It’s Time for Real-Time AV1 Video Encoding withWebRTC


With WebEx announcing support for real-time AV1 video encoding, it means that Cisco, Google, and Millicast (CoSMo) are the only platforms offering Live Real-Time AV1 encoding with WebRTC in a production environment

With WebEx announcing support for real-time AV1 video encoding, it means that Cisco, Google, and Millicast (CoSMo) are the only platforms offering Live Real-Time AV1 encoding with WebRTC in a production environment.

“16 years after H.264, it’s time for something new. Today, we demo’d an industry first: live, real-time AV1 encoding and transmission in a Webex meeting, with HD video & screen share!” — Anurag Dhingra, Cisco Webex CTO

The New Normal: AV1 Encoding for VOD

There has already been a mass migration to AV1 for video-on-demand encoding with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and many other streaming platforms. And no wonder, with billions of devices that can already support AV1 decoding and a royalty-free ecosystem, AV1 is quickly replacing H.264 and H.265 as the standard for video-on-demand encoding.

AV1-enabled devices are now supported on all modern silicon.

In non-realtime business models, the coding efficiency is the key to reducing costs, and the adoption of the new codec has been fast because it translates into real cost savings.

It’s Time for Real-Time

The adoption of AV1 for real-time encoding has been slow. But for over two years, Millicast and CosMo has been at the forefront of Real-Time AV1 by participating, as a member of the Alliance for Open Media, on the standardisation of the AV1 RTP Payload.

Alex Gouillard, CoSMos Software CEO, presented on “Real-Time AV1 in WebRTC” at the AOM Research Symposium 2019:

The AV1 RTP payload specification enables usage of the AV1 codec in the Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and by extension, in WebRTC, which uses RTP for the media transport layer. More details and a demo can be found in this post.

Millicast is at the forefront of realtime AV1 adoption, integrating the codec throughout their real-time streaming and recording workflow, including Server-side Ad-Insertion that uses Real Time server-side transcoding of H264/HLS ad-content into AV1/WebRTC that was developed in collaboration with Intel.

At the Big Apple Video conference in New York last year, Cisco unveiled its real-time, high quality AV1 encoder that reduces bandwidth, enables next-generation high-motion content and avoids the patent issues that have plagued the deployment of HEVC (H.265):

“A lot has changed in the last 16 years. We have self-driving cars, smartphones, social media and virtual reality, but we still rely on H.264 for video compression — a technology that was introduced back in 2003 and is now showing its age. Unfortunately…addressing these issues with HEVC (aka H.265) comes with unacceptable patent cost, risk and uncertainty.” — Thomas Davies, Principal Engineer in the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group

This means that, when sharing the most challenging type of content into your meeting, such as a sports video, a commercial, or any type of high-motion graphics, the new AV1 codec is used to help you share the very best quality possible.

Contact us for more information on AV1 with WebRTC, and sign up for a free trial of Millicast to start using WebRTC to stream globally, at scale, in under 200ms.

Millicast WebRTC Platform
Ryan Jespersen

Director of Product Strategy

Ryan Jespersen has extensive experience in the digital video, broadcast and streaming industries, specializing in live streaming workflows, protocols, transcoding, cloud computing, and complex video delivery systems at companies including Wowza, Millicast and now Dolby.

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