Google is working on a royalty-free alternative to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision – Technology News, Firstpost

Google is apparently working on alternative audio and video formats that could replace Dolby Atmos and Vision if they had their way.

According to a report from Protocol, Google plans to introduce two new media formats to offer HDR video and 3D audio under a new consumer-recognized brand without the licensing fees that hardware manufacturers currently have to pay Dolby.

While the final product is still miles from completion, leaked documents and memos suggest engineers at Google are mentioning the product Project Caviar in their internal communications.

Dolby charges licensing fees to device makers looking to add Atmos and Vision support, which is increasingly being advertised as a premium feature by streaming services. Protocol claims they received a document stating that the streaming box manufacturer will have to pay that wholesale at $50, about $2 per unit for Dolby Vision and Dolby Digital.

What Google envisions “would be administered by an industry forum and made available to hardware manufacturers and service providers for free.” One way the company could encourage hardware adoption is to have YouTube, which doesn’t support Dolby Atmos or Vision, support it.

This comes at a time when spatial audio is being marketed as the next big thing in sound technology, while the video side of Google’s format push is focused on letting end users capture in these premium formats and get better quality video.

Samsung, which co-developed HDR10+ as a royalty-free alternative to Dolby Vision, tried to make HDR10+ a household name, but has largely failed to do so. That’s why Google wants to try again.

Google has discussed the Caviar project with hardware manufacturers who can cut costs. The company has also spoken with service providers. For example, Samsung doesn’t support Dolby Vision on its televisions because it doesn’t want to pay a license fee. Likewise, the Dolby Vision format has not been widely adopted on Android’s mobile platforms.

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