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AV1 Specification

Argon Design has been working on and contributing to the AV1 reference code for over two years and have been developing Argon Streams AV1 by closely tracking the progress of the reference code. We expect to release Argon Streams AV1 within a few weeks of the specification and code being frozen.

Argon Design has authored the AV1 Specification for Open Media (AOMedia). A PDF of the specification is available here.

The Challenge

AV1 is a new video coding standard. It is an evolution of VP9, with many new features and the flexibility to support all kinds of encode architectures, while reducing bandwidth costs by at least 25%.

The problem is that this extra complexity makes it much harder to verify that your decoder will be fully compatible with all AV1 bit-streams.

In order to provide comprehensive and demonstrable coverage, with provable confidence, we will then use our novel compiler based technique to create Argon Streams for AV1. Our Argon Streams products for the HEVC and VP9 specifications are the industry standard for verification of HEVC and VP9 decoders.

Our Approach

Alongside producing the AV1 specification, we are writing a compiler for the specification. The compiler directly understands the pseudo-code and equations contained in the specification and can translate them into a complete mathematical model of the coding process.


Argon Streams

We will use the mathematical model produced by our compiler to generate a set of bit-streams that cover the entire space of valid AV1 bit-streams.

The Argon Coverage Tool allows us confirm that the bit-streams exercise and test every part of the AV1 specification.

The coverage includes:

  • complete coverage of every equation in the core specification
  • complete coverage of every transition in the arithmetic coding engine
  • complete coverage of every extreme value in the pixel processing pipeline
  • complete coverage of all video resolutions in the standard

Each bit-stream consists of a short sequence of between 5 and 20 frames; this improves the execution speed and allows rapid pin-pointing of the non conformances in your decoder design. We provide MD5 digests of the output YUV files to verify that the output is correct.

Argon Coverage Report

Argon Streams includes an interactive Coverage Report which allows you to see which parts of the specification have been exercised by which test bit-streams. It includes a complete copy of the AV1 specification and will allow you to click on the various equations to view which test bit-stream was the first to exercise that particular part of the specification.

The Coverage Report provides a number of different views of the test results:

  • branch coverage statistics for every equation and part of equation
  • tooltips to show exactly which bit-streams are used to test each equation
  • value coverage to show maximum and minimum values for each parsed and computed variable
  • value coverage statistics for every arithmetic coding transition and every value of every arithmetically decoded symbol
  • range coverage of theoretical and observed ranges for data in the pixel processing pipeline
  • cross coverage to show all combinations of values for multiple syntax elements

Argon Coverage Tool

The Argon Coverage Tool is an optional addition to Argon Streams, that analyses one or more test bit-streams and produces a detailed coverage report that can be viewed in Google Chrome.

The coverage report details exactly which sections of the specification are covered by any set, or subset, of test bit-streams and is cross-linked to an interactive version of the AV1 specification to show exactly which sections and equations are being fully verified.

The Argon Coverage Tool will be available as both Windows and Linux executables.

For more information about Argon Streams

To enquire about Argon Streams or to request to be contacted when Argon Streams AV1 is ready for release, please contact streams@argondesign.com.

For verification of your HEVC decoder see www.argondesign.com/streams.

For verification of your VP9 decoder see www.argondesign.com/streamsVP9.

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