Understanding AV1 Codec: Advancements in Video Compression

4 Mins read

The proliferation of internet video streaming services has led to significant advancements in video compression technology. Recently, there have been a series of video codecs emerging to achieve even higher compression rates than before. Among them, the AV1 codec (AV01 Codec) has garnered significant attention. In this context, we will explain the overview of the AV1 (AV1) codec, how it differs from VP9 and AVC1, and provide instructions on how to download YouTube videos in the specified codec and convert them to MP4.

AV01 (AV1) Codec

The AV01 codec is a video compression codec developed for internet video streaming purposes. It was developed by the Alliance for Open Media, a non-profit organization. It builds upon Google’s VP9 codec and incorporates technologies from Daala, Thor, and VP10.

While it’s available for free, it represents the latest in compression technology. When compared to relatively more commonly used codecs like AVC/H.264 and HEVC/H.265, the AV01 codec offers better video streaming efficiency, allowing for the transfer of more videos in less time.

As a result, the AV01 codec is known for its fast online transfer speed, good quality, and high compression rate. It’s an attractive tool that has gained popularity due to its availability at no cost. However, it has not yet become widely adopted by the general public. The AV01 codec is primarily supported in web browsers like Google Chrome 70 and later, Mozilla Firefox 67 and later, Opera 57, and media players such as VLC media player 3.0, mpv v0.29.0, and MKVToolNix v22.0.0. For decode sources, it’s supported by VideoProc, FFmpeg 4.0, GStreamer 1.14, and MediaInfo v18.03.

While it’s popular in the industry, it has not become as ubiquitous for general users.

VP9 Codec

VP9 is a free video codec developed by Google. It is positioned as the successor to VP8 and was developed starting around 2011 with the goal of maintaining similar video quality to VP8 while compressing videos at half the bitrate.

VP9 is commonly used in container formats like Matroska and WebM and finds widespread use in online video streaming platforms, including YouTube. It is also supported in web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, making it a commonly encountered codec for users.

The advantages of VP9 include its ability to deliver high-quality video at low bandwidth, making it essential for applications like internet-based video conferencing and video streaming.

AVC1 Codec

AVC1, also known as H.264, is part of advanced video compression technology. This codec efficiently compresses high-quality video content, making it suitable for streaming and downloading. AVC1 is widely used on video-sharing platforms and video streaming services and is supported by many devices and players. It enables the storage of high-quality video in small file sizes, improving the online video viewing experience.

Differences Between AV01 (AV1) and VP9

There are several differences between AV01 and VP9:

  1. Licensing: Both AV01 and VP9 are royalty-free, meaning no fees are associated with their usage. They are open standards, but they have different development entities behind them.
  2. Compression Efficiency and File Size: AV01 generally offers higher compression rates compared to VP9 because it was developed with the goal of achieving higher compression. While VP9 is widely used and mature, it doesn’t achieve the same bitrate reduction as AV01.
  3. CPU Usage: AV01 uses more complex algorithms, resulting in higher CPU usage during encoding. VP9, on the other hand, has lower CPU usage in comparison to AV01.
  4. Compatibility: VP9 has better compatibility as it is widely used globally and supported in various devices and browsers. AV01, due to its complexity, may not be compatible with older devices or browsers, which can limit its use in certain situations.

Differences Between AV01 (AV1) and AVC1

Here are the differences between AV01 (AV1) and AVC1 (H.264):

  1. Licensing: AV01 is royalty-free, while AVC1 requires licensing fees due to patent restrictions. This is a significant difference in terms of cost.
  2. Compression Rate: AV01 achieves higher compression rates than AVC1, thanks to its hybrid compression algorithms from Daala and Thor.
  3. Compatibility: AVC1 has broader hardware support and is widely supported on various devices. AV01, on the other hand, is supported only by specific chips for hardware encoding, limiting its hardware compatibility.
  4. Future Trends: AVC1 is currently more widely adopted, but AV01 is expected to gain popularity as a potential replacement for AVC1 in the future due to its superior compression capabilities.

These differences should be considered when choosing between these codecs for specific applications and use cases.

Downloading YouTube Videos in Specific Codecs

The provided instructions are for using StreamFab YouTube Downloader to download YouTube videos with specific codecs. Here’s a summary of the steps:

Step 1: Download and install StreamFab YouTube Downloader.

Step 2: Launch StreamFab and click on “YouTube” to access the YouTube website. Play the video you want to download.

Step 3: In the download screen, you can specify the resolution, format, video codec, and subtitles.

  • For video codec selection, you can choose between H.264, VP9, or AV1 based on your preferences and the video’s quality and resolution requirements.
  • H.264: Offers high quality and excellent compatibility with most devices. Suitable for general videos and standard-resolution content. Choose this for smooth playback and broad compatibility.
  • VP9: Ideal for high-resolution videos, including 4K and 8K content. Offers improved quality and reduced video data size but may not be supported on some older devices or browsers. Choose this for high-resolution content.
  • AV1: Provides even higher compression rates than H.264 and VP9, significantly reducing video data sizes. However, AV1 is not yet widely supported and may not work on all devices or browsers. Choose this if you want maximum compression.

Step 4: Click the “Download Now” button, and the YouTube video download will start. You can monitor the progress in the “Downloading” section.

Once the download is complete, the video will be moved to the “Downloaded” section.


In summary, AV01 is one of the video codecs used for compression technology, and you can download YouTube videos with this specific codec using StreamFab YouTube Downloader, along with other codec options like H.264 and VP9. The choice of codec depends on your preferences and the compatibility of your playback devices and browsers. AV1, while offering high compression, may not be supported on all platforms. StreamFab YouTube Downloader offers a free option for downloading YouTube videos with your preferred codec and format.

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