Nouveau Hardware-Based Video Support In Mesa
Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 13 September 2011 at 11:59 AM EDT. 8 Comments
Due to being busy with XDC2011 Chicago, there was some news missed over the weekend: there's the Mesa user-space side support for Nouveau video decoding using a hardware-based NVIDIA video decoder.

Martin Peres mentioned this morning during his Nouveau talk at the 2011 X.Org Developers' Conference that during the reverse-engineering process they discovered a video decoder in several generations of hardware that NVIDIA isn't using. Thanks to some recent work, Nouveau can take advantage of MPEG1 and MPEG2 hardware video decoding (not using Gallium3D shaders for generic GPU video decoding) using this "PMPEG" support. MPEG4 hardware decoding support could come too, but there's at least four engines, different ISAs, and other complexities to handle by the limited development base. The decoder is exposed via XvMC.

This work was recently resurrected by Maarten Lankhorst back in July when he mentioned it on the Mesa mailing list. Maarten's work was finally committed to mainline Mesa on Saturday, 10 September. It was pushed by Younes Manton, the former GSoC developer that's been working on Gallium3D Nouveau support.

The Mesa side support was pushed in this fairly large commit. Video playback improvements to open-source graphics drivers is finally coming. Martin's demo of the Nouveau XvMC support was quite nice to illustrate the differences compared to just X-Video.
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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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