Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix banded together today to create the Alliance for Open Media. The open-source project will consolidate several codec development projects into a single working group that hopes to deliver a next-generation video codec by late 2016 or early 2017.

Each of the seven companies will contribute technology (royalty free) and expertise to support high-quality video, audio, imagery, and streaming across all types of devices. For example, Cisco will share technology relating to its new video codec Thor, Google will share details surrounding VP10, and Mozilla will offer up Daala.

The Alliance’s press release outlines the initial focus of delivering 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.

Initially, the Alliance will create an open royalty-free video codec. It will include binding specifications for media format, content encryption, and adaptive streaming.

“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem,” Gabe Frost, Alliance for Open Media’s executive director, said in a statement. “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 will operate under W3C patent rules, and any project it releases will be made available under an Apache 2.0 license, meaning all participants are waiving royalties and patents for the codec implementation and the codec itself. While the Alliance has seven founding members, it will be looking to expand the list of supporting companies starting next year.

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