Netflix has announced that it’s going to stream video using AV1 on Android, which will enable high-performance, royalty-free codec providing around 20 to 30 per cent improved compression efficiency than Google’s VP9.
Developed by the Alliance for Open Media, its founding members include Google, Netflix, and Amazon all large video providers. Apart from these giants, the other governing members are Apple, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, Intel Corporation, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nvidia, Samsung Electronics and Tencent.
An official statement said, “[Netflix’s] goal is to roll out AV1 on all of their platforms…Selected titles are now available to stream in AV1 for customers who wish to reduce their cellular data usage by enabling the ‘Save Data’ feature.” This feature is particularly for subscribers abroad which is a key growth market. This results in an overall “good fit for AV1’s compression efficiency.”
At launch, the “Save Data” option — More tab > App Settings > Cellular Data Usage — must be set in the Android client.
“Our AV1 support on Android leverages the open-source dav1d decoder built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities and sponsored by the Alliance for Open Media. Here we have optimized dav1d so that it can play Netflix content, which is 10-bit color. In the spirit of making AV1 widely available, we are sponsoring an open-source effort to optimize 10-bit performance further and make these gains available to all,” the streaming powerhouse added.
Eventually, Netflix’s AV1 usage will expand to more use cases as “codec performance improves over time.” The service is already working with “device and chipset partners to extend this into hardware.”