Google's Linux Video Acceleration API: VAVDA
Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 1 June 2012 at 04:18 AM EDT. 27 Comments
For those that haven't heard, for Google's Chrome web-browser and ChromeOS operating system, they have their own Linux video playback acceleration API.

Hitting the Chrome SVN about one week ago (Revision 138208) was where I first spotted this new Google video acceleration API called VAVDA.

Here was the commit message:
Revert 137988 - VAVDA is the hardware video decode accelerator for Chrome on Linux and ChromeOS for Intel CPUs (Sandy Bridge and newer).

This CL enables VAVDA acceleration for ChromeOS, both for HTML5 video and Flash.
Before getting too excited though, VAVDA doesn't appear to be some magical video acceleration API to all of a sudden make video playback work great for open-source drivers... VAVDA appears to be more or less a re-branded VA-API.

Searching VAVDA just yields various Google Chrome/Chromium (OS) references. When looking at the VAVDA patches themselves, it appears to be just based upon the VA-API API. The command-line switch for enabling this video acceleration API is also --enable-vaapi.

What changes (if any) that Google has made for VAVDA on top of VA-API have yet to be seen as I haven't had a chance yet to compare any API differences, but VAVDA is still dependent upon the libva library for VA-API.

Intel's open-source driver has supported the Video Acceleration API for a while and when it comes to Sandy Bridge and now Ivy Bridge CPUs the support is quite good and is well capable of offloading most HD content to the graphics processor. With the latest Chrome web-browser, VAVDA/VA-API can now be used when using HTML5 video or their Pepper Flash implementation.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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