Next generation image coding AVIF image format to be now supported by Chrome and Firefox

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Next-generation image coding AVIF image format to be now supported by Chrome and Firefox

AOMedia Video 1 (AVIF)(AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format designed for video transmissions over the Internet. It was developed as a successor to VP9 by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), a consortium founded in 2015 that includes semiconductor firms, video on demand providers, video content producers, software development companies and web browser vendors.

The AV1 bitstream specification includes a reference video codec. In the 2018 Facebook testing that approximates real-world conditions, AV1 achieved 34%, 46.2%, and 50.3% higher data compression than libvpx-vp9, x264 high profile, and x264 main profile respectively.

Now the new lightweight and royalty-free AVIF image format is coming to web browsers. The testing is almost complete on adding AVIF support to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

As was the case with AV1, Firefox was the first browser to announce support for AVIF. Mozilla started work on adding AVIF support to Firefox in January 2020 with plans to add it to Firefox 76 last May. If the calendar was turned upside down by the health crisis, Mozilla is now testing AVIF in Firefox Nightly, and the official support for AVIF images should be operational later this summer, with the release of Firefox 80, at the end of August.

On Chrome, this feature is also scheduled for release this year, in Chrome 85, also expected in August. According to an article by Gerrit, Google skips the test phase because it considers that there is “little risk” to add this support for AVIF to the browser and that it will activate it by default for all users once Chrome 85 goes live.

The format is based on AV1 encoding, which is a video codec that was developed in 2015, by the Alliance for Open Media founding members – Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix. Shortly after its launch, it quickly became one of the most popular royalty-free video codecs on the market. As AV1 matured, the Alliance for Open Media decided to expand the AV1 format to also include images.

Based on the AV1 compression algorithms, the AVIF format was created to reduce the image volume of other web scenarios, with image-quality rivaling the HEVC-derived HEIF. As long as users have the appropriate AV1 video codec installed on the Microsoft Store ( free download), AVIF images will now load natively on Windows 10 applications like Paint and File Explorer.AV1

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