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MediaTek Announces First SoC with AV1 Hardware Acceleration

MediaTek has announced it will enable YouTube video streams using the cutting-edge AV1 video codec on the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 5G SoC. The MediaTek Dimensity 1000 is the world's first smartphone SoC to integrate an AV1 hardware video decoder, enabling it to play back AV1 video streams up to 4K resolution at 60 fps. With its improved compression efficiency, AV1 gives users incredible visual quality and smoother video experiences, while using less data.

Video streaming is the number one activity in smartphone use, so by using the Dimensity 1000's more power efficient hardware-based AV1 video decoder, users can enjoy longer battery life while still streaming at the best quality settings. Combined with its ultra-fast 5G connectivity in a single chip, the Dimensity 1000 leads the industry in design and capability.

YouTube and Netflix Begin Rationing Their Bandwidth as Lockdowns Surge Online Traffic

Popular video streaming sites YouTube and Netflix have reportedly started rationing their bandwidth by limiting video quality, as online traffic to their services surge to record levels. With COVID-19 lockdowns forcing people to take to online entertainment, the sites are reporting an unprecedented strain on their finite Internet bandwidth. In Europe, the two sites have capped their video quality to 480p, or slightly worse than DVD quality.

Despite the mighty backing of AWS, the world's largest CDN, Amazon's Prime Video is also finding itself having to cap quality based on regional bandwidth constraints. Google is already engaging with governments and ISPs to minimize strain on available Internet bandwidth. Streaming video remains the number one bandwidth consumer. Governments would want to prioritize bandwidth for companies operating remote- or virtual desktops for their employees working from home. Perhaps there's no better time to upgrade online video codecs to newer bandwidth-efficient ones like AV1.

Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform Detailed, Features PCIe 4.0 and Xe Graphics

Intel's upcoming Rocket Lake-S desktop platform is expected to arrive sometime later this year, however, we didn't have any concrete details on what will it bring. Thanks to the exclusive information obtained by VideoCardz'es sources at Intel, there are some more details regarding the RKL-S platform. To start, the RKL-S platform is based on a 500-series chipset. This is an iteration of the upcoming 400-series chipset, and it features many platform improvements. The 500-series chipset based motherboards will supposedly have an LGA 1200 socket, which is an improvement in pin count compared to LGA 1151 socket found on 300 series chipset.

The main improvement is the CPU core itself, which is supposedly a 14 nm adaptation of Tiger Lake-U based on Willow Cove core. This design is representing a backport of IP to an older manufacturing node, which results in bigger die space due to larger node used. When it comes to the platform improvements, it will support the long-awaited PCIe 4.0 connection already present on competing platforms from AMD. It will enable much faster SSD speeds as there are already PCIe 4.0 NVMe devices that run at 7 GB/s speeds. With RKL-S, there will be 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes present, where four would go to the NVMe SSD and 16 would go to the PCIe slots from GPUs. Another interesting feature of the RKL-S is the addition of Xe graphics found on the CPU die, meant as iGPU. Supposedly based on Gen12 graphics, it will bring support for HDMI 2.0b and DisplayPort 1.4a connectors.
Intel Rocket Lake-S Platform

Intel Partners with Netflix to Deploy AV1 CODEC as its 4K Backbone

At The National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB Show) today, Intel and Netflix announced a new high-performance video codec that is available as open source and royalty-free to content creators, developers and service providers. Scalable Video Technology for AV1 (SVT-AV1) offers performance and scalability in video processing.

"The SVT-AV1 codec offers both high performance and efficiency. And compared to today's most popular codec (H.264 AVC), SVT-AV1 can help service providers save up to half their bandwidth, delivering leading-edge user experiences that can be quickly and cost-effectively delivered at a global scale. This codec makes it possible for services ranging from video on demand to live broadcast of 4Kp60/10-bit content on Intel Xeon Scalable processors, including the recently launched 2nd-Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor," said Lynn Comp, Intel vice president of the Network Platforms Group and general manager of the Visual Cloud Division.

AVIF an AV1-based Compressed Still Image Format that Challenges HEIF, Goes v1.0.0

AVIF is a derivative of the AV1 compressed video format for still images that offer image-quality rivaling the HEVC-derived HEIF, while demonstrating superior compression. Earlier this month on February 19, the format was formally published on GitHub as version 1.0.0, collaboratively edited by engineers employed by Netflix and Microsoft, even as development of the AV1 format itself was largely led by Google. AV1 is sought after by on-demand video service companies for its royalty-free nature compared to HEVC. Netflix eyes AV1 as its key to ramp up to 4K and HDR content. YouTube, too, is looking to phase out H.264 in favor of AV1. AVIF, on the other hand, could challenge HEIC, which is the default image format used by Apple in its iOS devices. Google could propagate AVIF though its Android ecosystem, letting consumers capture photos in the format that saves storage space and data bandwidth.

