Topic of the month covered by WebRTC “activists”
For this month the topic is: With the announcement of the Alliance for Open Media what do you hope to see as the outcome of this and what do you view as a practical one.
Starting with my opinion on this topic.
In April Dan Burnett & I talked about the NETVC initiative at the IETF. Now the Alliance for Open Media was announced and given the participating company it is fair to have hopes for good things to come out of it. Real-time communications and WebRTC specifically are just a narrow view of this much bigger thing, how will video run on the Web.
The challenge with video codes is twofold:
Business – avoiding the royalties and patent licensing costs. This is mandatory in today’s Web world as the cost may just kill new innovation that involve masses of users
Technical – having multiple codecs and support for only some of them based on camps (usually big companies) means there is a need for heavy lifting video transcoding
This is a good initiative but change will not come overnight.
Link: Alan Quayle
Fingers crossed for AOMedia, it may short-circuit the ‘Civil War’ WebRTC was facing in the coming years. In my work with telcos I make this point often, “the web has won, now get with the program.” Video transmission has a long history, hence there are lots of legacy business models. AOMedia has the potential to “get the video business with the web program.” And regardless, the video services I use are in AOMedia, so it really doesn’t matter what the legacy guys try to do, they have go where their customers go. The web has won.
The Alliance for Open Media is a surprising and positive development. Who would have thought these rivals could come to terms about about something like video coding, doing it with a free royalties model attached to it. In order to make a dent, this alliance must attract the chipset manufacturers – they are the ones with the real work here as they need to include hardware acceleration for this new video codec in the process – something that Google’s VP8 was always criticized of lacking. I wrote a longer analysis of this topic here: https://bloggeek.me/webrtc-codec-wars-rebooted/
An opensource, royalty free, video codec that is robust and efficient is what the industry is looking for and the objective of this alliance. While there is a high probability that this alliance will be successful, it will take 5-7 years to significantly displace the existing video codecs. This is a long time in web years, so the industry will continue to have video interoperability challenges, which some businesses profit from. The alliance should expand into areas outside of technology companies and include industries such as adult entertainment to help drive quicker adoption.