AOMedia Member Spotlight with Netflix’s Manager, Android Player Infrastructure, Jeff Watts

AOMedia Member Spotlight with Netflix’s Manager, Android Player Infrastructure, Jeff Watts

2020-03-02T13:05:06-04:00 March 2nd, 2020|Member Spotlight|

Please introduce your company and yourself briefly.

As Manager for Android Platform Infrastructure, I’m responsible for leading Netflix’s playback experience on Android. Netflix is a streaming service that offers a wide variety of award-winning TV shows, movies, anime, documentaries, and more on thousands of internet-connected devices.

What first brought you to AOMedia, and why did you decide to become a member?

Netflix is one of the cofounders of AOMedia. We believe in AOMedia’s shared vision to make media technology more efficient and cost-effective while providing superior quality for all of our customers on each of their devices.

We help make this vision a reality by contributing compression technologies to the codec working group, investing in open-source AV1 tools such as SVT-AV1 (a joint collaboration between Netflix and Intel), and providing expertise to evaluate AV1 on entertainment content. Our most recent contribution is our sponsorship of an optimized 10-bit decoder for the ARM platform in the open-source dav1d project.

AV1 represents Netflix’s continued investment in delivering the most efficient and highest quality video streams. While we have taken our first public launch with AV1 on lower resolutions in mobile, we plan to expand up to HD, 4K, and HDR video on all platforms.

What are you currently working on with regard to AV1? How will end-users benefit from your work? Businesses? Markets?

In February, we released support for AV1 in our Android mobile app. As mentioned in our announcement, we focused this first implementation on lowering the data usage for those customers who use our Save Data feature.  Getting AV1 supported in our Android mobile app also allowed us to update our encoding and delivery infrastructure to support AV1 at scale.  With this foundation in place, we plan to expand to gaming consoles next, with PS4 likely being our first AV1-capable console.   

We are also exploring opportunities with the AV1 Image File Format (AVIF) as Netflix makes heavy use of images in its applications.  Rich imagery helps our customers discover stories that are meaningful to them.  Our encoding team has recently published their research on using AVIF for Next Generation Image Coding. We believe the AVIF has the potential to improve data usage further.

What AOMedia efforts are you most excited about?

I am most excited to see AV1 appear in the mobile chipsets. With hardware support, we can start pushing our AV1 support into higher resolutions. Because we have an AV1 pipeline ready, we are in a good position to help evaluate this hardware as it becomes available. I look forward to sharing our learnings with the first AV1 hardware when it comes out.