After launching on Android devices back in February 2020, Netflix announced it’s now bringing the AV1 streaming video codec to other platforms, including certain smart TVs, dedicated streaming devices, and Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro game console.
In a blog post released earlier this week, Netflix shared details about the AV1 codec, which it’s touting as “the first high-efficiency video codec format with a royalty-free license from Alliance of Open Media.” The company says the new tech should offer better video quality and more reliable playback — in part by requiring less bandwidth for a given video quality level compared to earlier codecs.
In fact, Netflix noted in its blog post that, “On some TVs, noticeable drops in quality were reduced by as much as 38 percent.”
The post also mentions that some platforms with sufficiently powerful hardware can support AV1 through software alone, but lower-powered devices, like many smart TVs, need dedicated hardware to reliably support the new codec. Netflix shared a list of compatible hardware with The Verge and the current roster includes a bevy of Samsung hardware:
- Certain Samsung 2020 UHD, UHD QLED, and 8K QLED Smart TVs
- Samsung The Frame 2020 Smart TVs
- Samsung The Serif 2020 Smart TVs
- Samsung The Terrace 2020 Smart TVs
- Sony PlayStation 4 Pro
- Certain Amazon Fire TV devices (Fire OS 7 and above)
- Certain Android TV devices (Android OS 10 and above)
This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen Netflix discuss improving the ways it compresses video for improved quality and/or reducing bandwidth needs. Following this latest rollout, Netflix says it will continue working with various partners to bring AV1 to more platforms in the future. And we’ll be sure to update when the new tech spreads to more devices.