestkeptsecretpatchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 10 of 18
    jbdragon said:
    Wait, so how did Apple become a founding Member when they were the last to sign up?
    It just means that they have a seat on the board of directors.

    There may be a lot more to this story.  For example, it could mean that Apple was working with them all along, but didn't want to give permission to have their name associated until now (for a variety of potential reasons).  Or it could be that Apple had been negotiating technology to be incorporated into the specs (like patents they own for QuickTime used in MP4).  Or it could be that Apple was waiting for certain technical requirements to be met before officially signing on.

    That last point...

    There's been a huge issue with AV1 meeting a quality to bit rate ratio at a given computational complexity that makes it favorable over HEVC.  Those 3 variables don't necessarily add up to being advantageous over HEVC and its licensing depending on how one prioritizes them.  Some reported as having signed on to AV1 in fact have been saying that their support was conditional on how the final spec shaped up... Netflix in particular has been concerned about this.

    So Apple may have been working with them, but instead of publicly stating support and then risk walking it back based on how the spec became finalized, they may have been waiting until the spec met their requirements before publicly signing on.

    This is likely to be good news for everyone involved except those administering the patent pools for HEVC.
    williamlondonksecjony0
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Are we sure this actually happened?  The stories say that the website was updated yesterday with this info, but I see no mention of Apple today and their last press release was in November announcing Facebook joining.  I expect that someone updated the website prematurely and then pulled it back, but not before some people noticed and posted stories about it.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    genovelle said:
    They got burned with maps when they decided to complete on phones and held back features like turn by turn for years to make Apple look bad. 

    Still with this false claims?
  • Reply 13 of 18
    ksecksec Posts: 1,561member
    One way to look at it, Apple has all the patent issues sorted out with all HEVC parties through Cross Licensing. So even if AV1 did had anything that is patented Apple is highly likely to not be sued.

    AV1 is not VP10, it is more like VP10 plus Daala and some from Xiph all merged. And over the past 12 months they had some tremendous progress that is closer to their initial goal. i.e AV1 when it was first came out was no where near 40-50% better then HEVC, and then later revised to 30% better then HEVC ( Which still wasn't true then).

    It is now better then HEVC, and not in just some silly PSNR numbers. The major problem right now is encoding complexity is many times higher then HEVC, and its bitstream is still not frozen yet. Good thing they are taking the time to get it right though, without Open Media Alliance there is 99.999% chance Google will just throw out an incomplete AV1 version.

    There is another point worth mentioning, IETF ( Internet Engineering Task Force ) has ongoing project called NetVC, which is a royalty free video codec for the Internet, just like opus for audio. Unless HEVC parties decides HEVC can be free to use on the Internet, there isn't currently any other contender for NetVC.     
    jony0
  • Reply 14 of 18
    Are we sure this actually happened?  The stories say that the website was updated yesterday with this info, but I see no mention of Apple today and their last press release was in November announcing Facebook joining.  I expect that someone updated the website prematurely and then pulled it back, but not before some people noticed and posted stories about it.
    Apple is mentioned among governing founding members in their About Us page, as well as in their Home page.

    Their mission statement promises “royalty free codec” and in that scale it is something new, upon which Apple might prefer not to be left behind. Intel’s and ARM’s presence means hardware acceleration and as a chip producer Apple’s presence is meaningful. A codec is nothing without hardware implementation.
    edited January 2018
  • Reply 15 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,134member
    jbdragon said:
    Wait, so how did Apple become a founding Member when they were the last to sign up?
    New math?
  • Reply 16 of 18
    genovelle said:
    gatorguy said:
    jbdragon said:
    gatorguy said:
    Oh I SO look forward to @ericthehalfbee 's reaction to Apple finally buying into the Google-led royalty-free alternative to HEVC.  We've had numerous discussions in the past about this, some relatively recently.
    Apple didn't do that!!! Google's is VP8 which went no where, and now followed by VP9. Which is what Google is using for YouTube in HD and why Apple doesn't support it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP9

    AV1 which is what Apple has finally signed onto is being developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) In which Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and now Apple have signed onto as Founding Members. Along with others.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_for_Open_Media

