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It's time to replace GIFs with AV1 video (singhkays.com)
321 points by singhkays 68 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 314 comments

While investigating if I could actually use this—animated PNG, I found this website and it convinced me it is the new direction I should take: http://littlesvr.ca/apng/gif_apng_webp.html

Animated PNG seems to be the least-bad option that covers every key GIF feature, and most importantly will be supported by every major browser once Edge-Chromium ships: https://www.caniuse.com/#feat=apng

Nobody mentioned so I'll add: the one thing holding me back is the current ability to insert autoplaying gifs into GitHub's markdown.

No <video> type formats are supported and being able to add an animated gif showing what you're creating a pull request for is immensely useful.

In order to truly have a shot at replacing gifs, it has to be as frictionless to use as gifs are. That means being able to refer to it with a single, simply tag.

<video src="example.av1">

and, in addition, for as many people as possible to support opening of av1s as they do with gifs.

Sounds good but my browser (Safari on iOS) shows just white space for the VP9 and AV1 example videos.

I don't think it can be killed unless (unordered)

- looping is solved and convenient to configure

- it can be cross media barriers (copied into a text, copied into an e-mail, etc.)

- it pleases the bandwidth gods (are gifs usually smaller? i know that they have a limited color palette)

Your problems 1 & 3 are solved in the article. I compare the size of the GIF to the videos. In one of the scenes it's ~11 MB for GIF and < 500 KB for AV1 video

My bad. I should have read more of the article before "contributing".

That being said, #2 is critical. I often open Safari to get gifs to copy to iMessage because Chrome and Firefox don't properly copy gifs.

AV1 may be a way to make that more "standard" (big hand wave) but adoption is conditional upon this type of common man friendly portability.

Fine, but do it transparently so the file is named .gif and it behaves the same as a gif only better optimized.

I hate opening “gifs” that are actually videos and, for example, interrupt my currently playing music to playback silence.

GIFs take up a massive amount of space (often multiple megabytes!) and if you’re a web developer, then that’s completely against your ethos!

Judging by most websites I comes across, this must be referring to some other universe.

They usually just blame marketing and wash their hands of the finished product.

"The AV1 recipe..."

fifteen ffmpeg commands

Yeah I don't think AV1 is the answer.

That's why it's a recipe and not a command ;) Also it can be easily scripted out, where the only input needs to be a source video

Yep, shelling out to ffmpeg on your production network is probably not particularly scalable nor safe.

But can I put those videos in PowerPoint presentations?

Waiting for end 2020 Macbooks which can decode (and encode?) AV1 on CPU hardware hopefully (and hopefully also solved the keyboard mac problems).

In my unpopular opinion, the first steps that we need to bring AV1 to the web is to stop using HLS and start using DASH

I kind of thought it was pointless until i saw the file size difference. From 11.7 Meg to 330k is pretty good.

These "It's year 20XX, throw out this outdated tech!" arguments get so very old after a while

Well, the videos on this page are empty areas on my browser. But I can see GIFs just fine.

Er, it has only ~35% global support today. I'd hold off.

Anyone know what the movies are in the sample GIFS?

TLDR; article suggests to replace a gif img tag with

  <video style="display:block; margin: 0 auto;" autoplay loop muted playsinline poster="RollingCredits.jpg">
    <source src="media/RollingCredits.av1.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    <source src="media/RollingCredits.vp9.webm" type="video/webm">
    <source src="media/RollingCredits.x264.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    <img src="media/RollingCredits.gif">

As long as AV1 works without js, sure.

It sure does

Why no h265? I suspect it's similar to VP9 in quality, but h264 is pretty old at this point (nowhere near as old as GIFs of course).

H264 has the advantage of very widespread decoding hardware.

H265 is getting there, but in the meantime you'd be killing a lot of batteries with software decoding.

This page claims 78% supported on iOS and 57% on Android as of last August: https://www.scientiamobile.com/growing-support-of-hevc-or-h-...

I believe the big issue with h265 was the huge licensing cost to bundle the decoder in the browser.

