Amidst news that Google has adopted a new logo (and everything that comes along with that), Sundar Pichai let slip that Google is joining the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and others to form the Alliance for Open Media (AOM). The organization's goal is to collaborate on open and royalty-free digital formats for "next-generation ultra high definition media." In other words, it will develop new image, audio, and video codecs and container formats that are totally free for non-commercial and commercial use.
The Alliance’s initial focus is to deliver a next-generation video format that is:
- Interoperable and open;
- Optimized for the web;
- Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
- Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
- Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
- Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.
More codecs are always better, especially if you're talking about a device that's (arguably) primarily for watching video. Android TV will get MPEG-2 support when the Android M build comes out - in fact you can check it out right now if you have a Nexus Player - but apparently NVIDIA doesn't want to wait. According to this forum post, an update to the new SHIELD Android TV will enable MPEG-2 codec support within a month.
Why MPEG-2 in particular? Apparently NVIDIA wants to add support for the popular HDHomeRun series of network-connected digital TV turners, which outputs directly in MPEG-2. Read More
Since the recent update to MX Player, many users are running into a new problem: there's no sound in certain videos. It turns out the latest release of the popular video player removed support for two audio codecs: AC3 and MLP. Unfortunately, it seems this is a result of licensing issues, meaning MX Player will no longer ship with built-in support to play these audio formats. However, there is a simple workaround that will get things working again with relatively little hassle.
Restoring functionality is pretty simple, it only involves downloading a custom-built codec and pointing MX Player to the right file. Read More
While it doesn't affect those of you who have no idea what FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is, today's Android 3.1 announcement (see the SDK release here) will make a lot of people who gave up MP3s for FLAC files happy. Forget happy - think ecstatic. Unlike MP3s, FLAC is a lossless codec, meaning it does not degrade in quality after compression, making it the perfect solution for audiophiles who really care about the quality of their sound.
After staring at the issue (#1461) (and I'm sure working hard on implementing support for it) for over 2 years, the Android team finally added native FLAC decoding to Android starting with Android 3.1, the latest iteration of Honeycomb. Read More