Image: Netflix

Netflix is expanding its rollout of the AV1 codec to more platforms. Users can now enjoy the benefits of AV1 when streaming on select TVs or a PS4 Pro. Netflix had begun streaming in AV1 on Android via its mobile app in February 2020.

In February 2020, Netflix started streaming AV1 to the Android mobile app. The Android launch leveraged the open-source software decoder dav1d built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities and sponsored by AOMedia. We were very pleased to see that AV1 streaming improved members’ viewing experience, particularly under challenging network conditions.

AV1 is a royalty-free codec from the Alliance of Open Media (AOMedia). Netflix is a founding member. AOMedia was founded in 2018. Other members include a veritable who’s who of tech and streaming companies.

Image: AOMedia

AV1 has up to 30 percent better compression than HEVC/VP9, reducing required bandwidth and buffering times. Playback interruptions are also minimized when network conditions change. Netflix has reported reduced noticeable quality drops by up to 38 percent on select TVs when using AV1. All current AV1 content is in 10-bit and supports HFR (high frame rate). HDR has not been added yet but it is planned. Those with compatible devices can stream racing documentary Formula 1: Drive to Survive in HFR. The streaming service is evaluating its massive amount of content to decide which titles will receive the AV1 treatment.

Our initial launch includes a number of AV1 capable TVs as well as TVs connected with PS4 Pro. We are working with external partners to enable more and more devices for AV1 streaming. Another exciting direction we are exploring is AV1 with HDR. Again, the teams at Netflix are committed to delivering the best picture quality possible to our members. Stay tuned!

The Verge reached out to Netflix for a current list of supported TVs. The new codec is heavy on CPU/GPU processing. The SoCs in most televisions do not support the codec but Netflix is working with manufacturers for greater adoption. 2020 saw the greatest amount of growth. Hardware GPU acceleration has already been taking place. The PS4 Pro is one of the first consoles to be on the list of compatible devices.

• Select Samsung 2020 UHD Smart TVs
• Select Samsung 2020 UHD QLED Smart TVs
• Select Samsung 2020 8K QLED Smart TVs
• Samsung The Frame 2020 Smart TVs
• Samsung The Serif 2020 Smart TVs
• Samsung The Terrace 2020 Smart TVs
• Any TV connected to a PS4 Pro streaming with the Netflix app
• Select Amazon Fire TV devices with Fire OS 7 and above
• Select Android TV devices with Android OS 10 and above

Sources: Netflix (via The Verge), AOMedia

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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