Samsung joins AOMedia in support of AV1 Video format

Samsung recently announced that it has joined the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). It will be taking up a position at the Board level of the organization, which is its highest tier of membership.
AV1 Video formatOther current Board members in AOMedia include Amazon, Google, Facebook, Cisco, ARM, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, and more.

In joining AOMedia, Samsung will directly participate in its current efforts to expand the adoption of its AV1 video format. The AV1 format was officially released last year as an open source and royalty-free format, and is working its way through its adoption roadmap.

“Samsung is a recognized pioneer in next-generation multimedia and video compression technology and an active contributor to the international video coding standards. We are committed to fostering innovation through openness,” said Seunghwan Cho, executive vice president of Samsung Research in a statement.

“We’re excited to join AOMedia to help open up new possibilities to use AV1 open-source, cross-platform, online video in ways that will optimize today’s ecosystem to meet the increasing demands of next-generation users.”

As yet Samsung has not revealed any details as to how it will participate in AV1’s adoption. In theory if AV1 support is offered as an option for video recording on its Galaxy-line of Android phones as well as its many other devices, it would be a big step forward for the format.

Prior to this announcement Samsung was one of the earliest hardware manufacturers to support the HEVC video format. Whether or not it will continue to do so remains unclear for the present, especially seeing as HEVC still continues to struggle due to its complex royalty structure.

Apple was another early supporter of HEVC that has since joined AOMedia as well.

Already major browsers support AV1 in some form or other including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge (via an extension). Additionally VideoLAN and FFmpeg teams are developing dav1d to be a small and fast decoder for the format.

At the same time Intel’s Scalable Video Technology (SVT) team has developed the SVT-AV1 encoder. Having a stable encoder and decoder will eventually allow AV1 conversion to be rolled out in software, making it easy to convert as is the case with other formats such as here.

Some online video platforms such as Netflix and YouTube have started to test AV1s performance. The YouTube test is publically available in the form of the AV1 Beta Launch Playlist, and users with browsers that support AV1 can view videos encoded in the format.

Despite the speed of its adoption, widespread use of AV1 is not expected till sometime in 2020, when hardware support is made available in consumer devices. There is the possibility that legal challenges will be issued that affect the royalty-free status of the format.

Some concerns have been voiced regarding AV1’s viability due to the varied results of initial tests when encoding and decoding in the format. However the encoders and decoders available are all early beta versions that need to be optimized further before conclusions can be drawn.

For now AV1’s adoption is continuing to grow steadily and at a rapid pace. The fact that Samsung has joined AOMedia will bolster it further, and help cement its position as a viable video format for online video.

Rajani Baburajan

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