Video streaming companies have long been interested in more efficient video codecs that consume less bandwidth, especially at 4K resolutions, like the AV1 developed by the Alliance for Open Media and supported by Amazon, Apple, Facebook. , Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla. and Netflix.

And it is precisely this last company, Netflix, which has just announced that after the first tests carried out last year on mobile terminals, it has made the jump to AV1 on televisions natively compatible with this format.

As they posted on the service’s tech blog, shows with AV1 have already started and they claim to have compared thousands of movies and seen a “significant improvement in compression and efficiency” over the versions they did. they were using until now, such as VP9.

Netflix has indicated that videos transmitted in AV1 are encoded with 10-bit color, in the maximum resolution they offer from the source and with the original frame rate they present, including those at high frame rate or HFR, although at the moment they don’t seem to have HDR.

Better visual quality and less transmission delays

They did not give specific data on how much bandwidth these new videos require, but they claim that “they offer improved visual quality when compared with the same bit rate of others with MPEG4 and HEVC” and that “some videos have bitrate peaks that reach what is marked by the standard”, which refers to around 40 Mbps in the AV1 level 5.1 version.

As recoding movies on AV1 from the original sources is a process that takes hours, Netflix assured that they will focus on the most popular titles first and hope to reach ten million users soon.

They also pointed out that they have observed a 2% reduction in lag time since we started playing, an unimpressive figure, but it is surprising that up to 38% of the reduction in quality drops that can occur at certain times of reception due to bandwidth issues.

Of course, to be able to access these new generation broadcasts with AV1, we will first need our television to natively support this format. Otherwise, HEVC and MPEG4 AVC will continue to be used. Later, AV1 will reach other systems such as external players and new generation consoles.

More information | Netflix