AV1 codec optimised for OTT 4K

According to the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), an organisation formed to define and develop media technologies to address marketplace demand for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web, the technical-based hurdles and data demands of higher quality video mean that the majority of users only have access to full HD or lower video technology.

For nearly three years, the Alliance, has been working in lock-step with its members, the world’s best-known leaders in video, to develop a better-quality Internet video technology that benefits all consumers.

Accordingly, the Alliance has confirmed the public release of the AOMedia Video Codec 1.0 (AV1) specification, which delivers cross-platform, 4K UHD or higher online video, royalty-free – all while lowering data usage.

To remove many of the hurdles required by older, optical disc-era, video technologies, AOMedia developed AV1 specifically for the Internet video-era, paving the way for companies to make more of the royalty-free, 4K UHD and higher video devices, products, and services that consumers love.

“Nearly three years after launching AOMedia, the AV1 codec addresses real bottlenecks for unleashing the highest-quality video for the entire ecosystem, allowing for better viewing experiences across all screens and data networks,” said AOMedia Executive Director Gabe Frost. “By listening to the industry’s feedback in an open and collaborative manner and bringing together leading experts to develop AV1, an entire ecosystem can begin creating video products and experiences that customers love.”

By delivering 4K UHD video at an average of 30 per cent greater compression over competing codecs according to independent member tests, the Alliance claims that AV1 enables more screens to display the vivid images, deeper colours, brighter highlights, darker shadows, and other enhanced UHD imaging features that consumers have come to expect – all while using less data.

“We expect that the installed base of 4K television sets to reach 300 million by the end of 2019 and therefore there is already latent demand for UHD services over today’s infrastructure. AV1 will be widely supported across the entire content chain, especially including services. We forecast rapid introduction of AV1 content delivery to help the widespread proliferation of UHD streaming,” said Paul Gray, Research Director at global business information provider IHS Markit.

AOMedia describes the availability of AV1 as an open-source codec as “a significant milestone” in fulfilling the organisation’s promise to deliver a next-generation video format that is interoperable, open, optimised for internet delivery and scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth. Designed at the outset for hardware optimisation, the AV1 specification, reference code, and bindings are available for tool makers and developers to download here to begin designing AVI into products.

Specifically, the release of AV1 includes:

  • Bitstream specification to enable the next-generation of silicon
  • Unoptimised, experimental software decoder and encoder to create and consume the bitstream
  • Reference streams for product validation
  • Binding specifications to allow content creation and streaming tools for user-generated and commercial video

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