AV1 codec version 3.5 greatly improves CPU encoding performance

In short: Google has just released AV1 3.5, the latest version of the video coding technology that is threatening to become a major player in the content and media industries. The codec now features much more efficient CPU encoding, and hardware support is also growing.

Just four years after its initial release in March 2018, the AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) codec is emerging as a very attractive competitor to H.264 and HEVC/H.265 as the industry’s most widely used video standard. Hardware support is accelerating, and now developers have released a new version of the royalty-free technology that brings quite remarkable gains in coding performance in CPU-bound scenarios.

Google engineers have just released the latest version, AOM-AV1 3.5, which maintains compatibility with the previous iteration. It introduces a new API and features while improving speed and memory optimizations. Version 3.5 of AV1 is significantly more efficient when used with multithreaded processors. Depending on the resolution of the source, the encoding times are significantly reduced. Tests showed a 34 percent reduction in coding time on a CPU with 16 or more threads.

According to the official change list, the new codec can use frame-parallel encoding to achieve a best performance improvement of 30-34% for 1080p videos, while 2160/4K resolutions an 18-20% faster encoding time on a 32-thread CPU .

Streaming software, including OBS Studio, video editing and recording tools, can take advantage of the increased power of AV1 to provide users with a more enjoyable and effective experience. The codec already supported parallel encoding of frames on a larger number of threads with the “–fp-mt” parameter, but in version 3.5 the option is available by default.

The software side of the AV1 project has improved with each new release, and the hardware side of things is looking more and more optimistic too. Intel Arc GPUs will support AV1 hardware encoding and decoding, as will NVIDIA’s upcoming GeForce RTX 40-series gaming cards. Meanwhile, Google is working behind closed doors to gain industry support for even broader use of AV1 video technology in media content and streaming platforms.

https://www.techspot.com/news/96102-av1-codec-version-35-greatly-improves-cpu-encoding.html AV1 codec version 3.5 greatly improves CPU encoding performance

Chris Barrese

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