Alliance for Open Media aims to reduce network demand of video by 30%

The Alliance for Open Media has released the AOMedia Video Codec 1.0 (AV1) specification which promises the delivery of 4K UHD or higher online video for lower data usage and no royalties.

One of the major trends we have been witnessing as the digital economy sets in is the growth of video consumption. From increased accessibility of content, through to the growing popularity of user-generated video, the network is fast becoming clogged with cats chasing laser pointers and vlogs of online ‘celebrities’, with the challenge will only get bigger. Cisco estimate by 2021, 82% of all the worlds internet traffic will be video, placing huge strains on already suffering networks. AV1 could be a welcome break.

The Alliance for Open Media, which counts the likes of Apple, ARM, Netflix and Google as members, has released the new specification which claims to reduce data usage by 30%, all without those pesky royalties. The technology is said to be able to match the compression quality of incumbent tech, HEVC and VP9 for example, throwing a threat out to the patent segment of the industry.

“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 offering greater compression over competing codecs, AV1 enables more screens to display the vivid images, deeper colours, brighter highlights, darker shadows, and other enhanced UHD imaging features that consumers have come to expect, all while using less data. With the number of 4K televisions set to increase, and the users expectations continuing to grow, an open-source codec will certainly be welcomed.

“AV1’s royalty-free and compelling compression technology, once optimized, has the potential for broad adoption that will benefit customers all over the globe,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Video.

“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,” said Matt Frost, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Chrome Media, Google. “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.”

“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.”

There will of course be a scrap from the incumbent technologies to prevent the widespread adoption of AV1, but don’t expect this to be anything more than a footnote; free is usually best.

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