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What’s an AV1 Format and How Does It Impact Your Life?

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Nov 08, 22, updated Mar 27, 24

Have you heard about the AV1 format video? This format is a new compression standard that promises to improve video quality while reducing file size. If you frequently stream video, the AV1 files could make an impact on your life, and we are just beginning to see its potential. Let's take a further look at what AV1 is and what you need to know about this new video codec.

av1 logo
In this article
  1. Part 1: Where does it come from?
  2. Part 2: What are the Trends of Codec War AV1?
  3. Part 3: What Should You Expect in the Future?
  4. FAQs: To cater to people also ask

Part 1: Where does it come from?

AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) is a new video compression format that is being developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). AOMedia is a consortium of major tech companies including Google, Microsoft, Netflix, and Amazon. The AV1 codec is an improvement on VP9 in several ways, most notably in its ability to compress video more efficiently.

Although the AV1 codec is still in the early stages of development, it is already being adopted by some major tech companies. Netflix has announced that it will start using AV1 for its streaming service, and Google has said that AV1 will be the default codec for YouTube.

How can streaming platforms and users benefit from a new codec?

watching netflix on tv

The importance of codecs

A codec is a device that encodes and decodes digital audio signals. Without a codec, your audio would sound garbled and distorted. There are two metrics to take into account to judge the performance of video codecs: quality and bitrate.

The benefits of the new codec

Two of the most popular video formats, provide high-quality video at a relatively low bit rate.

The new AV1 codec offers several benefits for streaming platforms and their users. Take a look at a few of them:

  1. Lower bitrate
  1. Reduced costs for encoding

For streaming platforms, AV1 could lead to reducing costs for encoding as well as increasing quality and compatibility. For users, AV1 could improve streaming quality, especially on mobile devices.

  1. Smaller size with better quality

AV1 files will take up less space on your hard drive or be smaller in file size when streamed online. Since AV1 can compress video files to a much smaller size without sacrificing quality, users will be able to save data when streaming video on their devices!

  1. More efficient

AV1 will use less processing power to decode a video compared to other video codecs. As a result, the streaming platforms can save on bandwidth costs, which can be passed on to users in the form of lower subscription prices eventually.

  1. Royalty-free

The ultimate goal of AOMedia is to develop an open and royalty-free video codec that can be used by anyone. So, you will have better video quality, lower bandwidth costs, and faster loading times.

AV1 is just one of the many new technologies that are revolutionizing online media delivery. With its superior quality and efficiency, AV1 is poised to become the standard codec for online video in the years to come where everyone can access more affordable and high-quality videos.

Part 2: What are the Trends of Codec War AV1?

As we have already discussed, AV1 is a newer codec that promises better compression. This video format has already been widely used and gaining traction in the streaming industry. It is being used more for live broadcasts and other time-sensitive applications.

Who will prevail?

video editing program on a computer

Since both codecs have their pros and cons, it's unclear which one will ultimately prevail. However, as the world moves towards more open standards for video codecs, there is growing concern that AV1 codec will be used to monopolize the market. While AV1 is free to use, it is encumbered by patents held by members of the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), which includes companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

How would AV1 monopolize the market?

a pile of us dollars

The EU Commissions' questionnaire, as reported by Reuters, unveiled that the alliance and its members had been requiring companies to cross-license their patents for no charge to receive the AV1 format. These companies had no affiliation with AOM when AV1 was originally devised. This was a non-negotiable requisite for companies who owned patents that were necessary to contribute to the AV1 standard's technical specifications.

As a result, this action is concerned to hinder innovation and thus prevents the new entities feasible to flourish. Therefore, there is a growing movement to antitrust AV1 which has been investigated by the European Commission.

What happened after the AV1 Antitrust Investigation

google logo

The European Commission is looking into whether this licensing scheme violates antitrust law and whether the companies involved are colluding to keep AV1 closed off to competitors. The investigation is in its early stages, and no formal charges have been filed against Google at this time.

However, if the Commission finds that Google has indeed abused its market position, it could order Google to make changes to AV1 or face steep fines. Although the fines have yet to be determined, each company involved could ultimately pay up to 10% of their global turnover.

Nonetheless, this issue has shed light on the competitive landscape of the codec market. Well, although the outcome of the antitrust investigation is still uncertain, it is clear that it has the potential to shake up the codec market.

Part 3: What Should You Expect in the Future?

H.266 codec

h.266 vvc logo

H.266 is the next-generation video codec that is being developed to improve upon the current standard and the latest advances in video technology. We can expect H.266 to continue to evolve and be improved upon as time goes on. Some of their transcendence that you can look forward to:

  • Improve compression efficiency

H.266/VVC is designed to improve compression efficiency by 20-50% over previous versions. You can have a video of the same file size and bit rate but make it look significantly better.

  • Inter-Layer Prediction (ILP) usage

The H.266 codec uses a new type of inter-frame prediction called Inter-Layer Prediction (ILP). ILP allows the codec to exploit the correlations between different layers of a video signal. Therefore, it gives better results on image quality and file size when you encode a video with the H.266 codec.

  • Higher-quality video

We can expect higher-quality video content to become more widespread. This new codec will also enable new types of content, such as virtual reality and 360-degree video, to be streamed and enjoyed by a wider audience.

AV2 codec

The AV2 codec is an improvement on the current AV1. The AV2 codec is said to be more efficient and have better quality than the AV1 codec. It is still in development and is not yet available for use.

Since this codec is expected to provide better quality video at lower bit rates than other codecs, it would be ideal for use in video applications such as streaming and video conferencing. So, what can we expect from the AV2 codec in the future? Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Improved quality at lower bitrates
  • Wider adoption in streaming and conferencing applications
  • Continued development and improvement

FAQs: To cater to people also ask

1. How do I open an AV1 file?

AV1 is a relatively new file format. If you have an AV1 file that you need to open, you can use one of the following methods:

  • Use a media player that supports AV1, such as VLC Media Player or MPV
  • Use conversion software to convert the AV1 file into a more widely-supported file format

2. Can MP4 contain AV1?

Yes. While AV1 is a relatively new codec, it is already supported by many popular media players and devices. MP4 is a container format, which means it can hold multiple types of data. The data can be encoded using any codec, including AV1. Therefore, you can encode your content in AV1 and store it in an MP4 container for playback on the devices.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Mar 27, 24
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