The first three-digit version of the Firefox web browser introduces support for AV1 hardware decoding on the Windows operating system. Scheduled for release on May 3, 2022, Firefox 100 will use hardware decoding when playing AV1 video streams on Windows, provided the computer’s hardware is compatible.
Microsoft posted the requirements in October 2020 on its Tech Community website. According to this article, hardware-accelerated AV1 is supported on Windows devices with the following components:
- An 11th Gen Intel Core processor with Intel Iris X Graphics, or an Nvidia GeForce RTC 30 Series GPU, or an AMD Radeon RX 600 Series graphics card.
- Windows 10 version 1909 or later.
- The AV1 video extension, available from the Microsoft Store.
- A web browser that supports hardware acceleration support for AV1, or another application that supports it.
Newer hardware from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia may also support AV1 hardware decoding. AV1 promises better compression than H.264 and Google’s VP9. According to the Alliance for Open Media, it can offer 50% better compression than H.264 and 20% better than VP9.
When hardware decoding is enabled, AV1 media decoding work is transferred to the GPU, which should reduce power consumption and improve battery life on mobile devices.
Firefox and Chrome have supported AV1 media streams since 2018, when support was first added to both browsers. Windows 10 users can add AV1 support to their devices since 2018.
The Chromium project introduced Av1 hardware decoding support on Windows in 2020. Firefox 100 achieved feature parity with Chomium-based browsers. While Mozilla is late to the party, the organization noted a few months ago that only 2% of all devices supported the requirements.
The most important website that supports AV1 is YouTube. AV1 may be automatically selected by YouTube, but users can make AV1 the preferred media codec on YouTube by switching to “Always Prefer AV1” on this page.
Right clicking on a video and selecting “stats for nerds” shows whether AV1 or VP9 is being used then under Codecs in the overlay that opens.
Users interested in the implementation can check the entry on Mozilla’s bug tracking website, Bugzilla, for more information.
Now you: Does your system support Av1 hardware decoding? Have you played AV1 videos recently?