Saturday, February 15, 2020

The new AV1 video codec and How to Play it on Android, Linux & Windows

The AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) is an open, royalty-free, next-generation video coding format from the Alliance of Open Media Video. It is designed to replace Google’s VP9 and compete with H.265/HEVC. AV1 is targeting an expected improvement of about 30% over VP9/HEVC with only reasonable increases in encoding and playback complexity. This new format is still present in a very small percentage of content on the network, but companies like Netflix are already distributing some of their titles on AV1 in their Android app for basic SD qualities. In the future YouTube will jump to this format with what will become the most used globally directly.


The AV1 codec is managed for the Alliance For Open Media organization that groups all kinds of signatures of the highest level in the development of this compression system. A codec that has been developed thinking of being totally free and flexible, an alliance where hardware, apps, services and software developers such as Google, Intel, AMD, Apple, Microsoft, Amlogic, Realtek, NVidia, Samsung, ARM, Cisco, Sigma, Broadcom and distributors as important as YouTube, Amazon or Netflix.
The AV1 codec is already fully defined but there are still several aspects to be specified and the year 2020 is key to the launch of this format where all its facets will be defined. The key points of this codec are as follows.

  • 30% compression improvement in 4K or higher resolutions.
  • Optimized for streaming distribution, video conferencing and browsers.
  • Low hardware demanding and scalable specifications for any bandwidth.
  • Open and without usage fees.


Android Playback:
For the Android system for now we do not have acceleration in decoding at the hardware level, to reproduce these formats there are not many options today. When the SoC manufacturers make the leap we will undoubtedly have alternatives, they will offer us in the native support players.

  • Android 10 is required at least to be able to playback the AV1 format.
  • Players: VLC and KODI in future versions will support it, versions with ffmpeg support are already being compiled.
  • Browsers: Chrome and Mozilla already announced support.
  • Apps: Netflix already use in its Android AV1 app in SD quality. Youtube has videos available on AV1.
Netflix App on Android

Linux & Windows playback:
From Windows or Linux it is possible to play content in AV1 but the performance without even having hardware acceleration for decoding is quite limited. As we can see our APU AMD Ryzen 5 3400G the CPU reproducing reaches peaks of 64% use when playing samples in 4K, we reach 34% use in 1080p content, today it is inefficient.

The most popular players for these systems are adapting to the new codec quite quickly.

  • VLC in its latest version by activating> Settings> All> Input Codecs> Prefered codec list> write “aom”
  • MPC-HC we need version 1.8.3 or higher, in addition to installing the latest LAV.
  • KODI filters in its version 18.5 are not yet supported but is being compiled to support the latest ffmpeg with AV1 support.
  • Install AV1 codec for Windows Player: Download.


1 comment:

  1. VLC in its latest version by activating> Settings> All> Input Codecs> Prefered codec list> write “aom”

    somethin is wrong no that option