Discord Rolls Out AV1 Streaming Support For GeForce RTX Series GPUs

By Brian Choi on February 24, 2023 | Featured Stories Ada Ampere AV1 Discord RTX Studio Streaming

Broadcasters and live streamers take great care in delivering the best quality content to their audience. Whether for entertainment or education, streamers invest time and money to give their followers the best experience by buying higher quality microphones, cameras, and lighting. 

While streamers can control the equipment in their home studio, one thing they have little control over is the quality of their video streams. Sometimes you are limited by your internet bandwidth; sometimes the platform doesn’t allow you to upload at higher bitrate; and viewers may not always have access to the fastest internet where they are. This can lead to lower quality streams.

AV1 increases bandwidth and video quality by up to 40%.

While NVIDIA cannot improve upload and download internet speeds, we can make the most of the bandwidth available. The next generation, AV1 video codec delivers 40% improved encoding efficiency.  Simply put, streams broadcast using AV1 drastically improve the quality of streamed video. And now, Discord is the first major platform to deliver the benefit of AV1 to the people.

Discord, AV1 & RTX 40 Series GPUs — Better Together

Most livestreaming platforms support up to 8 Mbps streams - and that’s if you have an internet connection fast enough to stream that much. With the codecs available today — mostly H.264 — that meant that people could only livestream 1080p at 60FPS at best, and even that was risky if you played a game that had too much movement. With the encoding efficiency of AV1, streamers will be able to stream flawless 1080p quality, and even increase their resolution to 1440p and even 4K 60FPS content. 

Anyone on a PC will be able to watch AV1 streams on Discord supported by GeForce RTX 30 and 40 series GPUs.

Streamers equipped with GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs can immediately take advantage of this new feature by simply updating their Discord client to the latest version and enabling “AV1 video codec” in the “Voice and Video” Discord settings tab. Virtually anyone using Discord on a PC will be able to watch AV1 streams, either supported by hardware decode on GPUs and CPUs from 2020 and beyond, namely GeForce RTX 30 and 40 series GPUs, or a software decoder compatible with most modern CPUs. Streamers don’t even need to worry about compatibility.  If a viewer is watching from a device that doesn’t support AV1 — such as a phone — Discord will automatically transcode the stream to the next highest quality supported.

AV1 for Everyone

AV1 is going to transform the industry, allowing livestreamers to create better content, and leveling the playing field for those interested in taking on livestreaming even though they may not have access to the best high speed internet. And it will drastically reduce the bandwidth used for video content - which is the majority of online content, which has secondary implications like reducing energy consumption or costs for companies.

NVIDIA has been pushing AV1 for years, first through the inception of the codec with AOM, later by enabling the first AV1 hardware decoders for PC, and now by partnering with Discord to enable the first support for AV1 service.

With the democratization of AV1, streamers now have a powerful tool to bring higher fidelity content to their loyal fans.  This is an amazing leap forward in quality for influencers and followers all around the world, and will only get better as AV1 continues to thrive.