EU's antitrust regulators are probing the Alliance for Open Media's licensing policy for the AV1 video format, according to a report by Reuters.
The Alliance for Open Media (AOM) was founded in 2016 and includes members such as Amazon, Apple, LG, Google, Meta, Netflix, Microsoft and Samsung. Together they are developing and promoting the royalty-free AV1 video format as an alternative to HEVC (H.265) and VVC (H.266).
EU's watchdog confirmed to Reuters that it is investigating alleged anti-competitive behavior related to the licensing terms by AOM for AV1.
"The Commission has information that AOM and its members may be imposing licensing terms (mandatory royalty-free cross licensing) on innovators that were not a part of AOM at the time of the creation of the AV1 technical, but whose patents are deemed essential to (its) technical specifications," a questionnaire sent to some companies said.
The letter further said that the licensing terms may restrict other companies' ability to compete with the AV1 video format.
Netflix brought AV1 to mobile in 2020 and to TVs in 2021
AV1 licensing terms
The antitrust investigation may be a result of Google, Netflix and YouTube setting new terms in April 2021, requiring partners to support AV1 in newly launched products including Android TVs, Google TVs and Smart TVs.
In April 2021, Roku accused Google of anti-competitive behavior by forcing it to adopt AV1.
AV1 is currently supported in hardware in newer TVs from LG, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sony and TCL. Netflix and YouTube have both started the transition the AV1 streaming.
- Source: Reuters