Android System Works on Improving Video Playback Experience Using AV1 Video Codec

Android System Works on Improving Video Playback Experience Using AV1 Video Codec

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In a recent development, Android’s development manager, Aarif Dikhsi, confirmed that the operating system update released in March 2024 has transitioned to the open-source VideoLAN codec libdav1d, enhancing support for AV1-encoded videos.

This update marks a significant step towards improving the video playback experience on Android devices. Aarif Dikhsi, the software development manager in the video and image encoding software team for Android, stated:

“Android welcomes dav1d, the best AV1 decoder. It’s official! All Android devices dating to Android S have received this new decoding software over the air.”

Most devices can decode 720p30 in software using dav1d. Currently, apps need to opt-in to dav1d to take advantage of it, but it will soon become the default AV1 decoder module.

Android System Works on Improving Video Playback Experience Using AV1 Video Codec

In February of last year, Mashal AlRahman, a senior contributor at Android Central, reported that Google plans to release a Play system update that enables libdav1d as the default AV1 decoder module for Android.

He stated that the libdav1d decoding software is available on Android 12+ devices with the Google Play system update for March 2024 or later.

However, the libgav1 decoding software is still being used by default, so apps must manually opt into libdav1d instead.

Android System Works on Improving Video Playback Experience Using AV1 Video Codec

YouTube has already started doing this (though it has led to mixed results for some users). Compared to libgav1, libdav1d is significantly more efficient and performs noticeably better in decoding AV1 videos.

Of course, hardware-accelerated decoding is still preferred, but many devices lack AV1 HW decoder units.

Google states that most Android phones can decode 720p30 video using libdav1d.

This improvement is significant, considering that even low-end devices can smoothly play high-quality AV1 videos without consuming much power.

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