VA-API Adds HEVC H.265 Decode API
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 4 December 2014 at 08:10 AM EST. 8 Comments
Intel developers have added the necessary code for the Video Acceleration API (VA-API) to offer support for decoding H.265/HEVC content.

Committed over night by the Intel China open-source team was the HEVC decode API for the central VA-API library. The code landed with this commit.

While the interfaces are in place, the VA-API Intel driver hasn't yet been updated to expose any HEVC handling. With upcoming Broadwell processors there is VP8 encode/decode support but we haven't heard anything from Intel on H.265/HEVC. It's quite likely that HEVC/H.265 hardware support won't be here until Skylake, but at least the Intel Linux teams are already well on their way to enabling support for these late 2015 processors.

HEVC is short for High-Efficiency Video Coding and is the successor to H.264/AVC. HEVC has a much greater data compression rate than its predecessor while offering the same video quality, supports up to 8k UHD video, and offers other major improvements. But like H.264, HEVC isn't widely popular with Linux users as most prefer alternatives like VP9 and other open-source-friendly formats. VP9 should too be supported by Intel Skylake when the time comes.
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