Netflix has been in the streaming game longer than almost anyone else. Because of their continual optimisation, their data compression technology has been among the best. Netflix is rolling out support for a new video codec, AV1, in its Android app. According to the company, it compresses video 20 percent more efficiently than the current VP9 codec.
For the time being, it is only available on some “select titles,” but Netflix is planning to roll out AV1 to all content and all platforms before too long. The new data-saving option can be enabled by selecting the “Save Data” within the app, which will then switch between codecs for the perspective content.
We can expect this codec to be used by most players in streaming, as it is significantly different to other codecs used in the past. Not only does it cut down on data usage significantly, it is used by other tech players all around the world as it is royalty free.
The group that released the standard is called the Alliance for Open Media and was founded by a group of companies including Google, Intel, Amazon and Netflix. They were joined by Apple several years later. Apple users will also soon see the benefits of the new standard, perhaps even to a bigger extent than Netflix users. Apple aren’t even using the predominant VC9 standard at the moment, which is why you can’t currently watch YouTube videos in 4K quality on devices like the iPad Pro and AppleTV.
According to the group, the codec is still in early days and not completely ready for mainstream usage. Rumoured issues with it as it stands is a problem with battery life consumption and a drop in picture quality. Whatever the case may be, we can expect the AV1 codec to drop soon and become the most widely used video compression codec around the world.