Google is making a push for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Atmos. Google shared plans for the media formats, known internally as the “Caviar” project, at a closed-door meeting with hardware manufacturers earlier this year. “The project.
In a demo video leaked to the agreement, group product manager Roshan Baliga described the goal of the project as creating “a healthier, broader ecosystem” for premium media experiences. The project’s main application focus is YouTube, which currently does not support Dolby Atmos or Dolby Atmos. However, Google also wants to bring other industry players on board, including device manufacturers and service providers. This makes the Caviar project one of Google’s most ambitious efforts to promote open media formats since it began working on royalty-free video codecs a decade ago.
So far, Google’s open media efforts have focused on codec development. The company acquired video codec maker On2 in 2009 to open up some of its technology; it has also played a major role in building on the Open Media Alliance, an industry consortium that oversees the royalty-free AV1 video codec. The Caviar project is different from these efforts because it is not another codec. Instead, the project focuses on 3D audio and HDR video formats that leverage existing codecs but allow for a richer and more immersive media playback experience, much like Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. Baliga did not mention Dolby by name during his presentation, but he still made it very clear that the company is looking to build Atmos and Vision formats as alternatives. We realize that there are some high-end media experiences that don’t have any great royalty-free solutions,” he said, adding that the licensing costs for high-end HDR video and 3D audio “hurt manufacturers and consumers.
Dolby makes most of its money by charging hardware manufacturers licensing fees. The company charges TV makers $2 to $3 for Dolby Vision licenses, according to Giles Baker, its senior vice president of cloud media solutions. Dolby doesn’t publicly disclose licensing fees for Atmos; it charges consumers $15 per license who want to add immersive audio to Xbox consoles, but hardware makers are said to be paying much less. Still, in an industry that has long struggled with small profits but quick turnover, every extra dollar counts. This is especially true because Dolby already charges almost all device makers licensing fees for its legacy audio codecs. A maker of a streaming box with a wholesale price of $50 would have to pay around $2 each for Dolby Vision and Dolby Digital, according to a document shared with the agreement by an industry insider. “This extra cost can be prohibitive for low-cost living room equipment,” Baliga said in his presentation. “