MediaTek Dimensity 1000 is the first smartphone SoC to support AV1 hardware decoding
Paying attention to a codec while listening to your favorite track or watching a movie on one of the many streaming services out there might not be your cup of tea, unless you discover how a specific codec can indirectly help you save a considerable amount of data while binge-watching Netflix. Yes, we are talking about the royalty-free AV1 codec that is now being used by Google as well in order to improve the quality of the video calls in Google Duo.
Android 10 also supports the AV1 codec since beta 1, while Google Chrome comes with a dedicated AV1 decoder since the Chrome 70 update back in October 2018. The hardware-accelerated decoding scene, however, remains quite unoccupied, as none of the current-generation Snapdragon, Exynos, Kirin SoCs are capable of decoding AV1. The situation is improving, though, as the recently announced 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.
A 7nm high-end SoC with an integrated 5G modem, the Dimensity 1000 aims to bring MediaTek back to the flagship SoC market. The AV1 decoder module of the chipset should play a vital role to minimize the CPU usage and consecutively lowering the power drain on phones like the Chinese variant of OPPO Reno3 and the upcoming OnePlus Z during media consumption, compared to other flagships. According to Mediatek, the Dimensity 1000 platform is soon going to be able to stream AV1 encoded YouTube videos.
Dr. Yenchi Lee, Assistant General Manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Business Unit, commented the following in this regard:
“Industry reports state that the video streaming market is likely to expand at a CAGR of 19.6% and touch $124.57 billion by 2025, and it is one of the principle drivers of 5G services. MediaTek is leading the way in enabling effective video streaming with AV1.”
One could always play back AV1 streams using software decoding, but the process is quite resource-intensive and could lead to higher battery drain on devices with other SoCs without a hardware decoder. MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000 not only outshines its competitors in this domain but the integrated 5G modem in a single chip also gives it an edge over the Snapdragon 865 and the Exynos 990. According to Matt Frost, Director of Product Management of Google Chrome, the inclusion of an AV1 decoder in the Dimensity 1000 should greatly influence the way to develop next-generation codecs. We are certainly interested to see how other chip-makers start incorporating a hardware AV1 decoder in their future products over the coming months.