Testing by Facebook engineers found that the Alliance for Open Media's new video codec, AV1, outperforms widely-used standards like the x264 and VP9 codecs, Facebook announced in a post on its engineering blog this week. While AV1 exhibits better compression, videos do take longer to encode with the new format.

The Alliance for Open Media is a consortium of video-on-demand providers that was formed in 2015. The group includes big names in video streaming like Netflix and Google, as well as Facebook itself. AV1—short for AOMedia Video 1—was released in March.

Testing was performed using 400 popular Facebook videos that were filmed primarily on smartphones in resolutions of 1080p or lower. According to the post, AV1 showed "30% better compression than VP9, and achieves gains of 50.3%, 46.2% and 34.0%, compared to x264 main profile, x264 high profile and libvpx-vp9, respectively."

Better compression means less data use for streaming video. As streaming content pushes into 4K and beyond, that's increasingly important. And the higher the resolution, the better AV1's compression is, leading testers to conclude that the codec "will likely deliver even higher efficiency gains with UHD/4K and 8K content." Exciting stuff, especially for the data-capped among us.

You can dig into the nitty-gritty of Facebook's findings, complete with graphs and equations, on its engineering blog.