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AV1 vs H265 Decode – Spec Comparison & Differences

AV1 vs H265 Decode

AVI (AOMedia Video 1) is an open-sourced video coding format developed by AOMedia (Alliance for Open Media). It is a next-generation video compression technology designed to surpass the VP9 codec and compete with HEVC. Unlike HEVC, AV1 is an open and royalty-free video coding format that doesn’t require licensing fees. The recent MSU codec comparison report shows that the AV1 is presently the superior quality video encoding format.

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HEVC (H265) is the successor to AVC/H.264. It is a high-efficiency video coding technique that provides 25% to 50% better data compression when compared to AVC (at the same level of video quality). Also, it boasts better video quality at an identical bit rate.

With this overview of AV1 and H265 decode, let’s go through the detailed comparison among them:

AV1 vs H265 Decode:



The key aim of implementing the AV1 codec is to convey a higher compression rate to HDR, UHD 4K, and 8K videos with higher bitrate and higher resolution. It, therefore, saves the bandwidth but in higher quality and faster speed even under an unsteady connection.HEVC was purposely developed to offer UHD HDR contents with broader color gamuts. Therefore, you enjoy high-res 4K/8K videos with fine details but consume more CPU power.
The compression rate is increased 30% to 50% better than H265. Also, it accelerates live streaming.H265 guarantees to convey high-quality 4K video up to 75% smaller than before and smoothen out the 8K video playback. The excellent efficiency of data compression makes it capable of delivering more data in a video. Consequently, this results in wider color gamuts, higher dynamic range, and larger resolutions.
AV1 will perhaps use WebM, which Google developed. It is a high-quality and open video format designed for HTML5 web video and WebRTC.H265 typically uses MPEG MP4 and MKV container format.
AV1 is the future 4K codec format for the web that provides 30-40% more bandwidth efficiency than H265. Netflix and YouTube will begin using AV1 for relatively faster 4K/8K video as well as VR content streaming.Presently, Ultra HD 4K/8K TVs, 4K monitors, and other hardware and software support H.265 codec. H.265 is developed to process 2K/4K/8K ultra HD videos more efficiently as well as 3D video processing.
AV1 decode complexity is lesser than HEVC decode since the CPU performs it.AV1 video encode algorithms are more advanced, demanding more powerful hardware.
Limited compatibilityHEVC is extensively adopted by newer-generation devices, software, hardware, and operating systems. The users can opt to transform H.265 to H.264 if there are compatibility issues.

Other points of differences between AV1 and H265:

  • AV1 intends to be 30% more efficient than VP9 and HEVC. Tests carried out on a broad range of resolutions and bitrate depict that the average bitrate of AV1 is decreased by 17%, compared to H.265.
  • In terms of 4K Ultra HD 2160p video, AV1 surpasses HEVC up to 43.90% compared to 720p of 37.81%.
  • HEVC encode and decode needs 4-10 times the computing power at the same speed as the H.264 format because of its complexity. This is because H.265 has to deal with CPU and memory-intensive tasks.

Final words:

Having known all the essential aspects of AV1 and H.265, the question now arises: which one to choose. The AV1 coding format is found 30% to 50% more efficient.

Unlike H.265, which demands hardware manufacturers to pay license fees, the AV1 is royalty-free and open.

With Google, Apple, Netflix, YouTube, Adobe, Intel, AMD, Nivida, etc., software giants joining in the AOMedia, the creator of the AV1 coding format, i.e., A1, will observe quick adoption as well as hardware support. AV1 can potentially substitute H.265 and dominate the 4K UHD content processing.

Although it is said that Apple’s support for AV1 indicates the termination of H.265 adoption, it is still a long way for AV1 to rule the market. But, it is crucial to switch from H.265 to AV1 because there is in sheer need for a technology that benefits consumers and content creators. Moreover, the AV1’s royalty-free status transforms itself to be more competitive.

If you need a free and next-gen video codec to save on bandwidth and cost, then AV1 is the appropriate choice. On the other hand, H.265 is a better choice if you want real-time and low latency encoding.

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