Free AV1 decoder, Dav1d, now covers the entire AV1 specifications for both 8-bit and 10-bit color depth. The decoder is also much faster than the reference codec developed by Alliance for Open Media and could be integrated into Firefox as soon as the beginning of next year.
This news was posted on the personal blog of one of the lead developers of the open source VLC media player and president of VideoLAN on-profit organization, Jean-Baptiste Kempf. It took the Dav1d developers only two months after they officially announced the launch of the decoder, to implement the AV1 specifications.
Dav1d now covers the entire specification for AV1 in both 8 and 10 bit color depth. Also, the decoder should be up to 400% faster than the initial reference decoder developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), the consortium of companies behind the open-source royalty-free video format. According to Kempf, the decoder and the AV1 codec are ready for integration in products.
Dav1d was created by developers of VLC Player and the VideoLAN and FFmpeg community because they found the reference decoder provided by AOMedia too slow. Their goal was to create a reference optimized decoder for AV1 that was small, as fast as possible, cross-platform and both free and open-source. This resulted in Dav1d, which is now also sponsored by AOMedia.
AV1 competes with the closed-source video format H.265 (also known as HVEC). According to Kempf, AV1 should be up to 20% better than H.265 for which also royalties have to be paid.
Since AV1 decoder Dav1d was announced two months ago, more than 500 contributions by 29 developers have been added to the code.
Besides adding specific features to Dav1d like Film Grain, Super-Res and Scaled References, the developers also spent some resources on security. The code is fuzzed, which means that it has been checked by an automated tool for vulnerabilities and other potential risks.
Kempf concludes his blog post with, “Dav1d is very fast, dav1d is almost complete, dav1d is cool. We’re finishing the rough edges for a release soon, so that we can hope that Firefox 65* will ship with dav1d for AV1 decoding. On the other platforms, SSE and ARM assembly will follow very quickly, and we’re already as fast on ARMv8. Stay tuned for more!”
* Firefox 65 is schedulded for the end of Janary 2019