As consumers, the sheer number of different codecs available for a given media type can be downright frustrating. There's a reason a multitude of devices exist that help transcode streams to be playable on another device - there's been a lack of a standard, so we have no choice but to bend over backwards and jump through hurdles in order to make sure our media works on any device.
This reality is also frustrating for companies - those that have to open their wallets for licensing. We're long overdue for a real standard, one that doesn't have licensing costs and one that most people can agree on. With the Alliance for Open Media, that's just what we're in for.
To make sure the best codecs are created, seven influential companies joined forces to create this group. As of the time of writing, those companies include Intel, Google, Cisco, Mozilla, Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft. Each one of these companies rely heavily on various codecs, and all of them want things to be simpler.
The group's big focuses include making a codec that's interoperable and open, optimized for the Web, scalable regardless of bandwidth, designed for a low computational footprint, able to deliver the highest-quality video possible, and usable for both commercial and non-commercial content.
All of the companies involved in this group agree to waive royalty fees for their efforts. It's odd to see so many big companies - and competitors - group together for a common goal, but this is one of those rare times. And, it's a time that's long, long overdue.