YouTube, Netflix reportedly requiring AV1 decode support for future content
Earlier this month, we reported that Google will require new Android TV devices launching later this year to ship with hardware that supports AV1 decode. While YouTube for Android TV and Netflix for Android already stream certain content encoded in AV1 depending on the device and network settings, it appears that both platforms are poised to require AV1 decode support for future content.
In a press release announcing its new VideoSmart VS640 edge computing SoC, Synaptics announced that “the platform offers the next generation AV1 video decode format — a requirement for future YouTube and Netflix content…” This is interesting because while we’re heard through the grapevine that Google is requiring device makers ship hardware with AV1 decoding support in order to pass certification to stream certain high-resolution YouTube content, we’ve never had direct confirmation of this requirement. If this statement from Synaptics is accurate — and we have no reason to believe it isn’t — then it’s not just future Android TV devices that will ship with AV1 decode support.
We don’t know exactly what kind of future YouTube and Netflix content will be delivered only in AV1 — we’re guessing it’s all 4K60 HDR and 8K videos — but we now know that it will be a requirement of at least some future content. And there’s no chance that TV makers will want to miss out on supporting whatever it is that YouTube and Netflix have to offer, so there’s a good chance that AV1 support will become the norm going forward. LG and Samsung — neither of which use Android TV in their products — have already started to implement hardware-accelerated AV1 support in some of their TVs, for example. In 2021, expect to see more and more TVs launch with hardware capable of AV1 decode, though it likely won’t be a prominent part of their marketing.