Discord, a social platform that supports text messaging, voice calls, and video calls, is enabling support for hardware-accelerated AV1 video streaming for Nvidia's GeForce 40-series graphics boards, which are among the best graphics cards money can buy today. This is the first communication platform to support both hardware acceleration of AV1 encoding and decoding using the Ada Lovelace microarchitecture.
"Discord is currently rolling out an update that enables AV1 streaming with GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs," tweeted Gerardo Delgado, Nvidia's product line manager for content creators. "The update is rolling out starting this week and will slowly populate to all users. With AV1 you'll be able to stream up to 4K60 with nitro, at 8 Mbps!"
The AV1 codec significantly reduces bandwidth requirements for high-resolution, high-framerate videos. By adding support for AV1 encoding even for just one family of GPUs, Discord will reduce the upload bandwidth needed for high-quality video streams for content creators and download bandwidth requirements for viewers with hardware that supports AV1 decoding. For those with a graphics processor that does not support AV1 decoding, the service will transcode video into something ubiquitous, such as H.264.
Nowadays, several video streaming services like Netflix and YouTube stream videos in AV1 to hardware that supports AV1 decoding. Meanwhile, Discord is currently the only communication platform that supports AV1 decoding and encoding. This may not be surprising as Discord primarily aims at gamers, and this audience tends to own the latest and greatest hardware.
Speaking of hardware, it is necessary to note that all the latest GPUs from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia support AV1 encoding and decoding. Therefore, it is likely that Discord and, eventually, other communication software will support hardware-accelerated AV1 encoding and decoding using other GPUs.