Qualcomm Snapdragon to support AV1 in 2023

wco81

Legend
Qualcomm's 2022 flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, doesn't support AV1. Samsung's Exynos 2200 managed to ship the video codec this year in international versions of the Galaxy S22, while the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 SoC has been shipping in phones for over a year now with AV1 support. Apple is a founding member of the AV1 Alliance, but its devices also don't support the codec yet.

The report says Qualcomm's "upcoming flagship Snapdragon mobile processor"—model number "SM8550"—will support AV1. That would probably be called the "Snapdragon 8 Gen 2" SoC, due out in 2023.

Wide adoption of AV1 seems inevitable, though it is taking a while. The codec is a successor to Google's VP8 and VP9 codecs and is being built by the Alliance for Open Media. The alliance's lineup is a who's who of tech companies, with founding members like Amazon, Apple, ARM, Facebook, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Nvidia, and Samsung. Netflix and Google's YouTube are both making AV1 support "a requirement" for future products that want to support either video service. That should motivate just about every hardware and software vendor out there to get the job done.

AV1's major competition is H.265, aka HEVC, developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Some tests show the newer AV1 codec having 30 percent higher efficiency than H.265, but what really matters is that AV1 is royalty-free. When using the H.265 codec, vendors have to pay various licensing fees for H.265's patented technology, while AV1 members have pledged to pool their patents to create the royalty-free codec. Being open source and royalty-free also means that AV1 support is welcome in open source codebases like Firefox and Chromium, while H.265 is not.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2022/02/report-qualcomm-will-support-av1-video-codec-in-2023/


Maybe Apple has ties to MPEG so they're going to hold off on AV1 support as long as they can. Could Hollywood prefer H.265 because of royalties?

Apple makes money from iTunes store sales of movies and TV shows, not to mention the studios it works with to acquire content for their streaming service.
 

Albuquerque

Red-headed step child
Veteran
Wait, why do you think AV1 HW decode would decrease your battery life? If you're using AV1 today without hardware decode for it, then moving to dedicated decompressor hardware would extend your battery life, not shorten it.

Why do you think dedicated hardware would shorten battery life?
 

Dampf

Regular
Wait, why do you think AV1 HW decode would decrease your battery life? If you're using AV1 today without hardware decode for it, then moving to dedicated decompressor hardware would extend your battery life, not shorten it.

Why do you think dedicated hardware would shorten battery life?

Because my laptop does not have HW decode for AV1, as I have said.

Of course dedicated hardware would increase battery life while watching AV1 significantly, but again, my laptop does not have HW decode for AV1.

Youtube has supported H.264 for over a decade. VP9 will probably be around for awhile too. Don't fret.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/enhanced-h264ify/

Yeah I had to use that addon when VP9 was still new, on my old haswell based laptop.

If AV1 ever happens to replace VP9, I hope there will be a similar addon that forces VP9 instead of AV1.

It would suck for the countless mobile devices that still have no AV1 decode, especially the newer Snapdragon Gen 1 phones. If VP9 gets replaced by AV1, there will be significantly higher battery drain on these still pretty new devices and there would be nothing you could do.
 
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Albuquerque

Red-headed step child
Veteran
Because my laptop does not have HW decode for AV1, as I have said.
Ah, I misunderstood what you were conveying. I get it now.
tt would suck for the countless mobile devices that still have no AV1 decode, especially the newer Snapdragon Gen 1 phones. If VP9 gets replaced by AV1, there will be significantly higher battery drain on these still pretty new devices and there would be nothing you could do.
Well, it's not going to change overnight -- at least partially because AV1 decode hardware isn't prevalent just yet. If you recall, all prior video codecs which are currently hardware accelerated were, at some point in the past, not hardware accelerated and required more CPU power and software overhead. As you already know, those more modern, more capable video codecs moved from software to hardware and became ubiquitous.

So the move to AV1 might very well still impact legacy devices at some point, probably around the time that AV1 hardware decode exists in a far higher percentage of the hardware in people's hands. I wouldn't get too twisted up about it.
 

swaaye

Entirely Suboptimal
Legend
Yeah I had to use that addon when VP9 was still new, on my old haswell based laptop.

If AV1 ever happens to replace VP9, I hope there will be a similar addon that forces VP9 instead of AV1.

It would suck for the countless mobile devices that still have no AV1 decode, especially the newer Snapdragon Gen 1 phones. If VP9 gets replaced by AV1, there will be significantly higher battery drain on these still pretty new devices and there would be nothing you could do.

YouTube is already pushing some AV1 videos. It seems to be fairly common with highly popular vids. And that plugin does allow you to disable AV1 on YouTube so it will use VP9 and H.264 instead. That's why it's called Enhanced H.264ify ;)
 

arandomguy

Regular
Have they started pushing AV1 even for lower resolutions? I thought getting meaningful bitrate (at already low bit rates) savings on AV1 over VP9 at 1080p and lower is somewhat problematic from a quality perspective. Doing a quick search it seems people do report youtube 1080p AV1 encodes being more "blocky" than VP9.
 

arandomguy

Regular
Apple's been in AOMedia since 2018 which suggests that have some interest in AV1. But just throwing this out there Apple did kind of go against the grain with audio and iTunes as a product differentiator. I'd wonder especially with their streaming service now whether they might be (or have been) at least thinking about doing the same for audio.

There was speculation that Qualcomm and Samsung would be the AV1 holdouts in order to push EVC.
 
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