Bitmovin CEO says AV1 works best as part of wider multicodec world

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AV1 is something of a successor to VP9, an open source video compression codec developed by Google. (iStock)

The emerging video codec AV1 is a challenger to current standards like H.264, but Bitmovin CEO Stefan Lederer said it’s better to view AV1 and complementary and not as a replacement.

“There are more platforms, resolutions and delivery methods than ever before. Having access to more codec options, from legacy solutions like H.264 through to AV1, is opening the door to more innovation for organizations of all sizes. However, no codec is an island, and developers looking to use AV1 need to identify which type of content, which platform and delivery method they are using the codec for. It is clear that we are moving into a multi-codec industry where each scenario will call for a specific option, and the industry needs to look into this now to provide the best consumer experiences,” Lederer said.

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AV1 was formally released in March 2018, and according to Bitmovin’s recent Video Developer report, plans to use AV1 globally are accelerating. Nearly a third of all respondents said they plan on using AV1 in 2019, more than double the rate of planned usage reported in the 2017 report.

Bitmovin—which is a member of the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), the group that developed AV1—said it recently achieved a 40% encoding speed increase, which brings it closer in processing speed to H.264.

AV1 is something of a successor to VP9, an open-source video compression codec developed by Google. AV1 promises 30% better compression than VP9, based on testing performed by Bitmovin. That means AV1 can deliver 4K UHD video content while using less data.

AOMedia built AV1 for both commercial and noncommercial use in internet applications and services including browsers, streaming and videoconferencing services, as well as hardware and software implementation. AV1 is defined by a bitstream specification, binding specifications for using the codec with different file formats and encryption, and an encoder and decoder reference code.