Last year, we wrote about AV1 royalty-free open source video codec managed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), a non-profit organization with members such as Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and other companies.
Eventually AV1 should be 25 to 35% more efficiency than H.265 or VP9, but encoding will be slower, and at the time, my AMD FX8350 based computer could encode CIF (352×288) video at less than 0.5 fps, and I had to use command line tools to encode and decode/playback the videos.
But thing are progressing nicely, and it’s now possible to stream AV1 video with HTML5 / in Firefox 59.0 (nightly) using Bitmovin Player. If you are using Ubuntu, you can also install Firefox nightly as follow:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox-trunk
Start it and visit the demo page to stream an AV1 MPEG-DASH/HLS stream in your web browser. It works from 360p @ 200 Kbps up to 720p @ 800 Kbps in my machine (still FX8350), and the image will freeze from time to time, but that’s a step in the right direction. The demo is supposed to handle up to 3 Mbps @ 1920×800 if your Internet bandwidth and computer can handle it.
Mozilla explains work still needs to be done, including on the encoder, which remain very slow as it takes around 150 seconds to encode one second of video on a standard desktop computer, and that’s why it is performed on Bitmovin cloud infrastructure instead, as the video appears to be encoded on the fly since the AV1 bitstream is still evolving (will be finalized by the end of the year), and both player and encoder need to use the same version.
I could not find whether AV1 is supported by Chrome (unstable) yet, but since Google is a member of AOMedia, it will certainly come. I’d still expect to wait a few years before AV1 becomes “mainstream”.
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