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I was doing some playing around with AV1 decode in ffmpeg 4.1.1  I was curious if just PRing 4.1 ffmpeg is sufficient for software decode, or is there more involved than just that?

scott s.
once ffmpeg is updated with av1 decode support, it will automagically work in kodi, no extra work required, as long as it's an internal decoder. if it's an external decoder things changes as then we'd have to supply that and patch the ffmpeg build scripts to enable it etc (eg dav1d).
last time I looked at it, ffmpeg required libaom for AV1. Might have changed to use another lib in the meantime.
ffmpeg can be built with ibaom or dav1d to support AV1.

dav1d is the one you want - it is much faster.