If you crave high-quality movies and web shows on your Smart TV, Netflix is here with a feature that would enable just that. The largest OTT platform has started to roll out the AV1 codec to selected content on TVs.
For the unversed, AV1 (Aomedia Video 1) is a compression technology that allows high-quality video streaming in smaller file sizes. It is an open-source and royalty-free high-efficiency video codec created by the AOMedia alliance, which includes industry leaders like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Firefox, Netflix, and more.
Netflix AV1 content on TVs
Netflix had first introduced AV1 encoding on the Android platform back in 2020, and now it is bringing AV1 streaming to TVs as well. This could improve the quality of content and perhaps, in turn, lead to the growth of its viewer base.
Announcing the rollout, Netflix said, “Launching a new streaming format on TV platforms is not an easy job. We compared AV1 to other codecs over thousands of Netflix titles, and saw significant compression efficiency improvements from AV1”.
Netflix details that the AV1 content will be in the 10-bit color gamut with the highest available resolution and frame rate (HFR). It adds, “AV1 delivers videos with improved visual quality at the same bitrate,” and that “some streams have a peak bitrate close to the upper limit allowed by the spec”. This should allow them to preserve the creator’s intent to a great extent.
Furthermore, it notes how AV1 encoding has brought in a 2% faster playback with up to 38% better streaming quality on select TVs. Yes, it would be available for some TVs only that are equipped with an AV1 decoder. And those TVs that don’t meet this requirement will continue to play HEVC and MPEG4 AVC.
Also, this feature would be available for its most popular titles only for now and this library should be expanded in phases.
Anyways, Netflix promises that they are working with external partners to enable more and more devices for AV1 streaming. Moreover, another exciting direction they are exploring is AV1 with HDR.