Correct and also lackluster browser support https://caniuse.com/#feat=hevc

I've added a note to the article

Because Google Refuse to pay a single dollar for HEVC, even on their Pixel Phones. So there will likely never be HEVC on Google related properties, that is from Chrome, Android, to Youtube.

Because of lackluster browser support https://caniuse.com/#feat=hevc

I've added a note to the article


Worse is better.

The "We need a gif replacement" discussion isn't quite in xkcd 927 territory yet, but its very close.

And that is what is working against something completely replacing it.



"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."


We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19875516 and marked it off-topic.

I respectfully disagree that my comment was unrelated. I want the community of programmers and technology enthusiasts to be as diverse as possible. While maybe not his fault, Mr. Davis said some things that were very much not welcoming to a diverse audience. My fear is that venerating him with comments like "RIP brother" sends a negative message about what is acceptable in the community.

It's not only a tedious topic about which no one has anything new to say, but has been a distasteful one for years, using a suffering human being as a mascot in an internet cage match. If you care about welcoming diverse audiences, as opposed to scoring points on an obscure insider topic, this is the last thing you should be commenting about. Please don't do it on HN.

Nobody cares what he said.

We can differentiate between a talented person with some health issues, and what those health issues make them say -- and not consider them bad because of mere words under mental stress.


Right after someone dies, there may be people mourning them, so it's terribly disrespectful to criticize the dead person. That concern about disrespect is largely about respecting the mourning process.

But, after some time has passed, we should be able to discuss and evaluate a person's impact (good and bad). Otherwise history would be impossible to write.

It's been eight months. I think it's okay to acknowledge the full range of what Davis said.

Grandparent comment didn't say Davis was terrible, as you claim; the words were "He said some terrible stuff".

Please don't attack another user like you did here and below, regardless of how wrong or bad a comment is. The site guidelines ask us all to Be kind. That's always important, but surely even more so when you're arguing for treating someone better.


Sorry, dang. I didn't mean to attack them. I got really offended at their hateful comment but next time I'll just flag and move on.

dagenix 67 days ago [flagged]

I take strong exception to your characterization of my comment as "hateful". I don't hate Terry Davis. He was brilliant. Fostering a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment is really important to me. Some of the things that Mr. Davis said did the opposite of encouraging that goal. And that may not have been his fault. But, he did say those things and if we venerate his abilities while not also acknowledging his faults, I think that sends a negative message about what the community is willing to tolerate.

Please stop.


Apple is a member of the Alliance for Open Media, the group behind AV1: https://aomedia.org/membership/members/. I'd suspect apple will roll out support at some point.

Apple is also a member of MPEG LA, and has refused to adopted VP9. With AV1 perhaps they changed their tune and/or had no choice industry wise.

VP9 is a Google project which competed with the MPEG-developed H.265. It’s not surprising that Apple implemented the format they contributed to and then jumped to the next generation format rather than spending time on an older format which never saw significant adoption.

Do you have a citation for that claim? Apple is in the “Founding Members” section of https://aomedia.org/membership/members/ so “never” seems like a stretch

Desktop or mobile? I suppose this must mean iOS, because desktop Safari is nearly as dead as Edge or Opera.

GIFs are still here because people make art with it, in some form. This is how we got still GIFs around, not because we needed to transfer videos. The idea of replacing everything based on technical superiority is extremely shortsighted. We need more humanists in computing.

You can make the same art with other formats. I'm not sure exactly what your point is here.

1. One of the reasons a kinda secondary feature of GIFs (animations) became so popular is because it's so easy to generate them. 2. A big feature is that they are not lossy compressed so you can do animations of all the kinds. 3. They allow to set very slow FPS settings in a trivial way.

Animated GIFs are not really a video format, they are just a set of non-lossy compressed images shown at a timer interval. Such small details are hugely important when some media is used in a creative way.

If you have an application where you need lossless and optionally low FPS, then GIF is fine (and APNG and webp for smaller filesizes but less compatibility). But the average GIF in the wild these days is a reencoding from a video that doesn't match this description, which is what should be changed to h264, vp8, vp9, or AV1.

Maybe the movement could and should clarify their goals for world domination do not include dancing baby gifs?

You can write the same algorithm in some other language. I'm not sure what exactly your point is here. /sarc

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