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Intel Releases Open Source Encoder for Next-Gen AV1 Codec

(Image credit: AOMedia)

Intel published its own open source CPU-based encoder for the next-generation and royalty-free AV1 codec (a codec is a program for encoding / decoding a digital data stream or signal). Intel is one of the main founding members of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), the non-profit group behind the development of the AV1 codec.

Intel SVT-AV1

Intel’s new encoder, called Scalable Video Technology AOMedia Video 1 (SVT-AV1), aims to fill the role of a good CPU-based encoding software tool until dedicated AV1 encoders are ready for prime time. The encoder supports the Linux, macOS and Windows operating systems.

A CPU-based encoder requires a beefy system, so it's no surprise the real-time encoding specifications for SVT-AV1 are no joke. SVT-AV1 requires Skylake-generation or newer Xeon processors with at least 112 threads and at least 48GB of RAM for 10-bit 4K video encoding. Outside of video streaming companies, these type of systems are out of reach for most. Consumers that want to encode AV1 videos may want to wait for dedicated AV1 encoding hardware to appear, which make take another year or so.

AV1 Moves Forward

The AV1 video codec is widely regarded as the next-generation codec to be adopted after h.264 and (to some degree) HEVC, not only because of significant improvements in video compression and the fact that it’s royalty free, but most of all because it seems that almost the entire technology industry is backing it through the AOMedia group. In the end, it’s adoption by video streaming sites, video-enabled applications and operating systems that will make or break a next-generation codec, and it seems that AV1 will get that support in spades.

Intel’s open source SVT-AV1 encoder joins the recently released open source dav1d AV1 decoder, so now video streaming companies have the full solution if they want to be early with their support for AV1 videos.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.