Tuesday, March 2

Google to force manufacturers of Android TV products to adopt AV1 codec

Far from being trivial, the AV1 codec provides significantly improved video compression compared to the more widespread H.264 codec. Google continues to push it forward through a new measure: from March 31, future devices running Android TV 10 will have to support this format.

AV1 codec to become mandatory on all Android TV 10 devices launched on March 31

The AV1 codec will become mandatory on all Android TV 10 devices launched as of March 31 // Gamesdone: Philips via What HiFi

Supported for a few months by Windows 10, but usable only by the most recent configurations, the AV1 codec also benefits from the support of Google. After having it introduced on YouTube, then have allowed some devices running Android TV to use it, the Mountain View giant is going a step further in the process of adopting the AV1.

We learned this week that support for this “new” codec will be mandatory for new products based on Android TV. All devices equipped with Android TV 10 and marketed after March 31 will have to have an SoC capable of natively supporting the AV1 codec. This policy concerns new televisions, but also future Android TV boxes or HDMI keys, and more generally any other type of device using the Google OS.

AV1, a replacement for the HEVC codec

The AV1 codec is important for allowing video streaming to continue to progress. It provides up to 50% better video compression than the H.264 codec and up to 20% more efficient than the VP9 codec. Good performances which make it a successor of choice to the current HEVC (H.265) codec, used in particular by Prime Video, Apple TV +, Disney Plus or even Netflix for their 4K HDR streams.

Developed by the Alliance for Open Media consortium, which brings together Amazon, Apple, ARM, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia and Samsung, among others, the AV1 codec is already used by YouTube, especially for video streaming in 8K. It is also already supported by 2021 Sony televisions with the Bravia XR chip. For the user, the gradual switch to the AV1 codec could allow him to obtain better picture quality while using less bandwidth since its compression is more efficient.

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