March 29, 2018 // 11:51 a.m.
The Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), founded in 2015 by companies ranging from Amazon and Google through to Intel and Arm, has announced the launch of the AV1 video codec - which, it claims, offers a 30 percent improvement in compression over its rivals.
Designed primarily to help push adoption of Ultra HD and higher video standards, the AOMedia Video Codec 1.0 (AV1) specification brings with it one key advantage over rivals: It's available entirely royalty-free, meaning it can be implemented by anyone at zero cost whether they're creating a software tool for video streaming, a browser plugin, or a hardware device, thanks to a permissive licence which allows for distribution and use in source and binary formats with or without modification.
While that will help make the financial case for adoption, it's not the only trick AOMedia has up its sleeve: AV1 is also claimed to compress a video stream by around 30 percent more than its closest rival for the same audiovisual quality - meaning those whose broadband connections are below the minimum required for streaming Ultra HD video using current codecs may find that a switch to AV1 brings relief.
'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,' claims 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.'
The initial release of AV1 includes a bitstream specification for the creation of hardware codec implementations, a software codec for immedate use, reference streams, and a binding specification - meaning that developers can begin to work with AV1 now and not worry that everything they do will need to be thrown away when AV1.1 lands.
More information on AV1 is available from the official website, as is the reference implementation.