Android Update to Boost AV1 Video Performance on Budget Phones

Android Update to Boost AV1 Video Performance on Budget Phones

Google is set to roll out an update that will significantly enhance video playback on affordable Android devices. The change centers around the AV1 video codec, promising smoother video streaming and reduced data usage on phones and tablets that lack specialized AV1 hardware.

Key Highlights

  • AV1 codec for better efficiency: AV1 offers higher compression than older codecs, delivering comparable quality at lower bitrates.
  • Enhanced streaming for budget phones: Update to benefit devices without dedicated AV1 decoding hardware.
  • Reduced data costs: AV1 efficiency can lead to savings on mobile data plans.
  • Smoother playback: Improved performance expected, particularly in apps like YouTube and other streaming services.

Android Update to Boost AV1 Video Performance on Budget Phones

What is AV1?

AV1 is a royalty-free, open-source video codec developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). It’s designed as a successor to older codecs like VP9 (also from Google) and the popular H.265/HEVC. The main advantage of AV1 is its superior compression efficiency. It can deliver the same visual quality as older codecs while using approximately 30% less data.

Why This Update Matters

Many high-end Android devices already include hardware specifically designed for AV1 decoding. However, budget and mid-range devices often lack this specialized hardware and rely on slower software decoding. With this upcoming Android update, Google aims to optimize AV1 software decoding for better performance.

The Expected Impact

Owners of budget-friendly Android devices are likely to see the most significant benefits from this update. Streaming services including YouTube, Netflix, and others could start offering AV1 versions of their videos. With enhanced decoding, these videos should play more smoothly with less buffering, especially on weaker internet connections. Additionally, users on limited data plans may see reduced data consumption when watching videos in AV1 format.

How it Works

The change involves replacing Google’s existing AV1 software decoder (libgav1) with the more efficient libdav1d decoder, developed by the VideoLAN project. libdav1d leverages the device’s CPU to decode AV1 videos, optimizing performance on devices that lack dedicated hardware.

Release Timeline

While Google hasn’t announced a specific release date, the AV1 update is anticipated to be included in the March 2024 Google Play System update.

What This Means for Users

The most noticeable impact will be on budget and mid-range Android devices. Users of these phones should experience smoother playback of AV1 videos from services like YouTube or Netflix. Reduced buffering, especially on slower connections, and potential savings on data usage are also likely benefits.

The Bigger Picture

By making AV1 playback more accessible, Google could also be influencing broader industry trends. Streaming services might accelerate the adoption of AV1-encoded videos knowing a greater swath of Android users can enjoy them.

The Future of Video Streaming

The growing adoption of the AV1 codec signals a significant shift in the video streaming landscape. Its superior efficiency benefits both content providers and consumers. This Android update aims to make those benefits accessible to a wider audience, particularly those who rely on budget-friendly devices.

This upcoming Android update holds the potential to transform the video viewing experience on countless affordable smartphones and tablets. By bringing smoother AV1 playback to these devices, Google is unlocking the benefits of this next-generation video codec for a broader user base. This change underscores a continued commitment to improving the Android experience for all users


About the author


Ashlyn Fernandes

Ashlyn is a young communications professional with disciplined training and apt exposure. He has been a voice for a number of media houses in the country and overseas. Travel, Technology, Consumer, Real Estate and Healthcare have been his main areas of practice using conventional messaging with effective digital strategies.