[vlc-devel] [RFC 0/1] Let decoders decide over DPB size.

Julian Scheel julian at jusst.de
Fri Aug 23 20:52:58 CEST 2013


Am 23.08.2013 18:28, schrieb Rémi Denis-Courmont:
> 	Hello,
> Le vendredi 23 août 2013 17:38:45 Julian Scheel a écrit :
>> while working at the direct rendering code in the omxil module I stumbled
>> into the following problem: For direct rendering the video output core
>> required a given amount of frames in the picture pool, which is calculated
>> as:
>> private_picture = 4;
>> decoder_picture = 1 + sys->dpb_size;
>> kept_picture = 1;
>> reserved_picture = DISPLAY_PICTURE_COUNT + private_picture + kept_picture;
>> toal_size = reserved_picture + decoder_picture;
>> This is taken from src/video_output/vout_wrapper.c and modified slightly for
>> readability. Now this seems to make a lot of sense, when the decoder
>> running is actually utilizing the picture pool to store it's dpb. In fact
>> this seems to be the case for one decoder only, which is libmpeg2, as of
>> now.
> Eh? I think any decoder that supports direct rendering uses the picture pool
> for DPB. In fact, I think it is unavoidable.

Ok, agreed, the basic assumption that it would not be used is not correct.

>> All other decoders care about a required dpb internally and hidden
>> from VLC.
> Wouldn't that imply that the decoders must copy reference pictures into VLC
> buffers?

It would imply an internal copy, true. But this could be the other way 
round. Whenever a picture was decoded that is a reference picture it 
could be copied into an internal buffer. If this is not the case you 
would require a full dpb management (like it's done for VDPAU if I 
recall correctly), which tells you which frames are ready to be dropped 
and which are not.
For omx such a mechanism does not exist to my knowledge - so it indeed 
has to take care about it internally.

> So in the end the pictures for dpb will be allocated in the pool
> and a second time in the decoder itself.
> That should only happen if the decoder is too stupid to decode into custom
> (VLC video output) buffers.

Ok, agreed it's kinda stupid.

>> While this is probably not much of
>> a problem on high end systems it is a problem on embedded systems.
>> Taking into account that the dpb_size for H264 video is set to 18 in
>> src/input/decoder.c you will have to provide a picture pool with at least 24
>> frames to allow direct rendering.
> That is how it is supposed to work. The decoder requires 18 pictures(in that
> case) and VLC requires a few extra for buffering in filters and output.

If I recall correctly, please correct me if I'm wrong, the dpb size for 
h264 can vary heavily depending on the stream. So a general assumption 
of 18 still seems not to be the best idea.

>> Doing this on a embedded system with few
>> memory being available this is likely to fail for high resolution videos.
> I disagree. If you cannot allocate as many and as large buffers as the decoder
> requires, then fundamentally, you cannot decode the video. Period.

True, but if you can not allocate enough memory because the decoder is 
stupid and allocates some memory for the dpb internally than you get 
into the situation where you can not decode the video although you 
basically could if you'd reduce the picture pool size.

> If you want to allocate the memory from the GPU, you can do that in the video
> output. Since the VDPAU patchset, you can also do that from the decoder, on
> condition that the memory is not mapped on the CPU.

Sure, this is done with omxil vout anyway.

>> While working with the omx modules I ran into this problem on Tegra 2 as
>> well as Raspberry Pi platforms, because both did not have enough memory to
>> store 24 or more full 1080p frames in the GPU memory. But as they do not
>> require the dpb to be stored in the picture pool, but deal with it
>> internally it is in fact possible to remove the dpb_size form the picture
>> pool and run with a much smaller picture pool without any issues.
> I believe that is a problem within the OMX decoder. It would seem to perform
> indirect rendering. This is slow, and indeed wasteful of memory space,
> especially on low-end systems.

I will try to get some more detail on it. I assume it simply keeps an 
internal dpb list with copies of the frames.

>> So to address this issue I propose the attached patch which shifts the
>> resposibility for announcing the required dpb_size to the decoder modules. I
>> have not yet tested all decoders with this patch applied, but all I tested
>> (libmpeg2, avcoded for mpeg2 and h264, omxil) seemed fine.
>> Does anyone else see issues with this approach?
> I don't mind specifying the DPB count in the decoders, as it would be
> architecturally cleaner than doing so in the core. But I dislike the notion
> that it would be used to promote indirect rendering over direct rendering.
> Regardless, your patch seems incomplete / under-implemented.

I would see some need of extension for the vdpau plugin to announce it's 
actually required dpb size. Would you see any other decoder modules that 
would actually required the picture pool to include dpb as of now?


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