If you use the Netflix Android app to stream content (and we know you do), we’ve got some good news for you! On the back end, Netflix is now using the AV1 codec that provides 20% improved compression efficiency over VP9 encodes.
If you’re scratching your head over that last sentence, don’t worry: we were too. In layman’s terms, Netflix is now streaming some of its content using a new system that will compress files with up to 20% more efficiency. That boils down to you seeing the same quality of Netflix streaming but needing to use up to 20% less data.
In a nutshell, some of your Netflix Android app streams will consume less data than they used to.
To watch a stream using the AV1 codec, you’ll need to select the “Save Data” feature when watching content on your Android device. If you can’t see the “Save Data” feature, that means that particular content is not currently available to stream with the AV1 codec. You’ll need to select something else.
Since this new codec is operating on the server-side of things, it doesn’t matter which Android device you’re using or whether you’re connected via Wi-Fi or a mobile network. There also shouldn’t be any degradation in quality, either, so hitting the “Save Data” button is a no-brainer if you’re watching on your Android phone or tablet.
In Netflix’s announcement of the news, it clarifies that this only is in effect on the Android app for now. If you use any other platform to stream Netflix, nothing’s changed there. Netflix wants to expand the use of the AV1 codec to other platforms aside from the Netflix Android app, but it’s focused on just Android for now.