Google is asking all Android TV Box makers to support AV1 Codec natively, pushing its widespread adoption

Google Android TV AV1 Codec
Google making AV1 Code support mandatory for Android TV Boxes? Pic credit: ADMC/Pixabay

Google is reportedly making AV1 Code support a mandatory requirement for all future Android TV Boxes and devices. The compulsion to natively support the AV1 Codec should significantly push the adoption and usage of the same.

Originally created by the Alliance for Open Media, theAV1 Codec promises a better user experience, minimizes network or bandwidth use, and supports a wide variety of devices. The alliance specifically designed the AV1 Codec to efficiently and securely transmit video over the Internet with a minimal impact on quality. Basically, AV1 is a necessity to ensure power-efficient and speedy video playback.

Why is Google insisting on support for a single codec on all new Android TV Boxes?

All future Android TV Boxes or devices running on the current version of the Android TV platform, released after March 31, 2021, must support the AV1 codec. While the reports about the insistence are new, Google had notified its Android TV partners last year about ensuring all Android TV products launching with Android 10 or Android 11 support the AV1 codec.

AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format initially designed for video transmissions over the Internet. It is the successor to the VP9 codec.

The AV1 Codec has repeatedly proven itself to be the optimum “container” for delivering high-definition multimedia content over the Internet. Incidentally, AV1 has a royalty-free licensing model. This means open-source projects and startups can easily adopt and deploy products.

Incidentally, AV1 is gaining acceptance, but not significant popularity, within the online streaming and media community. Although it is secure, efficient, and reliable, only a handful of streaming services use AV1 Codec. Moreover, the services restrict streaming in AV1 to some of their content.

YouTube streams some videos encoded in AV1 on select Android TV devices. Meanwhile, Vimeo has recently started to encode some of the videos on its Staff Picks channel in AV1 Codec. Netflix does stream select titles in AV1 but only when the users switch on Data Saving Mode.

Google recently announced its plans to use AV1 Codec for “the whole range of Google’s video applications and services”. It is amply clear that tech giants need to support certain key technologies to boost their adoption.

Support for AV1 Codec already growing among TV manufacturers:

Google’s requirement should apply to all new TV products launching with Android 10 or Android 11 later this year. The company reportedly already requires AV1 video decoding support for all 4K HDR and 8K Android TV devices that launch with Android 10.

Incidentally, many 4K HDR Android TV devices launched recently, ship with a hardware platform (SoC) that supports AV1 Codec. Some of the notable mentions are the MediaTek T30/T31/T32 or the Realtek RTD2851M.

TCL’s X915 8K TV appears to be the first TV to support streaming 8K videos from YouTube. Apart from TCL, all of Sony’s 2021 TVs will support AV1 video decoding.

Companies like LG and Samsung may have their own operating systems. However, the OSs installed on their TVs have already begun to receive AV1 support, at least in the newer models.

Coming to smartphone manufacturers, and more particularly the SoC that powers them, MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000 and Samsung’s Exynos 2100 mobile chipsets both support AV1 decoding. In the case of computers, Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs, NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series GPUs, and AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs also support AV1.

Currently, there are dozens of different hardware companies. Moreover, there are many software companies making apps and streaming services. Hence, companies like Google will have to put their foot down to ensure the majority rallies together and prevent the Internet infrastructure from choking.

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