OBS takes a step towards AV1 encoding

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The popular streaming tool OBS Studio is starting to open up to AV1 encoding. For those who have no idea what AV1 can do, it is an encoding protocol that is up to 30% more efficient than H.265 while offering better quality images. It’s obviously a promising format that is making its way relatively quickly. We use the word “relatively” because for the moment AV1 is not recognized by Twitch and if OBS has just included it in its update, it is at the price of certain conditions.

AV1 encoder OBS

So you’ll understand, you won’t be able to stream on Twitch with AV1 but to record and only through the NVIDIA NVENC encoder on RTX 40 GPUs. AV1 encoding currently only works with NV12 (8-bit, 4:2:0) and P010 (10-bit, 4:2:0) color modes. But despite all these restrictions, this is an important step forward. AV1 has many advantages that will quickly become decisive with the increase in video quality and the widespread use of 4K. The fact that it is free to use (without license fees) also explains why the entire industry is working to adopt the format.

So don’t worry, if this OBS step requires for the moment an RTX 4090, the other evolutions should arrive quickly. AV1 encoding is also supported by Intel Arc GPUs. And interestingly, a small A380 that costs less than a tenth of the price of an RTX 4090, is able to do the job. We’ll come back to this shortly.

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