Consumers’ video expectations are being shaped by the brilliant images promised by 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video and beyond. However, 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 for Open Media (AOMedia) 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. Today, the Alliance is proud to announce 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.
Whether watching live sports, video chatting with loved ones, or binging on a favorite show, online video is becoming a bigger part of consumers’ daily lives. In fact, video is so important to users that by 2021, 82 percent of all the world’s internet traffic will be video, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index , 2016-2021. 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 percent greater compression over competing codecs according to independent member tests, AV1 enables more screens to display the vivid images, deeper colors, 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, a Research Director at IHS Markit, a global business information provider.
The availability of AV1 as an open-source codec is a significant milestone in fulfilling the organization’s promise to deliver a next-generation video format that is interoperable, open, optimized for internet delivery and scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth. Designed at the outset for hardware optimization, 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
- Unoptimized, 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
About the Alliance for Open Media
Launched in 2015, the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) was formed to define and develop media technologies to address marketplace demand for an open standard for video compression and delivery over the web. Founding Members include Amazon, Apple, Arm, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, and NVIDIA. AOMedia is a Joint Development Foundation Projects, LLC series. The Joint Development Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization that provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable groups to establish and operate standards and source code development collaborations.
- AMAZON: “As a Founding Member of AOMedia, Amazon is committed to providing a great viewing experience for customers worldwide,” said Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Video. “AV1’s royalty-free and compelling compression technology, once optimized, has the potential for broad adoption that will benefit customers all over the globe.”
- ARM: “As a Founding Member of AOMedia, Arm has been actively contributing to and steering the new AV1 video codec specifications,” said Nandan Nayampally, vice president and general manager, Client Line of Business, Arm. “This is a significant effort in bringing high-quality video to mobile and consumer markets, and the Arm Mali multimedia suite will deliver seamless hardware implementations of AV1.”
- CISCO: “The creation of an advanced, royalty-free video codec is paramount to the ongoing success of collaboration products and services,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, CTO, Collaboration Technology Group, Cisco. “This is why Cisco joined AOMedia as a Founding Member, and why Cisco has invested in making AV1 both efficient and accessible to the internet community.”
- FACEBOOK: “As the amount of video being watched and shared online continues to grow, we are committed to making the video experience even better,” said Mike Coward, engineering director at Facebook. ” As a Founding Member of AOMedia, Facebook is proud to be directly participating in the advancement of AV1 to help achieve this mission.”
- GOOGLE: “In 2015, Google was one of the initial Founding Members of AOMedia with the goal of producing a next-generation codec for the web. Three years later, we have achieved that goal. AV1 reflects the hard work of many technical experts, the success of open collaboration, and our commitment to royalty-free products that are accessible to everyone. Critically, the technology arrives with the support of partners throughout the web video ecosystem – content distributors, web platform providers, application developers and hardware manufacturers. AV1 is poised to power the future of media experiences consumers love to watch, upload and stream,” Matt Frost, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Chrome Media, Google.
- INTEL: “The Alliance for Open Media AV1 codec is the result of collaboration across the industry’s biggest players who are dedicated to delivering unrivaled next-generation video experiences while transforming the ecosystem through a royalty-free, open-source approach. Intel is a Founding Member of AOM and believes the AV1 codec will provide unmatched video quality and lower delivery costs across consumer and business devices as well as the cloud’s video delivery infrastructure. We’re looking forward to delivering AV1 hardware implementations in our Intel products in the future,” Zach Hamm, Intel Director of Strategy and Planning, Visual Technologies Team.
- NVIDIA: “Visual computing is at the core of our business,” said Matt Wuebbling, head of GeForce marketing at NVIDIA. “With ever more computing moving to the cloud, video compression is essential to delivering server-generated content to consumers. The AV1 codec enables streaming video at a higher quality than any other codec over networks with limited bandwidth – and it’s royalty-free, so there’s no barrier to incorporating it into consumer devices.”
- MOZILLA: “Mozilla’s mission is to ensure that the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all, and we’ve long been focused on making sure that includes high-quality video,” said David Bryant, emerging technologies fellow at Mozilla. “Our efforts with AOMedia exemplify our commitment to making state-of-the-art video compression technology royalty-free and accessible to creators and consumers everywhere.”
- NETFLIX: “AV1 proves that a performant next-generation video codec can be developed with a royalty-free license, made possible by the wide-ranging industry commitment of expertise within AOMedia. Netflix is proud to have helped found and contribute to AOMedia and to validate the performance of AV1 on entertainment content, from highly efficient mobile streams to premium 4K HDR. We’re pleased to see the broad interest in decoder support and excited to bring the benefit of better streaming quality to our members in the coming year,” said Mark Watson, director, streaming standards, Netflix.
- MICROSOFT: “As a Founding Member of AOMedia, Microsoft is committed to empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative, royalty-free, open-source technology. The release of the open and interoperable AV1 video specification will empower and advance the entire ecosystem. From browsers and operating systems to devices, apps, and gaming, AV1 will drive the transformation of higher-quality 4K UHD video and beyond for more screens and devices,” said Gabe Frost, executive director of AOMedia, and principal group program manager at Microsoft.
