OBS Studio now supports the RTX 4090’s powerful AV1 encoder

Sayem Ahmed
OBS studio AV1

A new update to OBS Studio will now add support for the RTX 4090 and 4080’s dual AV1 encoders. This will be a boon to anyone using the software, as it allows for higher quality without much more overhead.

Today, OBS studio included support for hardware AV1 encoding on the RTX 40-series, such as the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 graphics cards. This is a part of the Nvidia NVENC, which is commonly used to encode video. AV1 encoding is much quicker than H.264. It will allow for an upgrade of up to 40% when it comes to raw performance compared to the 30-series.

OBS now supports AV1 encoding for recording, however, it has not yet become available for streaming. This is because no platform, such as Twitch, currently supports AV1. However, this might change as more GPUs adopt this encoding format.

AV1 will only improve streaming if Twitch & YouTube support it

Nvidia seems to be pushing the idea that AV1 should be the standard encoding of streamed content. This is shown through a video that showcases that AV1 offers better picture quality with fewer artifacts. In addition to this, you also get less image degradation. All the while, it all still runs at the exact same bit rate. This means that for no cost to the user, you just get much better image quality.

Right now, with no platforms currently supporting AV1. This means that OBS cannot hook it into the streaming parts of its software. The technology needs to be adopted by the likes of Twitch and YouTube in order to bring these advancements to users. However, since we’re still very early on, it’s likely that this big change won’t happen for a few years. Unlike H.264 and H.265, there is no licensing fee for use of AV1, giving more of an onus to switch. But, you’ll still need the right hardware in order to decode it.

Amazon, the owner of Twitch is a part of the group that developed AV1, so hopefully, support is not too far off, either.

We’d love to see companies move quicker, and adopt the more efficient tech. Intel also supports AV1 on its new graphics cards, while it remains to be seen if RDNA 3 GPUs follow suit. GPU manufacturers should be rushing to support it, as it seems to bring genuinely game-changing performance.

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