Netflix has started coming with AV1 encoded content on the Android platform. Users can watch select titles encoded in AV1 by enabling the ‘Save Data’ feature in the app.
Right now, Netflix streams its content in a wide variety of codecs, that also has H.264(AVC), HEVC and VP9. In Android, currently, the default codec is VP9 because the software and the hardware mainly support it. But, from today, users will be able to choose AV1, and also the content helps it.
AV1 is a royalty-free open codec, and it is designed mainly for encoding content for the internet. It gets approval by multiple high profile companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Intel, Mozilla, Facebook, Cisco, Netflix, Samsung, Vimeo, MediaTek, and more. It is treated to be the codec that will replace all other codecs in the future, at least for the online content. And also simple things for manufacturers, content creators, and customers.
The main advantage of AV1 is that it is more efficient than other codecs in the market today. AV1 is also open and royalty-free. Compared to VP9, which is created by Google. Netflix is currently using Android. The AV1 offers 20% better compression, so it is offering similar image quality at lower data rates.
Due to limited software and hardware support, a wider rollout of AV1 is not possible. At the software side, now you need a decoder, like dav1d. Google adds support for AV1 decoding in Android, but it’s only available in Android 10. If we see the hardware side, then right now, there are no chipsets in the market that supports hardware decoding of AV1. For the upcoming models, the Dimensity 1000 by MediaTek announces the support and with no AV1 support in the forthcoming Qualcomm 865.
Currently, Netflix adds the AV1 to its app in the limited capacity. It is using dav1d in the app to decode the codec. Therefore, it does not depend on any OS or hardware support. It is also using it for an optional data-saving feature. The quality is likely to be the same as VP9 and Netflix. It has also worked to enable 10-bit support with AV1 as it does on its other codecs.
Netflix plans to make AV1 the default codec on all of its platforms. Right now, YouTube has a small number of videos in AV1. It is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, especially for mobile users.