XBMC Gets Working Intel VA-API Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Multimedia on 6 April 2010 at 04:42 PM EDT. 10 Comments
The popular open-source XBMC media player has had VDPAU support for more than a year now to offload some of the video decoding work during the playback process onto the GPU (primarily NVIDIA GPUs) using this robust Linux/Unix graphics API. However, for graphics hardware / drivers that do not implement NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix, the XBMC mainline code-base now has working support for VA-API.

The Video Acceleration API (VA-API) was originally developed by Intel and can be found partially supported in some Intel Linux graphics drivers (such as with the Clarkdale / Arrandale IGPs) and also happens to be the API by which AMD exposes their UVD2-based XvBA implementation. Splitted Desktop Systems has also written a VA-API front-end that then uses VDPAU. S3 Graphics also supports VA-API.

As of commit 29053 the VA-API support for XBMC should be working and will then officially be found in the next official release for this popular software project. Other projects already supporting VA-API include MPlayer and FFmpeg, Fluendo's new GStreamer codecs, and even the FSF Gnash Flash Player.

This is good news for those with a graphics processor and driver that support using VA-API and are looking to ease up the video playback process from your CPU and move more of that work over to the GPU, which is particularly useful with HD video files.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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