Intel Posts Open-Source AV1 Encoder for Online Streaming Servers

Intel posted an open-source video encoder for the new AV1 video format, targeted at online streaming servers that process large amounts of online videos for streaming. The new SVT-AV1 (Scalable Video Technology-AV1), is an BSD-2-Clause-Patent licensed video encoder that supports Linux, Windows, and MacOS operating systems, optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors based on the "Skylake" microarchitecture and older, as it probably leverages the AVX-512 instruction-set. It has some pretty steep hardware requirements from a client viewpoint, but nothing big video stream service providers can't afford: 48 GB of minimum RAM for a 10 bpc 4K stream, or 16 GB for a Full-HD stream. The encoder can scale up to 112 logical processors. Intel earlier offered a similar encoder for the proprietary H.265/HEVC format, with SVT-HEVC. You can inspect and grab SVT-AV1 from Intel's Git.

YouTube Begins Beta-testing AV1 CODEC on Beta Web-browsers

YouTube began posting its first test videos that implement the AV1 video CODEC, which aims to significantly reduce video stream bandwidths without sacrificing quality, exceeding the compression standards set by even HEVC. AV1 provides an architecture for both moving and still images, and Google, which is partly funding its development, foresees a future in which it replaces entrenched standards such as JPEG and H.264. Besides better compression, its key USP is its royalty-free license, which could translate to tangible operating-cost savings for YouTube and other video streaming services.

YouTube developers posted this playlist with a selection of videos that are encoded in AV1. You may not notice a reduction in your data consumption just yet, because the first batch of videos have been encoded at a very high bitrate to test performance. Future playlists (which will pop up on YouTube Developers channel), could test the CODEC's other more important aspects, such as data savings. To watch them, and test YouTube's AV1 player for them, you'll either need Chrome 70 beta or the latest nightly-build of Firefox (64.0a1), which pack AV1 support.

Alliance for Open Media Announces the AV1 Royalty-free Video Format

Consumers' video expectations are being shaped by the brilliant images promised by 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video and beyond. However, the technical-based hurdles and data demands of higher quality video mean that the majority of users only have access to full HD or lower video technology. For nearly three years, the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) has been working in lock-step with its members, the world's best-known leaders in video, to develop a better quality internet video technology that benefits all consumers. Today, the Alliance is proud to announce the public release of the AOMedia Video Codec 1.0 (AV1) specification, which delivers cross-platform, 4K UHD or higher online video, royalty-free - all while lowering data usage.

Whether watching live sports, video chatting with loved ones, or binging on a favorite show, online video is becoming a bigger part of consumers' daily lives. In fact, video is so important to users that by 2021, 82 percent of all the world's internet traffic will be video, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index , 2016-2021. To remove many of the hurdles required by older, optical disc-era, video technologies, AOMedia developed AV1 specifically for the internet video-era, paving the way for companies to make more of the royalty-free, 4K UHD and higher video devices, products, and services that consumers love.

Google and Mozilla Push for AV1 Image Format Adoption, Beats JPEG and HEIC

Google and Mozilla, the companies behind the Chrome and Firefox cross-platform web-browsers; are pushing for the adoption of a new web image format to replace the ageing and inefficient JPEG, and the license-ridden HEIC. The two companies are leading a consortium of Internet businesses, called the Alliance for Open Media, to push for the proliferation and standardization of the new AV1 image file format. Early testing shows AV1 files to be 15 percent smaller than HEIC for comparable quality, which in turn promises half the file-size of JPEG for comparable quality. Apple uses HEIC as the default image file format for iOS and MacOS, while JPEG, PNG, and GIF continue to be the dominant web image formats, and have been prevalent for over two decades now.

"It seems downright silly that we're still relying on compression tech from 20 years ago," said Kelly Thompson, general manager at 500px, a photo sharing and sales site. "The equipment we're using to capture and display images is now exceeding JPEG's upper limits." JPEG is not just inefficient, but also has severe color palette limitations, and lack of support for transparency. Adoption of newer image file formats could significantly reduce Internet bandwidth usage benefiting both end-users running on slower/metered connections; and for infrastructure providers, such as ISPs.
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