AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format designed for video transmissions over the Internet. It was developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), a consortium of firms from the semiconductor industry, video on demand providers, and web browser developers, founded in 2015. The AV1 bitstream specification includes a reference video codec. Comparing to VP9 or HEVC/H.265 (Moving Picture Expert), AV1 can perform 20% higher data compression. For large scale usage, AV1 is about 50% higher than AVC. AV1 is intended for use with the Opus audio format in HTML5 web video and WebRTC.

It been 4 years of development , and today we will sump up the current state of AV1: Is it already to be use on web streaming? Is it fast enough for real time encoding?

Encoders

There’re plenty of AV1 encoders available , all of them are open source . Here’s some popular one:

  1. AOM: a reference encoder developed by Google, available on linux and windows via ffmpeg library called libaom.
  2. RAV1E: developed by Xiph, only available on windows.
  3. SVT-AV1: (Scalable Video Technology for AV1 Encoder) developed by Intel that targeting performance levels applicable to both VOD and Live encoding / transcoding video applications.

From various benchmarking , RAV1E is leading in quality compare to the other two. SVT-AV1 is the only encoder that can deliver real time encoding when using the 8th level encoding pre-set. SVT-AV1 should be capable of achieving up to 1080p @ 60 FPS when using a Xeon Platinum 8180 processor. For hardware acceleration encoder, 2020 is the target year.

Decoders

At this moment, only software decoder available . There’re 2 popular one:

1.AOMDEC: a reference decoder developed by Google, available on linux and windows via ffmpeg library called libaom.

2.DAV1D: developed by VLC team, implement in VLC video player.

DAV1D is leading in performance right now, especially on mobile thanks to the heavily NEON assembly optimized on ARM platform.

You can check the full performance comparison on this article : https://medium.com/@ewoutterhoeven/dav1d-0-2-0-covering-all-pcs-including-mobile-eac3e43868c2

Playback Capability

  1. Browser: Firefox, Chrome and Opera already support AV1 on their desktop version . Mobile browser won’t see AV1 playback until there’s hardware acceleration decoder available.
  2. Streaming service: Youtube is the only one that using AV1 on some of their videos. They already provide up to 4K 60fps content like this one https://youtu.be/LXb3EKWsInQ  . You have to enable AV1 playback on their testtube page https://www.youtube.com/testtube

3.   Offline playback: VLC is currently leading on this category. Their player support AV1 playback on Windows, Android and MacOs using DAV1D as default decoder.

Conclusion

We can see the development of AV1 is going fast and already can be use on consumer-level , across most devices . There’re only Safari and Apple devices left that can not playback AV1, and this will hold back the development of AV1 because Apple devices are widely use. Hopefully when hardware acceleration decoder is developed , we can see AV1 playback on Apple devices.

Credit to: HaiSK (haisk@uiza.io)