Netflix for Android now streams some shows in AV1 to save data
The Alliance for Open Media came out with the royalty-free AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) codec all the way back in 2017 in a bid to replace H.264 as the primary codec for online streaming and media consumption. The new codec offered around 30% better compression than Google’s previous VP9 standard without hampering the picture quality. The codec made its way over to Google Chrome with the Chrome 70 update back in October 2018, when Google added an AV1 decoder to the browser with MP4 being used as the supported container (ISO-BMFF). Early last year, following the first rollout of Android 10 beta 1, we learned that Google had added support for the AV1 codec on the platform. Soon thereafter, popular video streaming platform Vimeo added support for the royalty-free AV1 codec and now Netflix seems to be following in its footsteps.
As per a recent blog post from Netflix, the company announced support for the AV1 codec on its Android app. As per the post, selected titles on the streaming service are now available in AV1 for “customers who wish to reduce the cellular data usage by enabling the ‘Save Data’ feature.” The codec will offer 20% improved compression efficiency of Netflix’s VP9 encodes, which will drastically reduce mobile data usage while streaming. Additionally, Netflix also revealed that its AV1 support on Android makes use of the open-source dav1d decoder. For the unaware, the dav1d decoder was built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities and sponsored by the Appliance for Open Media, of which Netflix is a founding member. The streaming service has optimized the decoder to play Netflix content, which is 10-bit color. In order to make AV1 widely available, Netflix is also sponsoring an open-source effort to optimize 10-bit performance even further.
As of now, the AV1 codec is limited to Netflix on Android. But as the codec performance improves over time, the company plans to expand support to more use cases. It’s worth noting that the recently launched MediaTek Dimensity 1000 is the only SoC that supports hardware-accelerated decoding on AV1, so devices with other SoCs will have to do software decoding, which is resource-intensive and could lead to higher battery drain. However, Netflix has revealed that it’s working with device and chipset partners to extend AV1 support to more hardware.
Source: The Netflix Tech Blog
Via: Android Police