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Apple has joined the Open Media Alliance, a consortium of tech companies working on a new video compression technology that could make processes such as streaming and downloading video use less data.
As with Apple’s participation in other tech consortiums, the company’s decision to join the Alliance was fairly quiet. The company’s addition to the roster as a founding member, which was made with a simple change to the Open Media Alliance’s website on Friday, was first spotted by CNET.
The Open Media Alliance was first founded back in 2015, and it spearheaded a video codec initiative that eventually developed AV1 — a video compression tech that could streamline media downloads on a wide range of devices. Besides Apple, the Alliance is made up of other high-profile tech companies, including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
The Alliance’s ultimate goal is to bring together the entire industry around a single, more cohesive standard. Similarly, such a standard will help all the companies avoid the royalty arrangements with HEVC, an industry group which holds patents for the H.264 standard.
If H.264 sounds familiar, it’s because Apple has been rooting for its successor — H.265 — until as recently as this year. The company’s addition to the Open Media Alliance, however, could signal that Apple is now lending its support to AV1. Presumably, Apple’s interested in helping that codec become the standard for the open web.
Apple could help ensure AV1’s success, particularly if it becomes the new standard for streaming video on the company’s iPhones, iPads, Macs and other products. Apple’s support also means that the big five tech companies are all on board with the new standard.
AV1 was developed by a range of technologies created by the companies in the Alliance — including work conducted by Mozilla, Cisco and Google video compression projects. And streaming services are already beginning to lend their support, too. Netflix and Hulu are both members of the OMA, and have pledged to adopt AV1 as their standard streaming codec across their services.