Microsoft has been in support of the AV1 codec for several years and now says it is preparing to bring support to Windows 10. According to the company, the support will arrive next year on Windows 10 version 1909 and newer.
AV1 is a codec that was announced by the Alliance for Open Media (AOM) back in 2017. It is an open and royalty free codec that will replace H.264 as the leading codec for online streaming. Microsoft has been a supporter of AV1 since 2018 when it announced plans to bring the free codec to Windows 10.
That support makes sense considering Microsoft is a member of the AOM alongside Amazon, Google, Intel, Mozilla, Cisco, and Netflix.
Microsoft says support for AV1 in Windows 10 1909 and newer will start rolling out later this year. The company promises the platform will improve compression by 50% over H.264.
When available, AV1 in Windows will allow users to save bandwidth when playing videos in a browser. Essentially, Windows 10 will be able to leverage a codec that compresses video files and reduced data usage without compromising streaming quality.
“Enabling hardware support for AV1 allows users to get the benefits of this improved video codec, and shifting decode work from software to hardware typically reduces power consumption and increases battery life on mobile devices.”
YouTube and Netflix on Android are two services that already support content on the codec. According to Microsoft, support on Windows also means better battery performance. However, those gains will not happen until streaming companies catch up with their own support on the web.
Microsoft points out the feature will only work for new devices running Intel 11th generation CPUs, RTX 30 series GPUs, or the RX 6000 graphics.