Nvidia, ARM, Broadcom, and Bitmovin. The
AV1 codec was originally scheduled to ship no
later than March 2017, and was released in draft
form about a year late, in March 2018.
According to AOM, the Alliance anticipates
a four-phase rollout for AV1 (Figure 5). Phase 1
involves deploying specifications, reference
software, and reference streams so products
and services that would deploy the codec can
begin integration. Phase 2 involves optimization of the reference software for more efficient encode/decode, playback in browsers,
and the distribution of AV1 encoded content.
According to other slides in the AOM presentation, Phases 1 and 2 should occur in 2018.
Phase 3, which should roll out during 2019,
involves support for AV1 playback in gaming
consoles as well as improved encode/decode
performance via hybrid software and hardware implementations like GPUs or FPGAs.
Finally, 2 years after the launch, the first consumer devices with AV1 encode and decode
should appear in phones, tablets, computers,
OTT players, and set-top boxes.
AOM’s star-studded membership suggests
that this schedule should be met. For example,
at NAB 2018, both Google and Mozilla showed
AV1 playback in test versions of their browsers.
You Tube and Netflix indicated that AV1 encode
was already integrated into their encoding
pipelines, to be deployed soon after browser-
based playback was released. The 2-year re-
lease to commercial hardware schedule is
pretty standard, and with members like Intel,
Nvidia, ARM, and Broadcom, seems achievable.
Still, although AV1 has a marvelous pedigree and promise, too little is known to predict
how quickly it will become relevant. For example, as indicated in Figure 1, although AV1 playback will likely be included in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and perhaps Safari over the next few
months, we don’t know the CPU load required
to play AV1-encoded video. If the CPU load is
too high, playback will be slow and balky on
Figure 1 also reflects that hardware-assisted
playback on mobile platforms and support
in Smart TVs, OTT boxes, and set-top boxes
won’t appear for 2 years. Even then, of course,
the installed base of AV1-enabled devices
will be insignificant compared to HEVC, VP9,
Early quality trials from AOM
members like Facebook are promising ( go2sm.com/fbav1), with AV1
outperforming VP9 by about 30%
and H.264 by about 50% (Figure 6).
However, encoding times were glacial, with some AV1 encodes taking
more than 10,000 times longer than
H.264, which should directly affect
These are very preliminary trials, and most AOM members expect encoding times to drop precipitously. For example, at NAB,
rollout for AV1
In these tests by
30% more efficient