OBS now supports 4K AV1 streaming for YouTube

OBS Studio’s latest update now supports AV1 stream encoding for YouTube broadcasts, ensuring higher-quality video and improved resolutions compared to traditional H.264 encoding, even at similar bitrates. This is great news for streamers who strive for high-quality video and want to reduce their bandwidth consumption.

Let’s take a look at the new update and see what it means for YouTube livestreamers.

How does it work?

While YouTube currently labels the AV1 encoding feature as beta, it holds enormous potential to transform the quality of livestreams. As showcased by content creator EposVox, this encoding method can effectively reduce visual artifacts in 1080p 60 fps video or even allow you to stream at 4K resolution with the same frame rate without substantially increasing bandwidth consumption.

This enhancement is made possible by the introduction of the Enhanced RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) standard, which expands on the existing method to accommodate newer video formats. Although HDR support is included in the technology, YouTube has not yet adopted this feature.


OBS Studio’s hardware encoding is compatible with AMD, Intel and NVIDIA GPUs. However, if your CPU has adequate power, you can also opt for software encoding. Keep in mind that YouTube continues to transcode the output to its VP9 format, but as reported by Tom’s Hardware, the loss in image quality is negligible.

What we think

The feature offers promising potential for those using YouTube. Although there is no official timeline for the full integration of AV1 support on YouTube, this development holds a lot of promise for livestreamers now and in the future. As pointed out by The Verge, this won’t really have much impact on Twitch streamers. However, all streamers should celebrate the prospect of streamed video looking the best it can.


There’s currently no word when YouTube will offer official support. We will keep you up to date if there are any new developments.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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