AV1#

AV1 is a royalty-free video codec created by the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) - a consortium for developing and promoting media codecs and technologies. Video-on-demand applications are on the rise and new codecs like AV1 are targeting lower bandwidth usage. We evaluated AV1 in the video transcoding technology landscape for 2021 blog post.

It is a successor to the VP9 video codec and has a friend - the AVIF image compression format. AVIF shares the data compression algorithms with AV1. After all, a video is stream of images.

For companies like Netflix, AV1 can reduce bandwidth requirements by 30-50%. These savings are also quite lucrative for mobile and data network providers. It lets them stream high quality video content while using lower bandwidth.

Encoding#

Recent tests comparing the data usage of AV1 versus x264 show a reduction of almost 50%. Maintaining the same video quality while using half the data rate is quite impressive.

Various implementations of AV1 are still working towards reducing the encoding time. However, compared with x264, the AV1 encoders are between 15 to 30x slower.

The Scalable Video Technology for AV1 (SVT-AV1 Encoder and Decoder) is an implementation backed by AOM.

Decoding#

On the flip side, dav1d is one of the fastest AV1 decoders. Compared to x264, AV1 is still slower to decode but the AV1 decoder implementations are catching up, especially as they optimize for ARM CPUs.

Reading#