Netflix: streams with AV1 codec also arrive on TVs

The quality of the video content goes from codec used and certainly AV1, created in 2018 by Alliance for Open Media, one of the most interesting currently in use. AOMedia is a non-profit consortium that brings together most of the technology giants, in fact in its ranks we find names of the caliber of: Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Adobe, Mozilla, Vimeo, Nvidia, Cisco , ARM, AMD and Netflix.

There was a lot of talk about AV1 in May 2020, when YouTube had brought the streams to the video sharing platform 8K, just using this codec. Earlier, in February, Netflix had chosen this codec for streaming on Android mobile devices. The codec of course requires adequate hardware to be implemented and landed first on mobile platforms, at a faster development rate, while it took longer to find widespread compatibility in slower hardware development products, such as televisions.

AV1 also on TVs for Netflix

Starting from 2020, however, the hardware compatibility of TVs with the AV1 codec has expanded significantly and now Netflix has decided to use the AV1 codec also for streaming on TV. The codec guarantees good efficiency and allows, at the same bitrate, a higher final image quality. Netflix has chosen to implement the codec at the highest quality, opting for encoding a 10 bit, while AV1 Main Profile provide both 8-bit and 10-bit versions. In addition, for streaming Netflix has chosen the approach of dynamic optimization, with higher quality on the most complex frames and saving data, instead, on the simpler frames, to save bits and bandwidth.

Currently the codec used for the content 4K, also HFR, while as regards theHDR in AV1 the Netflix team still hard at work. Before the launch, Netflix engineers carried out a lot of behind-the-scenes tests. The use of more efficient compression and dynamic optimization has two benefits: on the one hand it is possible to have a better quality with the same bitrate, on the other hand, even in difficult conditions, it is possible to have good quality streams without interruptions and without evident degradation of the ‘image. From the data collected by Netflix, the use of the AV1 codec has reduced by 38% the drops in quality that can be seen with the naked eye in video streams. Furthermore, in some TVs a lower buffer delay was found, even if in this case the figure was only 2%.

The use of the AV1 codec is currently limited to a number of compatible home TVs Samsung, but among the compatible devices we also find PS4 Pro e Amazon Fire TV with Fire OS 7 or higher. Furthermore, compatibility with AV1 should be guaranteed with televisions with an operating system Android TV 10 and above.

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