This fall, Microsoft's hardware partners are rolling out hardware accelerated AV1 video support on new Windows 10 systems
with the latest GPUs. With video consuming an ever-increasing portion of the world's internet traffic, better compression technology helps to improve video image quality while also reducing bandwidth consumption. AV1, which is developed by the Alliance for Open Media
(AOM), can reach 50% better compression
than H.264 and 20% better than VP9
for the same video content. Enabling hardware support for AV1 allows users to get the benefits of this improved video codec, and shifting decode work from software to hardware typically reduces power consumption and increases battery life on mobile devices.
Here are the components required to experience hardware accelerated AV1 video on Windows 10:
- One of these new GPUs or CPUs:
- Windows 10 build 1909 or later
- The AV1 Video Extension
- A web browser or other application with hardware acceleration support for AV1, including apps built on top of Media Foundation
- As is common with new features like this, you may need to update your graphics driver from time to time to get the latest features and improvements.
Once you have those pieces in place, you will see the benefits of hardware accelerated AV1 video as streaming services roll out more video content encoded with AV1.
If you want to look under the hood to see when you are receiving AV1, some streaming services have ways to show this information. For example, on YouTube you can right-click on the video and select "Stats for nerds". When the video is AV1 encoded, you will see "av01..." in the "Codecs" line on the stats overlay.