Why is Google pushing to open media formats

Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, Your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. On Thursday, we explore why Google is taking on Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. Also: a new Chromecast, better WebAR, and synthetic stock images.

The story behind Google’s Project Caviar

Google doubles down on open media: the company is preparing to tackle Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision with a pair of royalty-free formats for HDR video and 3D audio, I was the first to report yesterday.

Internally known as Project Caviar, This represents one of the most significant efforts to get the industry to embrace open media formats since Google began investing in developing video codecs over a decade ago.

  • Project Caviar is based on HDR10+ for video and the Alliance for Open Media’s immersive audio container format for 3D audio.
  • Google wants to bolster these efforts with a new overarching brand that can better rival the Dolby brand.
  • The company is looking to create an executive forum dedicated to getting streaming services and device makers to endorse formats and brand.
  • Project Caviar will also be used to bring more immersive media experiences to YouTube, giving people a way to capture and share HDR video and 3D audio without professional tools and equipment.

This isn’t Google’s first rodeo in open media. The company acquired the On2 codec maker in 2009 and has continued to open source On2 video codecs. Google also played a major role in the founding of the Alliance for Open Media and its later development of the AV1 video codec.

  • Google has always put its investment in open media as an altruistic effort, arguing that streaming needs royalty-free formats As successful as the open web.
  • Of course, the company also had financial incentives to support open codecs: MPEG LA, the group responsible for licensing the H.264 video codec, initially indicated that it might charge free streaming services like YouTube royalty for the use of H.264 starting at year 2016.
  • After Google released the open alternative, MPEG LA announced that The free services won’t have to pay a cent to use H.264.
  • In other words: even if Google fails to replace H.264 with open alternatives, it still uses the threat of royalty-free format to get concessions from MPEG LA.

The situation is slightly different for Project Caviar. Dolby has chosen to make Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision free for all streaming services, primarily using Netflix and its competitors as brand ambassadors. So why does Google care if Dolby is charging device makers a few dollars to add Atmos and Vision to their devices?

  • One reason is Google’s hardware business. The company makes phones, speakers, earphones, and streaming devices, and you don’t really want to pay fees for every device you sell.
  • This is especially true for lower quality devices, which are generally sold at cost. An industry source told me that the license fee for Dolby Digital and Dolby Vision is $2 for a cheap set-top box.
  • It’s probably no coincidence that Google’s new Chromecast HD, which retails for $30, supports HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision.
  • There is also the impact of this fee on the broader Android ecosystem: at the moment Xiaomi has only adopted Dolby Vision for some of its devices. A widely adopted alternative to Dolby Vision could help other Android device makers control costs.

There is also the impact that these royalties can have on future innovations. Right now, Atmos is mainly added to wireless speakers and earbuds, and Vision is mostly used to improve Hollywood fare on big screen TVs.

  • However, Sonos is already rumored to have high-quality Atmos-enabled speakers, and 3D audio is likely to become a major part of listening at home across a wide range of products.
  • Google also wants to push Project Caviar as a way to promote HDR video capture, which will require widespread buying from mobile makers.
  • Finally, there is the promise of augmented reality and other forms of spatial computing, which not only require 3D audio but could one day benefit from HDR and other forms of immersive video.

In other words: Google wants to save some money on these formats today, but it also wants to make sure Dolby doesn’t become a huge problem for its business in the future.

– Yanko Rutgers

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make moves

Google officially launches Chromecast HD

Anticipating its hardware launch event, Google officially introduced the Chromecast with the Google TV HD streaming adapter today. the device that I first told you about it in January, is basically the 1080p version of the current Chromecast with Google TV streaming device. It even ships with the same remote control.

The big news: Google is selling the device for just $29.99, which puts it straight in Inflation tools category.

  • The device features a new chipset capable of playing AV 1 video, but again it only ships with 8GB of storage for apps.
  • Chromecast HD will ship with Android 12, while the 4K version is still running Android 10.
  • However, Chromecast Product Manager Jess Bonner told me this week that an update to a 4K Chromecast is coming “in the near future.”

Niantic brings location-based augmented reality technology to the web

After acquiring the 8th Wall web startup in March, Niantic has now integrated its developer tools with 8th Wall’s WebAR SDK. The result, which the company calls Lightship VPS for the web, will allow developers to build lightweight AR experiences that can be installed in specific locations and don’t require people to download custom apps.

  • In addition to allowing people to unleash augmented reality experiences in a store or inside the stadium, Niantic’s Visual GPS also includes detailed 3D scans of tens of thousands of notable places, including sculptures, buildings and more.
  • This allows developers to build augmented reality experiences that interact with their environment “with centimeter-level precision,” said Kjell Bronder, senior director of product management for the company’s augmented reality and geodata platform, He told me earlier this year.

“At Niantic, we believe the real world should get people to explore and connect with the world around them,” CEO John Hanke said in a press release. “We can’t wait to see what location-based augmented reality experiences our developer community will create with this new tool.”

– Yanko Rutgers

in other news

YouTube plans to start sharing revenue with short film creators. The video service aims to expand its creator program into shorts early next year.

Spotify is adding audiobooks to its catalog. Provide music service More than 300,000 titles from major publishers for sale; Spotify is also considering subscription and ad-supported options for audiobooks.

Logitech will sell its portable cloud games for $300 at launch. the device Features a 7-inch screen It will provide access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, Steam Link, and NVIDIA GeForce Now, and will cost $350 after the introductory discount.

The theme park industry is rediscovering virtual reality. Some ride-hailing operators have also begun to do so Experience augmented reality glasses.

Why Snap Closed Zenly. Snap didn’t want to sell the social mapping platform and decided to pull the plug instead, According to insiders.

Warner Music has appointed YouTube CEO Robert Kinkel as its new CEO. Previously Kyncl He served as YouTube’s chief business officer and led the service’s original content initiatives.

Sony believes in the Hollywood-like window of PS Plus. Playstation Indies Chief Shuhei Yoshida said In an industry event, the company wants to keep charging for new titles before they become available to subscribers to its PS Plus service, much as Hollywood did with movies that first premiered in theaters before they became widely available.

77% of gamers play multiplayer games. This is just one of the anecdotes in Unity’s new Multiplayer Report, which the company has done released this week.

AI Getty

Now that’s interesting: Getty Images has banned AI-generated media from its service. Creators are not allowed to upload any images created with DALL-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, or similar services.

“There are real copyright concerns regarding the output of these models and unaddressed rights issues regarding the images, the image metadata, and the individuals in the images,” Craig Peters, CEO of Getty Images. He told The Verge about the move.

Peters may also have been held back by AI-generated photos that contain watermarks looks suspicious like Those from Getty and its competitor Shutterstock, suggesting that these stored image sites are used as training data.

However, Getty’s decision makes me wonder what we’ll see first: a stock photo site that only hosts AI-generated photos, or an AI stock photo site where you can buy training data in bulk to feed your algorithms with copyrighted images?

– Yanko Rutgers

Content sponsored by Modern Treasury

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