Intel Publishes DRM Driver For PowerVR Video Decoder! VP8 Decoding!
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 13 October 2014 at 09:00 AM EDT. 14 Comments
Well, this is an exciting way to start off Monday morning... Intel developers published an open-source DRM driver for Imagination Technologies PowerVR decoder hardware.

Yao Cheng of Intel China made the unexpected announcement this morning that they've written a DRM driver for Imagination Technologies' PowerVR VXD392. The PowerVR VXD392 offers video decoding support for H.264 MVC, Stereoscopic 3D, and WebM/VP8. This is just about accelerated video decoding with the video encoding being left up to PowerVR's VXE382.

The VXD392 is IP from Imagination dating back to 2010. Per its original press release, "POWERVR VXD392 is a low power, high performance, multi-standard and multi-stream ultra high definition hardware video decoder IP core that enables the widest supported standards of any video IP core, and now includes support for WebM (VP8) as well as key new technologies including Stereo 3D and H.264 MVC. VXD392 also enables up to 4k x 4k resolutions for UltraHD and full resolution top and bottom or side by side display configurations for stereoscopic applications."

With current generation Intel Bay Trail hardware, while they are using in-house Intel HD Graphics rather than a PowerVR SGX GPU, it turns out they licensed and using the VXD392 for the Bay Trail design. Bay Trail was formerly known as Valleyview and features Ivy Bridge class graphics. Intel has their own Ivy Bridge video decoder with Bay Trail SoCs but there's also this VXD392 block included that can now be used under Linux. Intel's existing VA-API support has already provided video acceleration for Intel's video block while this separate DRM driver is needed for exposing the VXD392 with its VP8 decoding under Linux.

Yao Cheng wrote, "drm/ipvr is a new GEM driver for baytrail's vxd392, which accelerates VP8 video decoding. The driver name 'ipvr' means the PowerVR's IP wrapped by Intel. In the future, ipvr may support other platforms such as Merrifield...Probes vxd392 on Baytrail platform and create a new drm device for hardware accelerated video decoding." Published today was the DRM kernel driver and libdrm support.

The patches are currently under a "request for comments" flag but hopefully we can see this IPVR DRM driver sorted out for the Linux 3.19 kernel so Intel Bay Trail Linux users can begin benefiting from VP8 hardware acceleration. VA-API itself has already supported VP8 decoding at the interface level along with VP8 encoding. On the desktop side and for Intel chips without the VXD392 decoding block, Broadwell is bringing VP8 hardware support to Intel's video decoder.
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