[vlc-devel] New Video Decode and Presentation API

Andy Ritger aritger at nvidia.com
Fri Nov 14 19:41:04 CET 2008

I'm pleased to announce a new video API for Unix and Unix-like platforms,
and a technology preview implementation of this API from NVIDIA.

The API is called VDPAU (Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix).

The current API documentation is here:


Some highlights of VDPAU:

     * Defines an API for GPU-accelerated decode of MPEG-1, MPEG-2, H.264, and
       VC-1 bitstreams.
     * Defines an API for post-processing of decoded video, including
       temporal and spatial deinterlacing, inverse telecine, and noise
     * Defines an API for timestamp-based presentation of final video
     * Defines an API for compositing sub-picture, on-screen display,
       and other UI elements.

Note that VDPAU does not address content protection.

Some highlights/limitations of NVIDIA's current implementation:

     * Supported on NVIDIA GPUs with the NVIDIA second generation video
       processors (see the end of this announcement for a complete GPU list).
     * Currently, only one video stream can be decoded at a time; we hope
       to lift this restriction eventually.
     * Available in the 180.06 NVIDIA public beta release:

The VDPAU support in the NVIDIA 180.06 beta release is still very
preliminary.  We are aware of cases of visual corruption and in some
cases GPU hangs.  We will be working on these issues over the next
several NVIDIA driver releases.

While NVIDIA's VDPAU implementation is not ready for end user use yet,
it should be far enough along that interested application developers
can begin working with it.

Additionally, NVIDIA has developed patches to ffmpeg and MPlayer to
demonstrate a video player using VDPAU:


These patches include changes against libavcodec, libavutil, ffmpeg,
and MPlayer itself; they may serve as an example of how to use VDPAU.

Once we do some further testing, bugfixing, and cleanup, we will
contribute the MPlayer patches to the MPlayer developers.

If other hardware vendors are interested, they are welcome to also
provide implementations of VDPAU.  The VDPAU API was designed to allow
a vendor backend to be selected at run time.

Andy Ritger
Manager, NVIDIA Linux Graphics Driver

VDPAU is currently supported on the following NVIDIA GPUs:

     Desktop GPUs:
      GeForce 200 Series
      GeForce 9 Series
      GeForce 86xx Series
      GeForce 85xx Series
      GeForce 84xx Series
      GeForce 8800 GTS 512
      GeForce 8800 GT
      GeForce 8800 GS

     Mobile GPUs:
      GeForce 98xxM
      GeForce 9700M
      GeForce 96xxM
      GeForce 9500M
      GeForce 9300M
      GeForce 9200M
      GeForce 8800M
      GeForce 8800M GTS
      GeForce 8800M GTX
      GeForce 8600M

     Motherboard GPUs:
      GeForce 9400
      GeForce 9300
      GeForce 9100
      GeForce 8300
      GeForce 8200

VC-1 support in NVIDIA's VDPAU implementation currently requires GeForce
9300 GS, GeForce 9200M GS, GeForce 9300M GS, or GeForce 9300M GS.

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