UPDATE: 9/14 5 PM ET: Adding information regarding Netflix videos transcoded using AV1.

YouTube has uploaded about a dozen videos that were transcoded using the AV1 codec, whcih was introduced earlier this year. The test sequences are expected to give Google as well as developers of browsers, decoders, and encoders an understanding how to better use the new royalty-free codec. Netflix is also testing AV1 codec and offers everyone a video in different resolutions and featuring various color depth.

To date, YouTube has added 14 videos transcoded using the AV1 codec to a special playlist. The list includes various types of content, including a talking-head program, musical clips, action videos, and demo footages from RED and Blackmagic Design. YouTube says that this type of content represents a large share of videos hosted by the service, so it makes a lot of sense for the company to learn how they behave on various devices in terms of performance, power consumption, and overall stability.

At present, AV1 support is available only in those Chrome 70 and Firefox Nightly builds released after September 12th. Meanwhile, the test videos use AV1 for resolutions that are lower than 480p, underscoring the fact that they are meant to test decoders that, for the moment, are going to be anything but optimized. This is on top of the fact that at the moment there are no hardware decoders that support AV1, so everything is being handled in software by the CPU to begin with. Eventually the codec will be used for content in 4K+ ultra-high-def resolutions, along with HDR and wide color gamuts.

Netflix's approach to the AV1 codec is a bit different. The company is offering just one video, but in from 432p all the way to 1080p and featuring 8 or 10 color depth.

Finally, YouTube is promising to expand the collection of AV1-transcoded videos over time.

Related Reading:

Source: YouTube (via SH SOTN)

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • edzieba - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    At least they didn't go for XV1D.
  • wr3zzz - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Same here. AV1 is basically indistinguishable from AVI to anyone needing reading glasses and were actually there when AVI ruled the world. Either av1 or AV.1 would be OK.
  • Myrandex - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    lol same
  • eastcoast_pete - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    +1 on that. Exactly the same for me, back to the future? Was AVO or AVOne not available? Alternatively, use a hyphen (AV-1), it's not as sexy as letters only, but much clearer.
  • AdditionalPylons - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    I read it as AVI as well.
  • kludj - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Great these are moving forward. I record in h265, then edit and publish in h264 because Youtube didn't (and still doesn't, fully) support a modern standard. 264 is pretty outdated and it's a real pain having to deal with hundreds of GB extra space taken when locally archiving published (h264) copies. 100% cool w/ bouncing from recording/editing 265 to AV1. I'd guess Google's reasoning in not being more aggressive is they'll likely still need to convert to and keep video in 264 for older devices? Though savings in bandwidth should still be enormous.
  • iwod - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    x264 is still much better than any H.265 encoder at high bitrate.
  • Alexvrb - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Not at high resolutions, and that doesn't even factor in bit depth. Either way for streaming, efficiency is important and H.264 has fallen way behind.

    Back on topic, I'm not convinced AV1 is a real improvement over H.265. The main benefit is content providers (like Google or Netflix) will save money due to the lack of royalties. In the longer term (3-4 years out) they'll have to either keep H.264 as a fall-back or discontinue support for older streaming devices that don't have support for AV1. Basically there's not going to be any tangible benefits for consumers (your Netflix / Hulu subs aren't going to get cheaper), but the big media companies will be happy.
  • iwod - Saturday, September 15, 2018 - link

    >Back on topic, I'm not convinced AV1 is a real improvement over H.265.

    Same here. I am convinced that we are far from tuning x265 quality improvement. And the current AV1 shows "some" improvement at the expense of 1000x encoding time. And we have VVC coming along in by 2020 already.
  • amarcus - Saturday, September 15, 2018 - link

    >Back on topic, I'm not convinced AV1 is a real improvement over H.265

    As someone who appreciates good film grain, film grain synthesis in AV1 could be a significant improvement as it would mitigate the "too smooth" appearance common in low bitrate videos. Although both H.264 and H.265 have had rudimentary support for film grain synthesis it has been overlooked by all major encoders/decoders however I am optimistic that this will not happen with AV1. Early tests (example screenshots can be found on doom9's Alliance for Open Media codecs thread) look great!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now