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Netflix on Android gets data-saving video mode – here’s how to use it

Netflix has adopted an alternate video codec on Android which will reduce data consumption when streaming over mobile networks.

The new AV1 codec (not to be confused with the old AVI video format), promises 20% improved compression efficiency, which is a boon to those hoping to save data when out of Wi-Fi range.

Netflix says it wants to bring the new codec to all platforms, but for now Android users can enable the Save Data option for “select titles” in it vast library. To access it, select the More tab > App Settings > Cellular Data Usage.

Netflix says the device is designed for those with limited plans, but everyone can benefit from the change, which is now available within the latest version of the company’s Android app.

Related: How to find 4K HDR on Netflix

In an announcement today, the company said: “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. Selected titles are now available to stream in AV1 for customers who wish to reduce their cellular data usage by enabling the “Save Data” feature.”

The open-source format developed by the Alliance for Open Media, which Netflix founded alongside fellow online video giants like Google and Amazon. YouTube has already adopted the format on the web, for example.

It’s inclusion on Android is possible via the open-source dav1d decoder built by the VideoLAN, VLC, and FFmpeg communities. Netflix says it has optimised the decoder to ensure it can play titles from it library.

The company adds: “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.”

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