Google’s Android TV platform drives digital boxes, dongles, projectors and even TVs themselves. Since the switch to Google TV has been underway, Google is adding a new requirement to all new Android TV devices – they must support the AV1 streaming codec.
If it sounds familiar, it’s probably because rumors of this news have been swirling for months at this point. @AndroidTV_Rumor and Protocol both mentioned Google’s forthcoming demand that AV1 should be supported in October last year, but today the people are at XDA has provided confirmation and a little extra context.
What does AV1 mean for Android TV? The new streaming codec is available to everyone through Alliance for Open Media and is designed to be more efficient when it comes to streaming video over the internet with very little impact on quality. Google specifically announced that it would push AV1 forward. Google has already started using AV1 on YouTube, Chrome and Duo on compatible devices and plans to expand its efforts to Google Photos, Play Movies / Google TV, Meet and even Stadia over time.
As far as AV1 support on Android TV today, it is already starting to expand. This codec requires newer hardware for the decoding process, which is why products that lack support, including Chromecast with Google TV, can not just get a software update to bring it. In particular, Sony’s new Bravia XR series, which runs Google TV, supports AV1 decoding, as does the latest Amlogic S905X4 chip used in multiple streaming boxes.
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