Audio Video Standard
Audio Video Standard (AVS) is a compression standard for digital audio and digital video, which was meant to compete with AAC audio and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video to potentially replace MP3 audio and MPEG-2 video. Chinese companies own 90% of AVS patents. The audio and video files have an .avs extension as a container format. It never gained widespread use outside China, partly because efforts in other nations at royalty-free video and audio codecs have focused on other codecs such as those developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation or WebM Project and container formats like Matroska, rather than the AVS codecs, since the AVS codecs still require small royalties. However it is a very popular format in China, where it is officially promoted by the government.
Development of AVS was initiated by the government of the People's Republic of China. Commercial success of the AVS standard would not only reduce China's royalty/licensing payments to foreign companies, it would presumably earn China's electronics industry recognition among the more established industries of the developed world, where China is still seen as an outlet for mass production with limited indigenous design capability.
In January 2005, the AVS workgroup submitted their draft report to the Information Industry Department (IID). On March 30, 2005, the first trial by the IID approved the video portion of the draft standard for a public showing time.
The dominant audio/video compression standards, MPEG and VCEG, enjoy widespread use in consumer digital media devices, such as DVD players. Their usage requires Chinese manufacturers to pay substantial royalty fees to the mostly-foreign companies that hold patents on technology in those standards. For example, as of 2006, licenses ranging from $2.50 to $4 already make up about ten percent of the cost for a contract-manufactured DVD player unit.
According to the state-run media, a key consideration of AVS was to reduce foreign dependence on core intellectual properties used in digital media technology. Proposed as a national standard in 2004, AVS had a targeted royalty of 1 RMB (or about $0.10 USD) per player. On April 30, 2005, AVS standard video officially passed the public show and became the national standard.
AVS was expected to be approved for the Chinese high-definition successor to the EVD, and when CBHD was released it shipped with 30GB blue laser discs and video in the AVS format, which rapidly gained market share – standing at 30% of the video disc market after four months.
In the year 2012, as the tenth anniversary of the first launch of AVS, State Administration of Radio Film and Television of China (SARFT) announced they will adopt AVS+ as the basic video standard in the HD and 3D TV broadcasting in China. From the year 2014, China Central Television will use AVS+ as their broadcasting standard. Now in China, every basic STB should be compatible with AVS and its family standards.
From the year 2013, AVS and it working group set their new target to the advanced version to compete with HEVC(H.265) standard. The new version is called AVS2, which is set to be more effective than the current version. AVS2 is designed to have more compressing efficiency which may save 50% bit rate than current version without any loss in quality.
Open-source implementations of an AVS video decoder can be found in the OpenAVS project and within the libavcodec library. The latter is integrated in some free video players like MPlayer, VLC or xine. xAVS is also an open source AVS encoder with a working decoder.
China's high-definition video disc format CBHD (China blue high-definition) supports AVS.