DirectX Video Acceleration For MPlayer
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 23 April 2011 at 10:27 PM EDT. 6 Comments
Part of the beauty of open-source software is that anyone is free to work on whatever code they wish. For some developers this means working on open-source graphics drivers for old GPUs, for some it may be working on a game or desktop application, and for others it may mean bringing Microsoft DXVA support to open-source multi-media software. There's now a branch of MPlayer that supports Microsoft's DirectX Video Acceleration API.

On Gitorious is this project for bringing DXVA support over to MPlayer so that H.264/MPEG-4 AVX and VC-1 streams can be done on supportive GPUs and drivers. DXVA is only supported under the Microsoft Windows drivers.

GPU-based Linux video acceleration in MPlayer is already well supported with VA-API, VDPAU, XvMC, and X-Video being among the APIs being supported. VA-API and VDPAU are, of course, the premiere Linux video APIs that are capable of offloading most of the playback process to the graphics processor. Both do a splendid job and cover most of the hardware and drivers, while the Nouveau / Radeon open-source drivers are the only drivers lacking support for either API at the moment, but that will hopefully change soon in the Gallium3D world.

The proprietary Catalyst driver supports interfacing with VA-API applications when using the Splitted Desktop Systems' VA-API to XvBA translation library. X-Video Bitstream Acceleration is the native format AMD exposes by their binary Linux blob for exposing the UVD2/UVD3 engine. XvBA resembles Microsoft's DXVA, so this new MPlayer support may help out anyone interested in a native XvBA implementation for MPlayer, but there's no word of anyone acting on that at the moment.

It would have been fairly interesting if instead there was a VA-API to DXVA library so any VA-API supportive application could support Microsoft's video acceleration format under Windows, but instead, for anyone interested there's now a native DXVA implementation for MPlayer.

Besides Windows itself, DXVA is also used on Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console. DXVA has been around since the days of Windows 2000 but in Windows Vista/7 is DXVA 2.0 that is capable of accelerating more operations, including the video capturing process.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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