Netflix now supports the AV1 codec when streaming to some TVs, the company announced on Tuesday. It’s only available on certain devices to start with, though that list includes any TV connected to the PS4 Pro, so if you have one of those, you can give AV1 Netflix streaming a shot.
Netflix shared this lineup of supported devices:
Select Samsung 2020 UHD Smart TVs
Select Samsung 2020 UHD QLED Smart TVs
Select Samsung 2020 8K QLED Smart TVs
Samsung The Frame 2020 Smart TVs
Samsung The Serif 2020 Smart TVs
Samsung The Terrace 2020 Smart TVs
Any TV connected to a PS4 Pro streaming with the Netflix app
Select Amazon Fire TV devices with Fire OS 7 and above
Select Android TV devices with Android OS 10 and above
Netflix noted in its blog that “we are working with external partners to enable more and more devices for AV1 streaming,” so hopefully more hardware will be compatible soon. And the company also says it’s “exploring” the possibility of AV1 streams with HDR.
AV1 can lean on high-powered modern processors to stream better quality video with more compression than other video codecs, and in Netflix’s testing, it observed that AV1 delivered higher quality videos at the same bitrate as other formats and that testers saw fewer noticeable drops in video quality.
But this move likely isn’t entirely motivated by better streaming performance; since AV1 is an open-source codec, Netflix also won’t have to pay royalties to use it. The codec has broad industry support and is managed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), which counts Apple, Amazon, Facebook (now Meta), Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Samsung and more as members.
Netflix first supported AV1 videos in its Android app in February 2020. At the time, it touted better streaming with AV1, saying that it saw a 20 percent improvement in compression when compared with the VP9 codec. In a blog for that announcement, Netflix said that its goal was to “roll out AV1 on all of our platforms,” and when we asked Wednesday, Netflix declined to share a timeline of when we might see AV1 Netflix streaming on other devices.