To use Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos, you generally have to pay a license fee to Dolby. That’s why Google is working on Project Caviar, to provide a similar solution, but royalty-free.
Do you know the Caviar Project ? It is not a new type of high-end food, but a project by Google to offer an alternative to Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The goal is to develop open formats for HDR video and 3D audio, without having to pay royalties as is currently the case with Dolby. For Roshan Baliga, product manager at Google, quoted by online media Protocol:
“We realized that there are premium media experiences where there are no good royalty-free solutions. »
For example, Dolby charges TV manufacturers two to three dollars per product to use Dolby Vision. The company doesn’t disclose the cost of its Dolby Atmos license, but it does charge Windows 10 users around $15 to use it on their headphones.
Project Caviar’s first target is YouTube, which currently doesn’t have Dolby Vision or Dolby Atmos. But Google doesn’t intend to stop there and wants to bring service providers and device manufacturers together. Note that the company bought the video codec manufacturer On2 in 2009 and participated in the creation of the consortium. Open Media Alliance who takes care of the royalty free video codec AV1.
Samsung couldn’t win
Google’s goal would not be to offer new technologies, but to use existing codecs. For its part, Samsung has attempted to offer an alternative to Dolby Vision by jointly developing the format. HDR10+, which does not require the payment of a fee. Thus, the Korean manufacturer’s high-end televisions have Dolby Atmos, but not Dolby Vision. Unfortunately, this technology failed to take hold, mainly due to Dolby’s excellent strategy, which used players like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max to promote Dolby Vision, without asking them for a fee.
On the sound side, Google may have a hard time competing with Dolby, which has found a strong ally: Apple. In fact, the manufacturer has adopted the Dolby Atmos format for its spatial audio technology. Note that the consortium Open Media Alliancewhich also includes Amazon, Netflix, Meta and Samsung, is also trying to develop a new 3D audio format called Immersive Audio Container. This format could be used by Google in its Caviar project, as well as HDR10+ for the image part. Thus, users could record their videos in HDR10 + and publish them on YouTube. Therefore, Google’s service could serve as a Trojan horse to promote Project Caviar formats, especially on Android smartphones.