Netflix may be known for its video streaming service, but the company also handles many images and because of this, it has released an update to a new image file format called AVIF (AV1 Image File Format) that it believes can Replace the JPEG.
The video streaming giant has even opened the AVIF framework to allow others to compare it with existing image codecs in terms of performance and compression efficiency.
Over the past two years, Netflix has developed AVIF under Alliance for Open Media together with Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Mozilla and others.
However, at the same time, the creators of the 27-year JPEG specification, the Joint Photographic Experts Group, have been developing a new JPEG specification called JPEG XL.
In addition to JPEG XL, AVIF also competes against the WebP format that Google is developing and is currently compatible with Android, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
However, WebP is not perfect and Netflix engineers point out in a blog post that it does not have the flexibility of the JPEG 2000 format, although it supports lossless coding, as well as a lossless alpha channel that makes it more efficient and a more alternative Quick to PNG in some cases.
The final competitor of AVIF is high-efficiency video coding or HVEC and is a successor to advanced H.264 video coding and is compatible with iOS and macOS.
According to Netflix, AVIF can provide superior compression efficiency compared to other image file formats, but AVIF is still at an early stage of development. The Alliance for Open Media is developing the libavif open source library to encode and decode AVIF images that should help stimulate the adoption of the new image file format.
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