NVIDIA NVENC AV1 Encoder Support Added To FFmpeg, Achieves Nearly 100% Improvement Over HEVC

Jason R. Wilson
FFmpeg boosts the performance of the NVIDIA NVENC AV1 encoder with a massive gain of 75 to 100% 1

FFmpeg, a video processing command tool widely used, has begun support for NVIDIA's NVENC AV1 video encoder. Early reviews have discussed the performance benefit of lesser bit rates, but in surprising news outperforms the standard HEVC encoding (H.265) by as much as one hundred percent.

FFmpeg boosts the performance of the NVIDIA NVENC AV1 encoder with a massive gain of 75 to 100%

This revelation is excellent news for OBS users. OBS Studio, one of the leading streaming software titles free for users, recently signed AMD to its Diamond Tier sponsors, which shares equal status with NVIDIA and their GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs. AMD announced its partnership with OBS during last Friday's AMD RDNA 3 reveal. AMD is also slated to offer Intel's AV1 support, continually gaining ground every month since its launch.

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The encoder seems to be trading blows with hevc_nvenc. In terms of quality at low bitrate cbr settings, it seems to outperform it even. It produces fewer artifacts and the ones it does produce are less jarring to my perception.

At higher bitrates I had a hard time finding differences between the two encoders in terms of subjective visual quality.

Using the ‘slow’ preset, av1_nvenc outperformed hevc_nvenc in terms of encoding speed by 75% to 100% while performing above tests.

Needless to say, it always massively outperformed h264_nvenc in terms of quality for a given bitrate, while also being slightly faster.

— Timo Rothenpieler, author of the recent avcodec/nvenc: add AV1 encoding support for FFmpeg

The commit by Timo Rothenpieler for the NVIDIA NVENC AV1 encoding support in FFmpeg. Image source: FFmpeg Git via VideoCardz.

Almost every current and previous graphics card have offered support for AV1 decoding. Intel first introduced the AV1 decoding in their newest Arc series GPUs. Encoding, on the other hand, has recently been adopted into mainstream video codecs. AV1 encoding allows for better and more efficient acceleration on contemporary graphics cards. It is not the only choice available for users with hardware that sport decoding availability for streaming platforms like Twitch, but with the rapid growth of the AV1 video codec, AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA are each working diligently to be the main focus for consumers to choose their hardware over competitors.

News Sources: VideoCardz, Phoronix

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