New Android update could supercharge video playback on midrange and older phones

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Google is enhancing video streaming in an upcoming update for devices lacking dedicated AV1 playback hardware. The AV1 codec allows for lower bitrates without losing image quality and will most benefit owners of midrange and budget devices.

According to Android Authority, Google could soon integrate libdav1d, an open-source video AV1 codec, into its systems. This codec was developed by VideoLAN and will use the CPU to manage the complex decoding, making the AV1 videos accessible even on devices that lack built-in AV1 hardware.

AV1 was introduced in 2018 by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), which includes Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. It has since been adopted by companies like YouTube, Netflix, and Vimeo but isn’t yet the standard for video services.

Companies are keen to use it as it’s free to use without paying licensing fees. Although the biggest advantage is AV1 maintains high video quality while not needing as much bandwidth. The codec performs up to 30 percent more efficient compression than codecs like commonly used H265.

However, it can be more demanding on CPU resources due to the more complicated encoding and decoding process. 

AV1 on modern and older phones

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