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(Pocket-lint) - Netflix has announced plans to switch its video streaming codec to a more efficient file-type in order to improve streaming.

It will eventually be implemented across all of its apps, but the most immediate impact will be on mobile data plans. You could end up saving money as a Netflix show or movie will require less data to stream in its entirety.

The streaming service is switching to the royalty-free AV1 video codec, which is approximately 20 per cent more efficient when it comes to compression in comparison to VP9 - as currently used. That means streams can be around 20 per cent smaller in file size, and that will please those who with smaller data allowances on their mobile plans.

Or even, in places like the US, those at home who have data caps on their broadband.

Some mobile providers, such as Three in the UK with its Go Binge incentive, offer unlimited Netflix streaming without impacting on mobile data limits. However, not everyone has that option in the UK, let alone other countries around the world.

Netflix changing its codec, therefore, will benefit many, if not most of its customers.

Android first

To begin, the streaming service is rolling out AV1 use to its Android application - with some shows and films being switched over already.

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There are plans to then introduce it across the board, with other mobile platforms (iOS?) first on the agenda: "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," it wrote on the Netflix Blog.

"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." 

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 6 February 2020.