Following in the footsteps of Google, LG, Samsung and others, Sony has embraced the open, royalty-free AV1 video format. It is supported in hardware in all Sony 2021 Google TVs.
AV1 gains traction
If you open Amazon, Netflix, Disney+ or Apple TV+ and press play on a 4K movie, the video will have been compressed and is served in HEVC (H.265), the official successor to MPEG4 (H.264).
HEVC is quite effective but also expensive in royalties and an IP mess. In response to the problematic roll-out of HEVC, companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix formed the Alliance for Open Media, which developed AV1 as an open, royalty-free video format/codec for SD, HD, 4K, HDR, and 8K streaming.
In 2021, Sony will embrace AV1. The Japanese company has confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that all of its 4K and 8K 2021 models – both OLED and LCD – with Google TV will support AV1 hardware decoding.
- "All models above X80J have AV1 hardware decoding but only for 4K resolution and OTT application," Sony said in a written statement to FlatpanelsHD.
Sony notes that AV1 is supported for video in up to 4K resolution but not 8K resolution (in Z9J), and only for streaming apps (no USB support). AV1 support also suggests that Sony's 2021 TVs will have an upgraded SoC compared to the 2020 models.
Also read: Sony unveils 2021 'XR' OLED TVs A90J & A80J – HDMI 2,1, brighter OLED panel, more Also read: Sony's 2021 4K & 8K LCD TVs feature HDMI 2.1, FALD, Google TV
Netflix, YouTube & others
LG and Samsung implemented AV1 in 2020 where Netflix and YouTube started the transition. TCL, TP Vision (Philips) and other TV makers have also committed to AV1.
We are still not sure if Sony is planning is planning to adopt AV1 or stick with HEVC for its new Bravia Core streaming service. YouTube already offers AV1 streaming on compatible TVs.
There are alternatives to AV1 such as VVC (Versatile Video Coding, or H.266) and MPEG-5 EVC but AV1 is taking an early lead. The Alliance for Open Media said in 2018 that it is also developing a more advanced AV2 video codec.
You can check which video formats are supported in which TV models in FlatpanelsHD's TV Database.