To transmit high-quality videos without sending huge files, streaming services use codecs, which compress the content. The problem is that some of the most used codecs are patented and involve payment of royalties and even lawsuits for breaking these patents.
In order to end this problem, Google met with other technology giants in 2015 to launch a completely royalty-free codec that would maintain the high quality of the videos, thus launching the AV1, which had its tests started in 2018.
The novelty features higher quality with smaller files when compared to other codecs, and seems to start slowly gaining adherents, with Netflix announcing support in February, and MediaTek having the only processor for smartphones compatible with the AV1. Google now expands the reach of its creation by making it available on the YouTube app on smart TVs.
At the moment, the vast majority of smartphones and Android TV boxes perform AV1 decoding via software, which is cumbersome for CPUs and increases power consumption. On TVs, only four chipsets have hardware decoding, two from Broadcom (bcm72190 and bcm72180) and two from MediaTek (RTD1311 and RTD1319)
The update notes, in fact, mention that the function will only be available, which may indicate that only TVs equipped with one of these chips will be able to use the AV1, at least for now. The new version of the app is now available on the Play Store, and can be downloaded directly from the TV, or even programmed through the browser.
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