Will AV1 codec format shape the future of surveillance industry?

A new encoding format called AV1 has caught my attention recently. AV1, which is claimed to be more efficient than H.265 encoding. It does sound like a game changer and see this video if you have no idea how efficient H.265 is compared to the standard H.264.

It actually takes a long long time for the surveillance industry to accept H.265 (HEVC) so will AV1 become the next wave?

Let’s first take a look on the spec of AV1. AV1 is an open, royalty-free next-generation video encoding format developed by the Alliance of Open Media Video. It was designed to replace Google’s VP9 and compete with H.265/HEVC. The goal of AV1 is to increase coding efficiency by approximately 30% on a VP9/HEVC basis.

Main features of AV1

Firstly, AV1 is completely against the standard H.265, which currently has a relatively high patent threshold, and there are four patent pools related to H.265, HEVC Advance, MPEG LA, Velos Media and Technicolor while AV1 is completely free no matter if you use it for commercial or non-commercial purpose.

Meanwhile, the H.265 encoding has higher hardware requirements and requires a processing chip with superior encoding performance, and the AV1 encoding format can run on a general performance processing chip.

Thirdly, AV1 has better network adaptability. Because the video coding standard was mainly created for the Internet, AV1 can better adapt to network media than H.265, and it is used in more network terminals. Meanwhile, H.265 has higher requirements for codec device carriers.

Another interesting fact is the AOMedia organization is sponsored by Google. The main players are browser vendors Google, Mozilla and Microsoft, hardware vendors AMD, ARM, Intel and NVIDIA, and Internet content providers Amazon and Netflix.

In the future, AV1 may be more used in the Internet (web cams), while H.265 is mainly used in industrial applications. However, it already took a long time for surveillance manufacturers to adopt H.265 since its first release. Currently, the use of AV1 in the surveillance industry is minimal but many has been expecting it to replace H.265 in the next 10-20 years because of the high royalty fee for HEVC licensing model.