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Facebook begins AV1 trials

Social network is delivering AV1-encoded video over MPEG-DASH on Chrome Canary

Facebook has begun trials of new video compression technology AV1.

The social networking site said in a blog post that the trial “allows engineers and the general public to view sample AV1 content today.”

Facebook is testing delivering AV1-encoded video over MPEG-DASH on Chrome Canary, an experimental version of the Chrome browser. 

The initial trial is using an earlier version of AV1, but Facebook said it plans to switch to the official AV1 release version once major web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have implemented the new codec.

Facebook also said AV1 has some caveats, as it requires longer encoding times than current alternatives because of the increased complexity.

To help to overcome the slow performance of the AV1 encoder, Facebook is using a “segment-based encoding approach” that splits the video into smaller segment files.

“In the context of distributed video encoding and processing, per-segment tasks are executed in parallel for every video segment of a given input video so that it allows us to speed up the overall AV1 encoding almost linearly with the number of tasks allocated to the encoding cluster,” Facebook engineers Daniel Baulig and Yu Liu said.