The first three-digit version of the Firefox web browser introduces support for AV1 hardware decoding on the Windows operating system. Planned for a May 3, 2022 release, Firefox 100 will use hardware decoding when playing AV1 video streams on Windows, provided that the computer’s hardware is compatible.
Microsoft published the requirements back in October 2020 on its Tech Community website. According to that post, hardware accelerated AV1 is supported on Windows devices with the following components:
- An 11th generation Intel Core processor with Intel Iris X Graphics, or an Nvidia GeForce RTC 30 Series GPU, or an AMD Radeon RX 600 Series graphics.
- Windows 10 version 1909 or later.
- The AV1 video extension, available on the Microsoft Store.
- A web browser that supports hardware acceleration support for AV1, or another application that supports it.
Newer hardware by Intel, AMD and Nvidia may support AV1 hardware decoding as well. AV1 promises better compression than H.264 and Google’s VP9. According to the Alliance for Open Media, it may offer 50% better compression than H.264 and 20% better compression than VP9.
With hardware decoding enabled, AV1 media decode work is moved to the graphics processor, which should reduce power consumption and improve battery life on mobile devices.
Firefox and Chrome support AV1 media streams since 2018, when support was first added to both browsers. Windows 10 users could add AV1 support to their devices since 2018.
The Chromium project introduced support for Av1 hardware decoding on Windows back in 2020. Firefox 100 reaches 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 prominent website that supports AV1 is YouTube. AV1 may be selected by YouTube automatically, but users may make AV1 the preferred media codec on YouTube by switching to “Always prefer AV1” on this page.
A right-click on a video and the selection of “stats for nerds” shows whether AV1 or VP9 is used then under Codecs in the overlay that opens.
Users interested in the implementation may check out the entry on Mozilla’s bug tracking website Bugzilla for additional information.
Now You: does your system support Av1 hardware decoding? Have you played AV1 videos recently?