Mozilla says it’s finally ready to add support for the AV1 codec in the Firefox browser. While competitors like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have long supported hardware-accelerated AV1 video codec, Firefox missed out on this feature. But at long last, the browser is finally catching up.
According to a recent update spotted on Mozilla’s bug tracking platform Bugzilla, Firefox will soon be adding support for the hardware-accelerated AV1 decoder. The feature will arrive as part of the Firefox 100 release, which is scheduled to release on May 3.
Bug 1652945 – Added support for the Windows Media Foundation AV1 decoder for hardware decoding.
So why is AV1 support a big deal? For the unaware, AV1 is a royalty-free, open-source video codec that’s widely seen as a replacement for the H.264/AVC codec, which is what most streaming services currently use. It offers better compression efficiency (up to 50%) and improved visual quality than its predecessor VP9 and H.264 and H.265 codecs. More efficient compression means reduced battery consumption for portable devices such as tablets and laptops. Moreover, content encoded in AV1 generally maintains higher quality at a smaller file size than content encoded in H.264. As such, it can greatly improve the viewing experience on slow internet connections.
However, not every Firefox user will benefit from the AV1 codec support. That’s because your system must support AV1 hardware acceleration to fully take advantage of the codec. Microsoft says AV1 is supported on Windows 10 and 11 devices with the following system requirements:
- 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs
- AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series Graphics
AV1 support will finally bring Firefox on par with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. As mentioned above, the feature isn’t live in Firefox yet and will be implemented in the upcoming release (version 100). We’ll be sure to let you know when it rolls out to the public.