Apple Safari 16.4 beta supports AV1 codec

AV1 is a next-generation video coding format developed by the Alliance of Open Media Video, which is open and free. Designed for ultra-high-definition resolution, wide color gamut, and high dynamic range enhancement, it improves encoding efficiency by about 30% on the basis of VP9/HEVC. AV1 is being used to replace Google’s VP9 and compete with H.265/HEVC.

Samsung join AOMedia
In recent years, more and more GPUs and APUs support AV1, and many streaming services have begun to add AV1 support to their platforms. The only industry giant not making progress on this front is Apple, whose M-series chips do not yet offer hardware acceleration for the AV1 codec. Things may be changing though, Apple listed the MediaCapabilities API for AV1 encoding and WebRTC AV1 hardware decoding in the Safari 16.4 beta version.

It is mentioned in the changelog that these features will be supported on devices with this capability, the problem is that no Apple product has this capability at this stage. Since Apple stopped updating the Safari browser on the Windows platform in 2012, it cannot be used in the Windows operating system. It is more likely that Apple’s future A17 Bionic and M3 series chips will support AV1, and Apple is preparing for this in advance. In fact, it was reported last year that Apple added a new option for AV1 video in its AVFoundation framework, which is ready to provide support for AV1 decoding on systems such as tvOS, iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, but with the support level of Apple hardware, it can only be soft decoding.

You must know that Intel, Nvidia, AMD, and MediaTek have all supported AV1, and even Qualcomm, which has been slow and criticized, on the newly released second-generation Snapdragon 8 mobile platform, an AV1 video decoder is also integrated. Obviously, Apple’s action is much slower.