In a significant development today, Netflix confirmed that it has begun AV1 streaming for users of its Android mobile application. AV1, a royalty-free video codec, delivers superior performance by offering a 20% improvement in compression efficiency compared to its predecessor, VP9.
The deployment of AV1 marks a new milestone in Netflix’s ongoing commitment to ensuring optimal streaming quality and efficiency. This technology builds upon the foundations laid by VP9, which was incorporated into Netflix’s mobile encoding in 2016 and further refined with shot-based encoding in 2018.
Netflix’s adoption of AV1 has been facilitated by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). Netflix, as a founding member of AOMedia, contributes to its collective industry expertise and intellectual property. AOMedia focuses on the development and promotion of open, royalty-free technology for multimedia delivery.
Initially, Netflix aims to introduce AV1 streaming to all its platforms. However, the prime beneficiaries of AV1’s compression efficiency are expected to be mobile users. This is particularly relevant in environments with unstable cellular networks and for users with restricted data plans. Consequently, select titles are now available for AV1 streaming to customers who enable the “Save Data” feature, seeking to minimize their cellular data usage.
The integration of AV1 into the Android app utilizes the open-source dav1d decoder, a joint contribution of the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities. The implementation of dav1d has been optimized to facilitate the playback of Netflix content in 10-bit color. In line with Netflix’s commitment to make AV1 more widely accessible, the company is sponsoring an open-source project aimed at further enhancing 10-bit performance.
Looking ahead, Netflix plans to extend the use of AV1 as codec performance improves over time. The company is actively collaborating with device and chipset partners to incorporate this technology into hardware, marking another step in their continuous pursuit of superior streaming experiences for users worldwide.