Netflix yesterday announced that it has started streaming videos in high-performance AV1 codec on Android devices. AV1 is a royalty-free video codec that offers 20% improved compression efficiency over VP9. Netflix mentioned that AV1’s high compression efficiency will be very useful in countries where data usage charges are high and network reliability is poor. Netflix has not switched 100% to AV1 format, instead select titles are now available to stream in AV1 for customers who with “Save Data” feature enabled.
Our AV1 support on Android leverages the open-source dav1d decoder built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities and sponsored by the Alliance for Open Media. Here we have optimized dav1d so that it can play Netflix content, which is 10-bit color. In the spirit of making AV1 widely available, we are sponsoring an open-source effort to optimize 10-bit performance further and make these gains available to all.
Netflix plans to expand AV1 usage to more use cases. Netflix is also working with device and silicon partners to extend this into hardware. Right now, Apple’s macOS and iOS platforms don’t support AV1 format. So, Apple users can’t expect AV1 video streaming on their devices anytime soon. Last year, Apple joined the Alliance for Open Media group that develops the AV1 format. In the future, there is a high chance that Apple will add native AV1 video format support in its devices.
You can download the latest Netflix app here from Play Store.