The world of video codecs can be a bewildering place to navigate. Streamers will be familiar with popular codecs like as HEVC (H.265) and AVC (H.264), which are generally supported and widely used. However, there is another codec that is gaining popularity and support from the industry. AV1.
In addition to current generation Nvidia and AMD GPUs, AV1 decoding is supported by a diverse range of other hardware (but not the RX 6500 XT). Hardware encoding support, on the other hand, is more limited. Encoding functionality is expected to be included in Intel’s next Arc family of graphics processors. Those who prefer the AV1 codec, such as developers and streamers, will undoubtedly find this appealing.
Intel claimed that hardware encoding of AV1 on an Arc GPU is up to 50 times quicker than software-only encoding during a recent Arc presentation (as reported by Digital Trends). AV1 encodes are 20 percent more efficient than HEVC at the same bit rate, and 50 percent more efficient than H.264 at the same bit rate, according to the paper’s findings.
In spite of the fact that AV1 encoding may seem like an obscure function to many users, there are undoubtedly users out there that are involved with AV1 material, and Intel hopes to capture a portion of that market.
Aside from the fact that it is more efficient at the same bit rate, AV1 is significant for the fact that it is royalty-free. A number of large corporations have lent their support to the effort, including Amazon.com; Cisco; Google; Intel; Microsoft; Mozilla; and Netflix.
In practice, this means that AV1 is available in a broad variety of open source and free software, including web browsers, which would otherwise be required to pay a licensing fee in order to integrate HEVC compatibility. Samsung was recently sued in a German court by MPEG LA, a licensing organization that owns the patents for the HEVC codec, for infringement of intellectual property rights.
As a result of Arc’s planned inclusion of complete AV1 encode capability, it’s likely that next-generation AMD and Nvidia graphics cards will as well. Interestingly, Twitch is now testing the feature, which will increase the amount of pressure on firms to include encoding support in their products.