OBS Studio 28.1 brings NVENC AV1 encoding support for GeForce RTX 4000 owners

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OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) has released its latest v28.1 update bringing with it AV1 hardware encoding, new recording presets, more virtual camera options and lots of bug fixes.

Nvidia’s excellent NVENC video encoder is a popular choice among gamers, and the latest iteration on the RTX 4000 series cards is getting even more useful thanks to the latest OBS update which adds the ability to encode AV1 stream via hardware, which significantly reduces the load on the processor.

AV1 is said to offer equivalent or even better image quality at similar bitrates, depending on who you ask. Either way, an improvement without any pitfalls is welcome, and we can’t wait to see more hardware and platforms supporting it. For now, most users will use AV1 for local recording to save a lot of storage space without compromising image quality. It also means that (if supported) content creators who were stuck at 1080p resolution due to limited internet bandwidth could stream their game at higher resolutions (e.g. 1440p) while still using the same bandwidth.

To be able to hardware encode AV1 video streams, you have only two choices, Nvidia RTX 4090 or Intel’s Arc series graphics cards. The former attracts a high bounty (the second-tier RTX 4080 is still a few weeks away), and the latter is to iron out driver bugs. Note that currently OBS only supports Nvidia NVENC AV1.

If you want to test this new feature without taking the risk of being an early adopter, you can download a zipped version of OBS, extract it, then create a shortcut by changing the ‘Target’ to add ‘-portable’. This way you don’t have to install the latest version over your current stable version.

NVENC AV1

The full list of changes is as follows:

  • Added NVENC AV1 hardware encoder on Windows
    • Currently only works with NV12 (OBS default) and P010 color formats
    • Currently does not support “resize” function in advanced output mode
    • Only available for NVIDIA RTX 40 series video cards
  • Updated NVENC Presets
    • Presets have been divided into 3 different settings: Preset Mode, Tuning and Multipass Mode
    • The presets are now P1-P7, with lower numbers being lower quality, higher numbers being higher quality. Note that higher presets may result in higher GPU usage, which could impact the performance of games running concurrently with OBS. The number of concurrent NVENC encoding sessions may be lower when using the higher presets. OBS will automatically map your current NVENC settings to the nearest preset when upgrading.
    • The setting is used to determine whether to prioritize latency or quality. It has three settings: high quality, low latency, and ultra low latency.
    • Multipass mode is used to determine whether a second pass is used in the encoding and has three settings: Off, Quarter resolution, and Full resolution. Enabling this option will result in better quality at the cost of increased GPU resource usage.
  • Fixed a bug where Direct3D 9 games stopped capturing correctly with game capture on Windows 11 22H2
  • Moved “Always on Top” to the View menu
  • You can now select a specific source for the virtual camera
  • Fixed a crash when changing Windows Virtual Camera resolution
  • Fixed Discord crashing with Windows Virtual Camera
  • Fixed crashes with macOS apps loading the Virtual Camera
  • Fixed Steam version launching x86_64 on Apple Silicon devices
  • Fixed Stats widget appearance issues
  • Fixed merge method in Studio mode
  • Fixed case where video capture is dark when luma sweep and scale filtering are set

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