AMD And NVIDIA Provide Hardware AV1 Decoding, But Not Encoding
Things have changed over the past decade, with Microsoft now offering Linux based instances on Azure, various companies accepting that they need to open source at least some of their driver technology and now Intel being the first to hardware accelerate a royalty free codec. Stating these things 15-20 years ago would have prompted laughter and at least a few jibes aimed at the one claiming this would one day would be a thing, especially at the suggestion Intel would have a competitive discrete GPU. It turns out that they were prophetic, not delusional.
AV1 uses the open-source dav1d decoder which came out of the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities, with sponsorship from the Alliance for Open Media. Netflix have already adopted it for their Android app and intend to move many of their other apps to AV1 as well. The AV1 codec compresses their content by about 20% more than the current standards, VP9 and HEVC/H.265 and not only does it retain the quality it is capable of handling Netflix’s 10-bit color content.
If the AV1 codec does gain broader acceptance, content creators are likely to chose Intel Arc GPUs thanks to their native support for encoding AV1 for streaming, as neither AMD nor NVIDIA are able to provide that feature. GPUs from all three companies support hardware decoding for viewers but in this strange new world, Intel Arc is the only choice for streamers who want to use the latest technology.
Intel Arc A-Series GPUs are the first in the industry to offer full AV1 hardware acceleration, including both encode and decode, delivering faster video encode and higher quality streaming while consuming the same internet bandwidth. We've worked with industry partners to ensure that AV1 support is available today in many of the most popular media applications, with broader adoption expected this year.