This has finally happened. Starting in version 100, Mozilla Firefox will use hardware acceleration when playing AV1 videos. The release is scheduled on May 3, 2022.
The appropriate 'bug' on Bugzilla reveals that the improvement is coming to Windows version of the browser. For that, users will have to install the appropriate AV1 codec from the Microsoft Store. The latter requires at least Windows 10, version 1909. Microsoft also mentions Intel Iris Xe Graphics / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30+ / AMD Radeon RX 600+ as a GPU requirement to get the acceleration feature working.
AV1 is one of the best open video formats. The codec is royalty free and built by Open Media Alliance which includes several industry giants, such as Amazon, AMD, Apple, Arm, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and more. AV1 meant to be a successor to the VP9 codec developed by Google, without relying on any MPEG patents.
The hardware acceleration support will allow the browser to reduce the load on CPU and involve GPU into image processing for AV1 streams. This will greatly extend battery life and improve the overall user experience on sites like YouTube.
Chromium browsers support AV1 since 2018, with hardware accelerated decoding being available since 2020. Finally, Mozilla Firefox catches the gap in 2022.
Besides better support for AV1, Mozilla is working with Microsoft and Google to make all the popular browsers follow modern standards and render web pages. The project aims to improve cross-browser compatibility and remove the need for specific CSS and JS hacks for each.
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