Google Wants Its Own Formats for HDR and 3D Audio

Google plans to release its own royalty-free media formats for HDR and 3D audio as a competitor to Dolby’s better-known formats.

It would be new formats for HDR, 3D audio writes tech site Protocol and direct competitors for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Dolby Vision is a quality format for HDR video that you will find in high-end 4K televisions, for example. On the other hand, Dolby Atmos is better known and provides richer sound in speakers and soundbars, among other things.

Protocol says it has seen a presentation on ‘Project Caviar’, which ‘comprises two new media formats for HDR video and 3D audio under a new consumer brand’. Importantly, it is a royalty-free alternative to Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and that hardware makers that use the Google formats should no longer pay royalties to Dolby.

According to Google, this should ensure a ‘healthier, broader ecosystem’, but it is also about the money. Google wants to use the new formats to create better playback options for 3D sound and HDR videos, such as Dolby Atmos and Vision, but without Dolby. With a neutral codec, hardware makers and Google itself could build devices with richer audio and video experiences without paying any rights. That is also important, for example, for YouTube, which offers support for HDR10 +, but not for more advanced versions such as Dolby Vision. The famous movie site also doesn’t support 3D audio. As more streaming services support the new Google standard, Android devices can support better sound.

Dolby is a prevalent standard, and the company has partnerships with many hardware makers for televisions, speakers, and more. One of these, for example, is Apple, Google’s biggest competitor, collaborating with Dolby on the Spatial Audio standard. You also notice that iPhones, which, for example, can handle Dolby Atmos sound formats, but that is not the case with most Android devices.

To compete with that, Google would make its formats royalty-free or at least cheaper than Dolby. For example, according to FlatpanelsHD, it costs hardware makers up to three dollars per television to build Dolby Vision support. So it already looks like the tech giant wants to see if hardware makers are willing to change for a likely cheaper version.

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