Google executive details rollout time frame for AV1

Matt Frost (left) talks with Dan Rayburn (right) during the Streaming Summit Wednesday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. (Ben Munson/FierceCable)

LAS VEGAS—After years of development, AV1, the new open-source video codec from the Alliance for Open Media, is out in the wild. Now it has to plot a path toward widespread adoption.

At the NAB Show’s Streaming Summit today, Matt Frost, head of strategy and partnerships for Google Chrome Media, provided an update on AV1’s road ahead. He said broad hardware support won’t show up for about two years, but the codec will be ready for safe use with encoding and decoding video in the next few weeks.

Frost said AOMedia founding members like YouTube and Facebook will be adopting AV1 early for playback in HTML5 browsers and that further down the road, software playback on Android devices will show up. He said that with YouTube, they don’t have to re-encode everything in AV1 to push a high volume of the codec. YouTube can focus on high-traffic videos at first.

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Frost said it’s too early to predict what the average stream size will be for AV1 videos, but he revealed that during the AV1 launch party, AOMedia members were able to show a 720p video on a Samsung mobile device and have it only use 207 kilobits.

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Of course, a big step toward building adoption around the new codec is instilling confidence that AV1 users won’t find themselves embroiled in patent suits similar to what has happened around H.264. To that end, Frost said that AOMedia has conducted a rigorous patent review and reviewed all the intellectual property within the codec. AOMedia also created a fund for the defense of any AV1 user or AOMedia member that is sued for patent infringement.

“We’ve taken every step possible to eliminate IP risk,” Frost said, adding that it’s impossible to fully guarantee that patent litigation won’t pop up at some point.