Google is reportedly planning to launch a royalty-free alternative to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision after its AV1 codec became popular. With a host of Android smartphones chasing the coveted Dolby certification in audio and video, Google is looking to offer an affordable alternative that could potentially be helpful for entry-level devices to deliver a better multimedia experience.
According to a report by Protocol, Google is “looking to introduce two new media formats to offer HDR video and 3D audio under a new consumer-recognisable brand without the licensing fees hardware manufacturers currently have to pay Dolby.” The development comes as Apple makes Spatial Audio a household name among iPhone users and smartphone cameras chase the Dolby Vision HDR certifications.
The report claims that at present, a manufacturer of streaming boxes that retail for $50 has to pay around $2 as royalty for delivering Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. Google is helping manufacturers avoid the hefty royalty charge with an open-source solution.
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The report states Google’s version will be governed by an industry forum and made available for free to hardware makers and service providers. The company could start with YouTube which, at present, does not support Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision. Google hopes people will be recording natively in this format and upload it to YouTube, thereby popularising the formats, according to the report.
The initiative is codenamed “Project Caviar” and Google has reportedly been in talks with hardware makers and service providers like Samsung, which does not support Dolby Vision on its TVs in order to avoid the hefty royalty fee.
What Is Dolby Vision And Dolby Atmos?
Dolby Vision is a step above the regular HDR video technology, with support for a wider gamut of colours, brightness, and contrast. Moreover, it promises a more natural-looking output. Dolby’s technology helps preserve a lot more information from the studio the content was mastered in, to the devices you are watching it on, using dynamic metadata. Dolby Atmos, on the other hand, is a surround sound technology offering an immersive sound experience.