    It's not Google-led. As for royalty-free, give it time, I'm sure someone will be suing them, maybe the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).
    As I read it Google rolled their next version VP10 into AV1 and serves as basis for the codec being finalized by the Open Media Alliance. 
    https://www.xda-developers.com/av1-future-video-codecs-google-hevc/

    So yeah Apple is buying into into Google's vision, and that's OK. The more rabid Apple fans and loudest Google-haters have more of an issue with that than Apple themselves do, so trust what Apple chooses as several of the most vocal members here would normally suggest. . 
    Not really Google’s Vision. Apple rightly choose not to use anything that Google controlled. They got burned with maps when they decided to complete on phones and held back features like turn by turn for years to make Apple look bad. They are supporting this because it is a merger of three platforms and Google’s control will be limited. Here is a quote from the article you linked. “Cisco was developing Thor for use in their videoconferencing products, and Xiph was developing Daala (a codec designed to be substantially different from all previous codecs, in order to prevent any possibility of patent claims). All three codecs (Thor, Daala, and VP9/VP10) were looking quite promising, but the split efforts were stifling their development and adoption, so the three organizations came together and merged their codecs into one (AV1), and created the Alliance for Open Media to further the development and adoption of this joint codec. AV1 aims to take the best parts of each of those three codecs, and merge them into a royalty-free package that anyone can implement.”

    Sure ... if you ignore the fact that it was Google's idea to begin with. And this was never going to be something that Google "controlled" to begin with. No one controls open standards. That's the whole point. And yes, other entities to contribute to open standards. Hence the "open" and community" nature of it. The only issue was that no one else was willing to join in and support the open standard because they wanted to maintain and monetize their own. That would have happened whether it was Apple, some international standards body like ISO or IETF etc. proposing it, just as it has in the past long before Google existed and/or before they bought YouTube and launched Android and was just a search engine. But now that technology and market conditions have changed, everyone else is just now coming around to the idea that Google started promoting TEN YEARS AGO. 

    It is hilarious. When Google stopped supporting Flash in Android, you guys were quick with the "Steve Jobs was right so take that Google fans!" comments. (Never mind that Android's support of Flash was very useful in helping Android gain adoption internationally and thus was a valid business and technology decision at the time.) But now when Apple joins an effort that Google recognized the need for due to their buying and operating YouTube way back in 2006 and had to deal with issues and gain expertise that Apple did not have as a result and had to spend the next 10 years getting other entities to join their efforts finally forcing Apple to act or else risk getting locked out, you guys say "nope has nothing to do with Google at all." And by the way, Google didn't even develop VP8 and its predecessors. On2 Technologies did. In 2008, Google bought On2 Technologies and immediately open-sourced VP8. If Google wanted to "control it" they would have never open-sourced it. But Google wanted this because they anticipated this business need which no one else has. And because Google didn't have their own proprietary video formats to license and monetize. (Meanwhile Google had to pay licensing fees on everyone else's formats.)

    But now because of 4K everyone else has the same needs that Google has had since buying YouTube. So now they want in. Including Apple. Those are the facts no matter how you want to spin them. Had Apple been the one to buy YouTube instead of Google, they would have come to the same conclusion long ago too. 
    williamlondongatorguymizhoumuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 18
    A codec is nothing without hardware implementation.
    Not even close to being true. Most codecs are software only and do not require extra hardware because the CPU can handle them just fine. For example: what is the hardware implementation of audio formats like *.mid, *.aac and *.mp3? There isn't one because your MacBook Pro doesn't need specialized hardware to decode a 20 megabyte *.mp3 file. ITunes can handle that just fine by itself. 

    Now granted for THIS, 4K/8K video compression you will need new GPU designs and such to support it so in this case that is why Intel, ARM and others are on board. But in general terms, nope.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 18
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,664member
    A codec is nothing without hardware implementation.
    Not even close to being true. Most codecs are software only and do not require extra hardware because the CPU can handle them just fine.
    That is the difference between "pop-culture" codecs and true standardized technology. In order to run the media in the broadest range of devices standardization is essential because the majority of those devices will require hardware implementations. This is the very reason and the only reason the Alliance has been formed.

    By the way if the CPU can handle them just fine this is mostly because Intel implemented them in the embedded Intel GPU.
    edited January 2018
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