Guess what is no surprise? 

That the demand for high-quality video experiences keeps spiking. 

Streaming platforms that want to meet this demand first have to meet the challenge of delivering content efficiently, without cutting corners on quality.

This is where AV1 (supported by Unified Streaming nigh on five years now) is changing the game. 

What’s AV1?

It’s a video codec.

What’s a video codec?

Wow, this really IS a bird’s-eye view!

A video codec is software (or hardware) that compresses (encodes) and decompresses (decodes) digital video. Why compress and decompress digital video? Well, to send it and store it more easily.

About the name: AV1 is short for AOMedia Video 1. (And AOMedia itself is short for Alliance for Open Media, a consortium of leading tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple.) The non-licensable, open-source video codec AV1 launched in 2018, royalty-free.

AV1 was kinda designed with one goal: deliver high-quality video compression while seriously tamping down bandwidth usage. The overarching goal? Improve the streaming experience for users worldwide.

What are the benefits of AV1?

Good question. AV1 sports the following pluses.

⁂ Better compression efficiency

Compared to older codecs H.264 and VP9, AV1 offers superior compression efficiency, allowing streaming platforms to deliver high-res content at lower bitrates. AV1 therefore gives viewers several gifts: faster load times, reduced buffering, and smoother playback. Simply put: with AV1, end users get a better quality of experience (QoE).

⁂ Bandwidth savings

Clawing back bandwidth consumption is a biggie for both content providers and consumers. Why’s it a biggie? Money. Cost savings.

AV1’s advanced compression techniques allow streaming platforms to deliver high-definition and even UHD (ultra-high-definition) content using less bandwidth. So you could say it’s more inclusive, insofar as users with limited internet connectivity or data caps can access AV1 content.

⁂ Future-proofing of content delivery

As people’s appetites for high-res and immersive video experiences grow, AV1 helps ensure that streaming platforms can satisfy them without lowering quality precipitously, or growing bandwidth requirements exponentially. By adopting AV1, content providers future-proof their content delivery infrastructure. AV1 use ensures compatibility with newer devices and the latest consumer preferences.

Since its rollout, AV1 market share and adoption have risen sharply. Netflix and YouTube have used the codec for years. In February 2020, Netflix began streaming AV1 videos via its mobile app on Android phones. Google made AV1 available for decoding YouTube on Android devices, too, and even recently declared an AV1 decoder its new default.

In late 2023 Apple announced that its flagship products iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max (with the Apple A17 chipset inside), as well as its M3 desktop, would include the AV1 decoder.

⁂ Royalty-free licensing

One of the greatest advantages of AV1 is its royalty-free licensing model.

Unlike proprietary codecs that charge content deliverers expensive licensing fees, AV1 can be used free by anyone. This price point makes it much easier for content creators and streaming platforms to enter the market. What’s more, the freedom fosters innovation, competition, and refinements in the field of video compression technology.

What’s Unified Streaming’s deal with AV1 support?

Unified Streaming is a leading provider of cross-platform video streaming solutions, offering flexible and scalable solutions for delivering content to any device, anywhere, any blah blah blah. (You probably already know all this, as it’s all over our sites and socials; it’s pretty well documented.)

Here’s what you may not know. Five years ago, foreseeing the importance of AV1 in video streaming, Unified Streaming (in collaboration with our friends at Bitmovin) went ahead and integrated AV1 support into its full suite of products. Using Unified tech, content providers can embrace this next-gen codec.

Here’s a couple trivia bits about Unified and AV1.

⁂ Harmonious integration

Unified Streaming’s solutions flawlessly integrate AV1 encoding capabilities, allowing content providers to encode, package, and deliver AV1-encoded streams alongside streams encoded with existing codecs like H.264 and VP9. This integration ensures compatibility with a wide range of playback devices and platforms. So all users get a consistent streaming experience.

⁂ Scalability and flexibility

Deployable on-premise and in the cloud, Unified Streaming’s solutions offer scalability and flexibility to accommodate growing streaming demands. With support for AV1, content providers can scale their infrastructure to handle increasing traffic and deliver high-quality AV1-encoded streams to a global audience, without skimping on performance and reliability.

Shall we sum this thing up? Yes, let’s

For streaming video companies, adopting next-generation codecs like AV1 is crucial for delivering high-quality content efficiently. AV1’s advanced compression techniques and royalty-free licensing model guarantee that the codec can deliver on its promise of improving the way we distribute and consume video online.

Unified Streaming was an early adopter of AV1.
Our continued support for AV1 signals the codec’s significant role in our mission to deliver high-quality and so-called lean back” streaming experiences to viewers around the world.

Other premium formats and codecs complement the use of AV1 nicely. Audiovisual tech company Dolby created two popular formats that fetch a higher price for streaming, both of which are supported by Unified Streaming: Dolby Vision, an HDR (high dynamic range) video format, and Dolby Atmos, a premium audio format.

Other HDR formats such as HDR10 and HLG, and other audio formats such as AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio are also supported by Unified Streaming.

Oh before we forget — AV1: live onscreen

Wanna see AV1 at work? Check out this demo showcasing our Remix VOD2Live solution playing out an AV1-encoded VOD asset, as though it were a live channel.

For more info on how you can benefit from Unified’s support of AV1, just reach out to sales@​unified-​streaming.​com.