Netflix is still the king of streaming, but its competitors are catching up faster than ever. With the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and all the others rapidly cannibalizing every cord-cutter in sight, Netflix is doing its best to stay one step ahead with new features that make its app just a little bit better.
To that end, Netflix just announced that it’s rolling out a new way to save data when streaming on the go, and it’s all about the new AV1 codec. The codec, which has been in the works for years and has the support of companies like Google and Amazon, offers more efficient compression, saving data along the way. The big catch? It’s only available on Android devices on mobile.
Here’s now Netflix explains things:
AV1 is a high performance, royalty-free video codec that provides 20% improved compression efficiency over our VP9† encodes. AV1 is made possible by the wide-ranging industry commitment of expertise and intellectual property within the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia), of which Netflix is a founding member.
At the moment, the codec can be enabled by enabling the “Save Data” feature in the Netflix app on Android. However, doing so won’t immediately convert all your content to the new codec for mobile streaming. Netflix notes that only select titles will benefit from the new codec, and it’s still unclear what Android devices will actually support this new mode, as we all know Android smartphones are not all created equal.
“As codec performance improves over time, we plan to expand our AV1 usage to more use cases and are now also working with device and chipset partners to extend this into hardware,” Netflix says.
So, if you have a newer Android phone and love to watch Netflix on the go, this might be an easy built-in way to save some data and, subsequently, some cash just by flipping the digital switch in your Netflix app.