AV1, Blog Posts, Video Codec, Video Transcoder

Why AV1 Matters – The Game-Changer in Video Streaming

Zoe Liu

President & Co-Founder, Visionular

The video streaming industry is on the verge of a major transformation, thanks to Apple’s latest announcement. The A17 Pro chip, built on cutting-edge 3-nanometer technology, is set to revolutionize video streaming with its dedicated AV1 decoder.  

Yes, you read it correctly – Apple’s A17 Pro chip will natively decode AV1 content, setting the stage for some extraordinary advancements in the realm of video streaming. 

But that is not all. The latest iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models also come equipped with a new USB controller, ushering in the era of USB 3 speeds.  

What does this mean for you? 

It translates to great video quality, significantly higher transfer speeds and support for video output up to 4K at a seamless 60 frames per second, complete with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support. 

But why is this a big deal? 

The AV1 Decoder Game-Changer

The inclusion of an AV1 decoder in Apple’s chipsets represents a monumental shift for the video streaming industry.  

Apple, with its commanding 50% market share in the U.S. mobile market, is opening doors for content providers to deliver AV1-encoded video content.  

This has the potential to provide viewers with an astounding video experience, all while consuming much less bandwidth than traditional codecs like H.264/AVC and HEVC. 

What is AV1 – in a nutshell

But before we delve deeper into why AV1 is a game-changer, let us get a quick overview of what AV1 is all about. 

AV1 is a game-changing video codec that is the result of a collaborative effort by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) consortium.  

The noteworthy aspect of AV1 is that it is open-source and royalty-free, making it accessible to all. It also delivers 30% to 50% higher video quality compared to H.264/AVC and HEVC at similar bitrates. 

Moreover, AV1 is incredibly versatile and well-suited for a wide range of applications. From premium video-on-demand to user-generated content, live streaming, screen recording, and even film-grain encoding, AV1 has found its footing and garnered tremendous support from the industry. 

Streaming giants like Meta, Google, and Netflix have already embraced AV1, reaping the benefits of higher-quality video at significantly reduced bitrates. This translates into substantial cost savings, especially for content delivery networks (CDNs). 

The future of video streaming is upon us, and AV1 is leading the charge in this transformation. 

Why Make the Switch to AV1?

Now, you might wonder why it is crucial to make the switch from the tried-and-true H.264/AVC and its successor, HEVC, to the groundbreaking AV1 codec.  

To answer that, let us consider how the streaming landscape has evolved. 

In 2004, when H.264/AVC made its debut, the streaming world was a vastly different place.  

  • 4K, UHD, 8K content were practically unheard of. 
  • Smartphones in their current form factor did not exist (the iPhone came out in 2007) – and these phones serve as the primary form of media consumption for millions of people, worldwide. 
  • The scope of video compression had yet to expand to include user-generated content (UGC) apps, live shopping, video calling, screen sharing, sports streaming, and a plethora of other applications

Enter AV1: The Game-Changer

This is where AV1 steps in as a game-changer.  

Designed to address the ever-evolving needs of 2023 and beyond, AV1 extends far beyond the capabilities of H.264/AVC. It effortlessly handles high-resolution content (4k and higher), advanced coding techniques such as film grain coding and screen encoding, making it the ideal choice for a diverse range of applications. 

The results speak for themselves.  

AV1 consistently demonstrates its superiority, boasting efficiency gains over 50% over H.264/AVC and HEVC, depending on the application and type of video content. In a world where bandwidth and quality are paramount, AV1 bridges the gap between legacy standards and the dynamic needs of the modern streaming industry. 

It is supported by most desktop browsers, Smart TVs, streaming consoles, Android, and now, with Apple’s announcement, it’s landed in the iOS ecosystem too.  

So, if you are looking to future-proof your video streaming endeavors and deliver the highest quality content to your audience, the time to switch to AV1 is now. 

Visionular’s Aurora1 Encoder – Unleashing Real-Time AV1 Encoding

Historically, AV1 encoding posed formidable challenges, plagued by sluggish speeds, need for expensive cloud resources, often crawling at a mere one frame per second. Real-time communication with AV1? Forget about it! 

However, Visionular’s Aurora1 Encoder is changing the game. In recent benchmarks, we’ve seen that Visionular’s AV1 encoder achieves the following –  

  • Speed-ups of 35-63% compared to libaom (RT configuration) for similar quality on camera content 
  • Speed-ups of 83-220% and simultaneous bitrate savings of 60-75% compared to libaom (RT configuration) on screen content 
  • Single-threaded faster-than-real-time 1080p encoding for camera (up to an average 59 fps) and screen (up to an average 164 fps) on iPhone 12 
  • Single-threaded faster-than-real-time 1080p encoding for camera (up to an average 91 fps) and screen (up to an average 271 fps) on Mac Mini M1 
  • Extremely large bitrate savings over HW H265 encoding, typically 70-80%, with more accurate rate control and low-rate targeting 

Contact us to access these benchmarks and get a copy of our AV1 encoder to evaluate.

As we mentioned before, the AV1 video codec is superior to H.264/AVC and HEVC and our Aurora1 encoder (that we developed from scratch) demonstrates terrific performance, in terms of speed, video quality, and per-CPU-core efficiency.  

Here is a video that shows how Aurora1 (Visionular’s AV1 encoder) set to 1mbps produces the same video quality as x264 @ 4mbps – a 75% reduction in the bitrate!  

All of this translates to millions of dollars saved in CDN delivery costs across both VOD and RTC scenarios and storage costs, while simultaneously reducing bufferingnetwork usage, and increasing video quality for your end-users!  

The Visionular Edge: How We Did It

At the heart of our success is our team of experts.  

Our Co-Founder and CTO, Zoe Liu, played an integral role in AV1’s early days at Google, unveiling AV1 to the world during Google I/O 2018.  

Additionally, our distinguished codec engineers, Dmitriy Sychov and Thomas Davies, have contributed significantly to the AV1 standard, designing innovative, finely tuned algorithms that deliver stunning video performance at accelerated speeds. 

But do not just take our word for it – see what others are saying about us: 

A Customer-Centric Approach That Sets Us Apart

Our philosophy centers on collaboration, custom tuning, and continuous improvement. 

  • Collaboration: We work closely with your team, understand your requirements – from bitrate to resolution, devices, and delivery needs.
  • Custom Tuning: We meticulously tune our encoders to meet your exact specifications. We are with you, each step of the way.
  • Continuous Improvement: We do not stop at implementation. We continuously enhance our encoder performance to benefit your operations and thrill your customers.

This approach has helped us work with over 100 content providers across the globe, achieving a remarkable 100% retention rate. We have transformed their video delivery experience, benefiting them technically, from a business perspective, and in terms of customer delight. 

Elevate Your Business with Visionular

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to set up a 1:1 meeting with our experts today.  

We will have you up and running in no time, helping you transform your business and excel in the dynamic world of video streaming. 

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