AV1 Codec Explained: The Path Forward for Online Video
February 16, 2023
The AV1 video codec is a new standard for encoding digital video. It was designed by Google and other industry leaders, with the goal of replacing HEVC/H.265 as the dominant codec in most applications.
In this article, we’re going to explain why AV1 is so important and how it’s going to change everything we know about video encoding.
Considerer a new generation of codec
The AV1 video codec is an open source royalty-free codec created by the Alliance for Open Media - a consortium of tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft.
The goal of the alliance is to develop open-source video codec standards for all kinds of media types (including live video) so that everyone can benefit from improved compression rates without having to pay royalties or license fees.
Developed to enable a future of high dynamic range (HDR) content - put it simply, it’s the range of light and dark tones in the footage - in both streaming and downloaded formats, the AV1 codec offers the following features:
- high-quality video at low bitrates;
- fast encoding and decoding using the latest hardware acceleration techniques;
- a 30% lower bandwidth consumption than other formats like HEVC (H.265).
Royalty-free and fast encoding: AV1 advantages
Well, there are a few reasons why you need to switch to AV1 soon.
First, AV1 is a new format that combines the best parts of existing video codecs.
It supports 10-bit color depth and high dynamic range (HDR) while also being able to stream at low data rates.
Second, the industry is moving towards AV1 because it’s royalty-free—meaning that no one has to pay anyone for using it.
This makes it easier for everyone in the video world—from content creators to streaming services—to use AV1 and make more money from their products or services.
AV1 can help with internet congestion issues by reducing overall network usage as compared to other codecs like HEVC or VP9.
This means less strain on ISPs’ networks which means fewer problems for us all! You’ll probably notice this if you try watching videos online on your phone—they’ll load faster than before thanks even if they’re not in AV1 yet.
Av1 also aimed at significantly reducing usage costs for streaming services and other content providers.
In an era when virtually every major tech company is racing to deliver the best quality video at the lowest price possible, this new format has the potential to be a game changer.
AV1 boasts greater flexibility in frame rates and resolution than HEVC, which means it can provide better support for emerging technologies like 8K and VR.
The codec’s security protocols are designed to provide end-to-end encryption, authentication, and integrity verification for all data transmissions.
This ensures that only authorized users can access the data and that it remains safe from any potential threats. AV1 security protocols also provide additional features such as content filtering and malicious activity monitoring to further enhance the protection of networks and systems.
All major tech giants are backing AV1
Major tech giants are already supporting AV1, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, Netflix.
Google has already implemented AV1 into its Chrome browser and YouTube app, saving a year’s worth of traffic in a day.
Microsoft is also backing the codec, with its Edge browser supporting it — including in Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One consoles.
Meanwhile, Apple has added a new option for AV1 video in its AVFoundation framework, suggesting that the company is almost ready to roll out AV1 support across tvOS, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
And Amazon supports AV1 on Fire TV devices as well as Amazon Prime Video apps for iPhone and Android phones.
Even SOC (system-on-chip) also supports AV1. For example, MediaTek Dimensity 1000 claims to be the first smartphone SoC to feature a built-in AV1 hardware video decoder, capable of handling AV1 video streams up to 4K resolution at 60fps.
The AV1 decoder module of the chipset plays a vital role to minimize the CPU usage and consecutively lower the power drain on phones.
NVIDIA - loyal AV1 supporter
Our technology partner NVIDIA - a company that designs graphics processing units (GPUs) for the gaming, cryptocurrency mining, and data center markets - has already included AV1 in its GeForce RTX family of cards.
Moreover, they were the first to announce improved AV1 encoding and decoding on their latest graphics architecture.
The company’s GeForce RTX™ 4090 graphics cards - used for streaming - have support for the AV1 codec, which allows you to encode and decode video in real time.
This means that you can stream your gameplay in real time with minimal delay, which is critical for competitive gamers who want to show their skills as they play.
Open-source software projects are beginning to follow suit, too
One of the most popular recording and streaming software OBS has also been updated to support the latest encoding capabilities of modern GPUs: while OBS Version 28 had support for hardware AV1 encoding utilizing the new NVIDIA 40 series graphics cards, version 29 brings that to both AMD and Intel users as well.
How to switch to AV1 fast and save
With its promising features and wide range of applications, AV1 is expected to become the go-to solution for streaming services in the near future
Why should you switch to AV1? Because it will make all of your videos look better than ever before. And because it will make your videos more accessible for people with disabilities (like those who are colorblind). And it will also help save money on bandwidth costs for streaming services that use AV1 as their default format for playback—which means better deals for everyone.
Flussonic supports AV1
Flussonic Media Server has been updated with new features that are aimed at helping businesses with their AV1 transition.
Although AV1 could become a new standard very soon, the transition to AV1 is too expensive for now, as it requires more powerful hardware, and not all equipment supports this codec.
However, Flussonic Media Server solves this problem and enables a faster, smoother, and more cost-effective transition to AV1, while protecting your investment in legacy hardware and existing video streaming infrastructure.
Taking into account the incredible rise of interest and need into AV1, we’re confident that developers should get on board as soon as possible!