Now that the specification is finalised, the Alliance for Open Media has set high expectations for AV1. The prospect of a royalty free alternative to HEVC has many industry supporters, particularly those addressing streaming applications for a standard that is optimised for OTT delivery.
Fundamental to AV1’s success will be the transfer of the tool set to efficient software implementations that can deliver the expected performance over existing compression standards within the constraints of future server provision.
Efficient implementations of AV1 will require a careful balance between utilising bespoke processor features, to offload demanding processor intensive functions, and the desire to have a platform agnostic compression standard that can be applied across a wide range of infrastructure.
As with all complex compression schemes, realising an efficient implementation of AV1 is crucial if it is to succeed against rival standards. The royalty free aspect of AV1 is significant, and when combined with the changes in viewer consumption habits and the increased processor resources available subtly changes the success criteria compared with the introduction of predecessor standards.
AV1 is an industry driven initiative by the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) with the aim of producing an interoperable and open video CODEC suitable for internet delivery of Over The Top (OTT) services.
With video currently accounting for around 73% of global internet traffic, rising to 82% by 2021(1) and the network issues associated with IP delivery infrastructure, it’s clear there is an ongoing need for further video compression standards optimised for internet applications if services are to scale.
From a system-based perspective, AV1 benefits from being based upon VP9, which was developed for streaming applications. This is key to adopting a container-based approach to rationalise workflows.
The emphasis on video infrastructure has fundamentally shifted from direct to home to a hybrid model where live, OTT and catch-up services need to be provided for new infrastructure commissions. AV1 has been drafted supporting the key streaming parameters essential for OTT, thereby reflecting the complex hybrid nature of IP based content delivery.
Consequently, the AV1 standard aims to deliver a compression standard that can be intergrated into solutions that allow for the needs of OTT systems deployed in the cloud, while retaining the necessary legacy compatibility with existing live and file based infrastructure. The suitability of AV1 to meet the performance expectations and application needs of internet streaming, especially in comparison with competing compression standards like HEVC, is the main focus of this paper.
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