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NAB 2018: Netflix's Anne Aaron Talks AV1 Adoption

At NAB, Jan Ozer met with about a dozen companies with stakes in HEVC and/or AV1. This is another in a series of video interviews he conducted with them.

Jan Ozer: I'm at the AV1 Coming Out Party here in Las Vegas. I'm with Anne Aaron, director of encoding algorithms at Netflix. Thank you for joining us. What are you here celebrating tonight?

Anne Aaron: We're celebrating the launch of AV1.

Jan Ozer: Tell me about that. What does the launch mean? When is it going to be usable? When are you going to use it?

Anne Aaron:A bunch of companies have been working together to develop the AV1 standard through the Alliance for Open Media, so I'm happy that it's finally here. We're looking to use it by this year, by end of 2018. At Netflix, we've integrated the AV1 codec into our pipeline and basic encoding framework, and we've seen really good results. We hope that decoders and browsers can start playing them so we can deploy our streams.

Jan Ozer: You were saying before that you saw great results at 720p at 300Kbps.

Anne Aaron: It's actually 200Kbps.

Jan Ozer: Where is that relevant? Is that India and third-world markets or is that everywhere?

Anne Aaron: Everywhere where bandwidth is scarce. For other places in the world where people have data caps. You buy a 1GB plan like the Philippines or India, that's very important. It means more shows.

Jan Ozer: What are you seeing in terms of encoding time and decode requirements? 

Anne Aaron: Encoding time, right now, is very, very slow. The Alliance for Open Media focused on the standardization of the tools and not really the implementation. But I'm hopeful and I know that, I expect the complexity to go down. Probably around 5-10 times more complex than VP9, that's what we're expecting. Or if it's around that range, that's okay with us.

Jan Ozer: I guess your policy, if I was going to paraphrase it, is to serve every customer on every platform. What, if anything, does the launch of AV1 mean for HEVC?

Anne Aaron: We still have HEVC, especially for our 4K and HDR customers. We still have it.

Jan Ozer: What are you doing with HEVC within the context of HLS?

Anne Aaron: Right now, we're sticking with our 4K and HDR customers for HEVC.

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