First released in 2018 by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), AV1 is royalty-free, crafted to replace the current VP9 codec and become the IETF Internet Video Codec (NETVC) standard.
With its improved data compression over existing standards, using AV1 means less data needs to be streamed for the same quality of video, or alternatively, it can unlock the capacity to add greater detail into the audio or visuals – with more bit-rate, more channels, or higher resolutions such as enabling 8KTV in native resolution streams.
Video streaming is the number one activity on smartphones, it’s a driver of 5G services, and a principle use of smart TVs at home, so bringing AV1 video decoding capability to these platforms is clearly a must.
As a company with a long history in multimedia-related technologies (‘media’ is in our name), MediaTek is already embedding an in-house designed, hardware AV1 decoder into its devices starting with the Dimensity 1000 series 5G smartphone chip and the S900 8KTV chip. These are flagship-class platforms currently, and the technology will filter down to other tiers of products in due course. While many devices can benefit from AV1 today through software decoding via video playback apps or OS-level support, hardware decoding should always be preferred because it uses considerably less power – critical to battery-life in smartphones – and is inherently more reliable as software-based alternatives have to compete with other apps for CPU time.
MediaTek is working with some of the world’s most popular streaming services such as YouTube, while Netflix is also committed to bring AV1 to into Android platforms such as TVs and smartphones, with the potential of vehicles and other applications in future.