- ADOBE: “Creative video and image editing software companies enable the making of hours and hours of movies and TV shows that viewers watch. But the surprisingly high cost to license basic coding technology has become a major impediment to innovation for companies trying to make content easily available to millions (billions!) of consumers, which is why Adobe is proud to be a member of the Alliance for Open Media. By collaborating with industry leaders, AOMedia has created AV1, a leading-edge and royalty-free video codec that will meet all of our customers’ needs. Bottom line: this means faster and higher resolution content is on its way at a lower cost to the consumer,” said Adobe’s Vice President of Intellectual Property and Litigation Dana Rao.
- ALLEGRO DVT: “Allegro DVT recognized the importance of the AV1 video format early on. We decided to join the Alliance for Open Media and have been an actively contributing member,” said Pierre Marty, CEO of Allegro DVT. “We also immediately started AV1 compliance streams product development and have now available Allegro AV1 syntax, performance and error resilience streams that have been licensed to multiple leading chip manufacturers already adopting the AV1 codec.”
- AMD: “AV1 offers the potential of superior video quality and interoperability across the industry,” said David Wang, senior vice president of engineering of the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.” As a proud member of the Alliance for Open Media, AMD is committed to supporting world-class video codec technologies that enable the best media experiences for consumers.”
- AMLOGIC: “AV1 offers the industry the potential to improve video quality while using less data. With AV1’s support of 4K UHD and HDR, users will be able to take advantage of HDR-enabled content, devices, and displays. As an AOMedia member, we are proud to be part of the cross-industry collaboration. Ultimately, AV1 will enable consumers to watch more streaming media regardless of whether they are online or offline, watching on smart TVs or their mobile devices,” said James Xie, vice president, corporate business strategy at Amlogic.
- ARGON DESIGN: “The high encoding quality and the reduced bit rates provided by AV1 will lead to its rapid adoption as the de-facto codec of choice for the entire streaming media ecosystem,” said Alan Scott, CEO of Argon Design.
- BITMOVIN: Stefan Lederer, CEO and co-founder of Bitmovin, said: “The Alliance for Open Media’s AV1 is a game changer for video. Based on open source, it opens the door to greater innovation in the way we watch content – whether online, on mobile devices, social media – and represents a boost to the upcoming VR, AR and 360-video revolution. As an early adopter, we are proud to be the first company to have integrated AV1 into products, supporting both live streaming and video-on-demand.”
- BROADCOM: “AV1 offers the industry the potential to further improve video quality while using even less data than current 4K UHD and HDR video technologies. As an AOMedia member, we are proud to be part of the cross-industry collaboration to further enhance the video experience across all forms of viewing. Ultimately, AV1 will enable consumers to watch more of the streaming media they love regardless of whether they are online or offline, watching on smart TVs or their mobile devices,” said John H. Gleiter, vice president-marketing, Broadcom Ltd.
- HULU: “Improving streaming quality for our viewers has always been one of Hulu’s top priorities, which is why we are active members of industry groups like AOMedia,” said Rob Post, vice president, engineering at Hulu.” AV1 is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to working with AOMedia and other streaming media leaders to build industry standards for open, interoperable video formats.”
- ITTIAM SYSTEMS: “We believe that AV1 – the next-generation AOMedia video codec – is all set to define the future of online video and video compression,” said Srini Rajam, chairman and CEO, Ittiam Systems. “By leveraging our in-depth expertise, and experience in working with AOMedia members like Netflix and Google on previous generation video formats, we are working towards enabling large-scale deployments of AV1 through optimized software implementations.”
- NGCODEC: “The need for improved compression efficiency is accelerating as consumers adopt higher quality and more immersive video experiences,” said NGCodec CEO and founder Oliver Gunasekara. “NGCodec is committed to delivering AV1 cloud encoding solutions which leverage FPGA hardware to reduce the cost of encoding by 10x vs. traditional software encoders.”
- SOCIONEXT: “Socionext is uniquely positioned to have the capability of delivering comprehensive solutions for video streaming, based on its SoC engineering expertise covering both encoding and decoding. As a participant in the Alliance for Open Media, we are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the other member companies to develop and provide exceptional services, which can be made possible by the next-generation video format AV1,” said Socionext CMO Tsutomu Nozaki.
- VIDEOLAN: “The Alliance for Open Media’s AV1 video codec is one of the best opportunities we have to finally put multimedia on the right track without having to fear hidden fees or legal threats, or resorting to sub-par quality codecs,” said Jean-Baptiste Kempf, president of the VideoLAN association.
- VIDYO: “AV1 is a monumental development,” said Alex Eleftheriadis, chief scientist of Vidyo and co-chair of Real-Time Communications Subgroup. “It is the first open source, royalty-free codec with state-of-the-art performance, backed by the broadest group of internet-focused technology and content delivery companies. By incorporating scalability as an integral part of AV1’s design specifically for real-time communication applications, this new codec can solve the ongoing WebRTC browser fragmentation problem, and achieve universal video interoperability across all browsers and communication devices.”
- XILINX: “AV1 is an ideal specification for bringing royalty-free video across the entire streaming media ecosystem,” said Johan Janssen, chief video architect at Xilinx. “Xilinx FPGAs are expected to accelerate AV1 encoding by at least a factor of 10x compared to software-based encoders. Their adaptability enables optimizations across a wide range of encoding profiles, so as AV1 evolves and improves over time, FPGAs ensure that cloud data centers always have a state-of-the-art video acceleration solution.”