Support for the Alliance for Open Media’s jointly developed, open-source and royalty-free video codec AV1, tipped to replace HEVC, has been rolled out to development versions of Chrome and Firefox. (Alliance for Open Media Releases AV1 specification)The feature is deactivated be default, so users will need to find the relevant option within their browser settings.
The Alliance includes companies including Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla, amongst others, including Facebook and Netflix, which have both committed to using the AV1 codec for video streaming on their respective platforms.
However, conflicting reports as to how beneficial AV1 actually is are beginning to emerge: Mozilla estimates that file sizes can be reduced by 25-35% compared to HEVC or Google’s VP9 codec, while Bitmovin says it’s more like 30-40%. Others say only “modest gains” are possible, offset by the need for more powerful encoding and decoding equipment.