A new leak suggests that Google could release its own 3D and HDR audio formats. Codenamed “Project Caviar,” Google’s new home theater formats may be free of licensing fees, giving manufacturers a free alternative to Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
The details of the “Caviar Project” were discovered by Protocol, which obtained a video of Google showing off its technology to various hardware manufacturers. In the video, which remains unreleased, project manager Roshan Baliga describes “Caviar” as a necessary step in a “broader, healthier ecosystem.”
It seems that the main goal of “Project Caviar” is the integration of YouTube. Currently, YouTube does not support Dolby Vision or Atmos. And while YouTube supports HDR plain and simple, the implementation is horrible. (In general, Google tries to avoid Dolby formats. Chromecast is a rare exception.)
To be clear, Google could just adopt Dolby’s home theater formats. But the company doesn’t seem too happy about the license fees. Dolby reportedly charges $2 or $3 for each Atmos or Vision compatible hardware device. And that’s a unit fee, by the way. (Ironically, Dolby allows streaming services to use these formats for free.)
Hardware manufacturers probably aren’t too happy about these license fees either. That said, Dolby Atmos and Vision are already well-established formats. The idea of a manufacturer giving up Dolby technology for “Project Caviar” is a bit of a stretch, and at best the formats can co-exist.
Or the whole “Caviar Project” thing may slowly fade away as HDR10+, which is also an open format.