Netflix's New Data Saving Feature Explained

By Tegan Jones on at

This week Netflix has announced that it has begun using AV1 on its Android app. If you're not sure what this is, don't worry – we have your back.

Spoiler alert: it's a good thing for your mobile data.

What is AV1 and how does it save my data?

Av1 is an open, royalty-free video codec that has been around since 2015. According to Facebook's tests, it offers between 30 and 50 per cent better data compression than Google's VP9 codec standard. As an added bonus, there is reportedly no loss in picture quality.

Why is AV1 good for Netflix and other streaming services?

Better data compression means that streaming Netflix will use up less of your data. And since quality isn't significantly impacted, your TV shows and movies will still look the same.

Which platforms support AV1?

At the moment both Chrome and Android support AV1. But since its free, you can probably expect to see more platforms adopt it. When it comes to Netflix, it's only on Android for now. Hopefully it will come to iOS in the future.

Netflix addressed this in its announcement blog post:

"While our goal is to roll out AV1 on all of our platforms, we see a good fit for AV1’s compression efficiency in the mobile space where cellular networks can be unreliable, and our members have limited data plans."

Netflix also plans to roll it out into the hardware space:

"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."

Will AV1 work on all Netflix content on Android?

At the moment it doesn't sound like it. In a blog post Netflix said "Selected titles are now available to stream in AV1 for customers who wish to reduce their cellular data usage."

How do I turn on AV1 and data saving in the Netflix app?

All you have to do is open the Netflix app and hit More > App Settings > Mobile Data Usage > Save Data. [Netflix Tech Blog]


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