Visionular continues to push its AV1 software encoder Aurora1 forward by enhancing coding efficiency, computing performance, and launching commercial deployments. Thanks to the AOMedia-funded dav1d project, Visionular identified feasible user scenarios for AV1 where software decoding solutions could be utilized and this has been an important foundation to the growth of the standard and Visionular's solution.
With the latest release, Aurora1 now covers all the use cases for video sharing and distribution, including premium video-on-demand (VOD), live streaming, real-time communications (RTC) for distance learning and video conferencing, and website image optimization using AVIF. Visionular has launched Aurora1 commercially with multiple customers and is collaborating with nearly a dozen engineering teams to extend AV1 to a wider market.
As a result of the work that was completed with early customers, Aurora1 is now capable of streaming 1080p 30fps+ high-motion video in real-time with superior bandwidth savings at the same objective and subjective quality, as compared to other encoding solutions. Aurora1 is also capable of encoding screen content using the AV1 Screen Content Coding tools and this makes it perfectly suited for RTC, education, and remote collaboration applications with real-time video and screen sharing. Using Aurora1 in RTC applications, most users experience a bandwidth savings of 50 to 75 percent while requiring extremely low CPU usage. To accelerate AV1 into the RTC and collaboration market, Visionular has teamed up with Agora.io to launch distance learning solutions. Visionular has also been working closely with Twitch and Mozilla, aiming to provide highly stable, reliable AV1-based live streaming services with very low latency.
With demand for AV1 expanding, Visionular is collaborating with video-sharing services in Africa where consumption is almost exclusively on lower-end mobile phones that impose strict requirements on the decoder's performance and power consumption. Here is where the superior compression efficiency that is possible with AV1 really shines. Bandwidth in Africa is low, and this means the video encoder must deliver the highest quality and resolution possible at the lowest bitrate. Visionular was able to demonstrate that AV1-based Aurora1 could save more than 20% on typical high-motion sports videos, when compared with current bitstreams, and deliver a good video experience as low as 150kbps. Given a demonstration of this, Visionular customers recognized the potential for AV1 to help drive their businesses forward.
When asked what most excited her about Aurora1, Visionular's co-founder and President Zoe Liu cited the product's sterling performance in the annual Moscow State University Codec Study. "We are genuinely proud of our Visionular team members' hard work and proud to be a member of the AOMedia community. MSU rolled out strict rules for the competition, enforcing an encoder to meet the encoding speed bar while demonstrating the standard advantages of AV1."
The MSU competition represents the best round-up of video codec implementations in the video streaming and delivery industry. Video encoding engineers worldwide rely on this comprehensive and objective study to guide their codec selection decisions and the best implementations for their use cases.
Visionular first participated in the November 2019 MSU study, where its Aurora1 AV1 encoder came out on top for all objective metrics: a remarkable achievement given the newness of the implementation. For the 2020 study, the competition was steep, and yet Aurora1 prevailed again or was among the top three codecs as measured for the "best quality" using SSIM, PSNR, and VMAF. Aurora1 also joined the winning group for best speed-quality tradeoff using SSIM
"We have much more to share about our efforts and results launching Aurora1. One of our customers, Cloudinary, recently published a blog that highlights their recent deployment of AVIF - the image codec standard derived from AV1 for images, which mentions they have switched to our encoder solution. Cloudinary is the leading media management solution provider worldwide and is listed in Forbes's The Cloud 100 for both 2019 and 2020. The blog explicitly states that 'instead of an off-the-shelf, royalty-free codec, Cloudinary leverages the best proprietary codec available. We recently switched over to Visionular's best-of-breed encoder, which is significantly more efficient.' We are sincerely honored, and we appreciate this great achievement for both our team and the AV1 community." – Zoe Liu, President, CTO & Co-Founder of Visionular.