Microsoft Launches Free AV1 Video Codec for Windows 10

Microsoft has just released a free AV1 video codec for Windows 10 devices, and users can download it right now from the Microsoft Store.

Available as part of an early beta program, the codec is available for PCs, Surface Hub, and HoloLens, as Microsoft itself explained in the Store.

Oddly enough, the codec can only be installed on devices running Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which is no longer up for grabs after Microsoft pulled it last month. The October update came with several major bugs, including an issue that could have caused the removal of user files stored in libraries.

Just the first build

Microsoft says that while the codec should run smoothly on all Windows 10 devices, there’s a chance small performance issues may be spotted when playing AV1 videos. However, this is something that Microsoft promises to improve in the coming updates for the codec.

“Play AV1 videos on your Windows 10 device. This extension is an early beta version of the AV1 software decoder that lets you play videos that have been encoded using the AV1 video coding standard developed by the Alliance for Open Media,” the company says.

“Since this is an early release, you might see some performance issues when playing AV1 videos. We’re continuing to improve this extension. If you allow apps to be updated automatically, you should get the latest updates and improvements when we release them.”

It remains to be seen how often Microsoft updates the codec in the coming months, but I’ve already tried it out for a test earlier today and the initial release seems to be running just fine. You can install the codec from the Microsoft Store to be notified when new versions are out, and make sure you report any potential issues to Microsoft for more bug fixes.