Intel, Netflix Pitch Codec

Lynn Comp discusses the transformation of media.

Intel, partnering with Netflix, introduced and talked up a new high-performance video codec available as open source and royalty-free to content creators, developers and service providers. Called Scalable Video Technology for AV1 (SVT-AV1), the software-based codec offers performance gains and greater bandwidth efficiency in dealing with ever-increasing quantities of video, executives said.

“There is a shift from passive consumption to intelligent visual experiences” that are more immersive and interactive, with more opportunities to hone in effectively on viewers advertisers want to reach, said Lynn Comp, vice president at Intel’s Data Center Group, during a Monday keynote pitching Intel’s approach. She said, “It is media transformed. It is media in the next evolution.”

Intel had said last September, when it released the HEVC-AV1 encoder, that it was working toward an AV1 codecs, Comp explained.

“Today, I am proud to announce the release of SVT-AV1 into open source. We have been doing this in tight collaboration with our launch partner, Netflix, and we can finally say who we are working with! We’re very excited.”

David Ronca, director of encoding technologies at Netflix, appeared on stage with Comp and said it was important that Intel, Netflix and other players continued to invest in technology to enable continued video innovation on the internet. Ronca encouraged developers and video experts to join the SVT-AV1 community and to “contribute, explore, adopt and commercialize.”

Comp said, “This sets the stage for the industry to innovate and unleash rich and immersive video experiences.”

She cited the growth of global gaming platforms such as Fortnite; communities of people who get together and walk their dogs while also hunting for Pokemon Go characters; and increased interest in virtual reality and augmented reality in settings such as training manuals for complicated machinery or creating 360-degree training simulations. Intel said the SVT-AV1 codec is available to developers under a permissive BSD+Patent license.

Comp and Ronca invited interested NAB Show attendees to an SVT-AV1 event Tuesday starting at 4 p.m. at Booth 207 in the South Upper Hall. Comp added that Intel has launched the Open Visual Cloud, an open-source project that includes a set of user case-optimized reference pipelines for visual workloads.