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VLC 1.1.0 adds GPU acceleration

VLC 1.1.0 adds GPU acceleration

The latest release of VLC Player brings H.264 acceleration - but only on certain platforms.

The latest version of popular open-source media player VLC has been released, and it brings with it hardware acceleration features for Windows and Linux users - a distinct boon for those with under-powered machines.

VLC 1.1.0 - released yesterday, according to CrunchGear- now features hardware decoding of H.264 video under Windows Vista and Windows 7 on Nvidia hardware and under Linux on ATI or Nvidia hardware. Sadly, users of Windows versions prior to Vista - such as the still-popular Windows XP - are left out in the cold on this one, as are those using Apple systems.

However, those of you lucky enough to be running a supported operating system with a supported graphics card can enjoy greatly reduced CPU load at the same time as massively enhanced playback performance thanks to an offload engine that makes the GPU pick up the grunt work.

For those wondering why Windows users are limited to Nvidia hardware - after all, both ATI and Nvidia support GPGPU and GPU-offload technologies - it's apparently a driver issue. In the release notes for version 1.1.0, the VLC team claims that "VideoLAN is quite sad to be forced to recommend Nvidia [GPUs], until ATI fixes their drivers on Windows."

Sadly, the platforms most likely to benefit from GPU offloading of H.264 decoding are not invited to the party either: as the majority of netbooks feature weedy Atom processors and business-oriented Intel graphics, VLC won't do much good for HD playback there.

Still, if your system supports the feature it's certainly worth giving the - completely free - VLC Player a go by downloading it from the official site.

Are you pleased to see open-source packages adding in GPU acceleration features, or are you confused as to why the VLC team has been unable to make H.264 hardware decoding work on ATI cards under Windows? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

35 Comments

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[USRF]Obiwan 23rd June 2010, 10:43 Quote
Quote:
why the VLC team has been unable to make H.264 hardware decoding work on ATI cards under Windows

Cuda?
Jack_Pepsi 23rd June 2010, 10:45 Quote
GURRH! Come on ATi - you've been really slacking of late.
rollo 23rd June 2010, 10:46 Quote
no it driver related as alot of people have tried to force it on there forums

its an ATI problem sadly
rickysio 23rd June 2010, 10:46 Quote
That might be true. CUDA has been around for longer.
l3v1ck 23rd June 2010, 10:52 Quote
Nice. I'll be downloading that for my PC and laptop as VLC is my media player of choice.

EDIT

Doh, not on the desktop. My GPU is too old to support it.
greigaitken 23rd June 2010, 10:55 Quote
but does it give better performace / watt ? you dont really want it on your notebook if it gonna drain the battery faster.
mi1ez 23rd June 2010, 11:07 Quote
So the linux AMD driver will allow the acceleration but not the windows one? Come on AMD!
loftie 23rd June 2010, 11:27 Quote
I'll stick with MPC-HC, as that works with ATi cards, but it's good to see more media players using the GPU.
koli 23rd June 2010, 12:34 Quote
That's a great news. I've been using MPC for hardw. acc. and while it is not bad, VLC is more userfriendly. Shame about the ATI though. Luckily, both my rigs have Nvidia in it...
TimGilesUK 23rd June 2010, 13:03 Quote
he he he - so a 480 owner loads up a film to watch, only for their graphics card to go in to vacumn cleaner mode! nice.

At least when ATI arrives with a driver update, you'll be able to watch and hear the audio without the need for headphones or an air conditioner.
wuyanxu 23rd June 2010, 13:05 Quote
this is why gtx470 is a better option. until OpenCL is sorted out, ATI cards are nothing more than a gaming workhorse.

graphics cards should be able to do more, and ATI cards can't offer that.

(im not entirely happy with my 5870, apart from gaming, it's useless)
DbD 23rd June 2010, 13:24 Quote
It'll just use the video decode which all nvidia cards have supported for years (DxVA2), don't think that requires opencl or cuda or anything fancy. Radeon card's are meant to support this too - but obviously there's a difference between saying you support it and actually writing a driver that works.
Yslen 23rd June 2010, 13:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
im not entirely happy with my 5870, apart from gaming, it's useless

You can encode videos with it. My humble 4850 can do 4 TV episodes per minute from AVI to apple-friendly format, whereas using the CPU takes about 5 minutes per episode: 20x slower.
wuyanxu 23rd June 2010, 14:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yslen
You can encode videos with it. My humble 4850 can do 4 TV episodes per minute from AVI to apple-friendly format, whereas using the CPU takes about 5 minutes per episode: 20x slower.
may i ask what software do you use?

most software i've tryed (badaboom, mediashow espresso) require nvidia GPU.
rickysio 23rd June 2010, 15:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yslen
You can encode videos with it. My humble 4850 can do 4 TV episodes per minute from AVI to apple-friendly format, whereas using the CPU takes about 5 minutes per episode: 20x slower.
may i ask what software do you use?

most software i've tryed (badaboom, mediashow espresso) require nvidia GPU.

http://ati.amd.com/technology/avivo/index.html
eddtox 23rd June 2010, 15:58 Quote
i <3 VLC :D. It's been my media player of choice for a good few years, and I don't see us parting ways anytime soon.
Evildead666 23rd June 2010, 17:55 Quote
MediaPlayerClassic Home Cinema anyone ?

Does DXVA no probs on XP and 7.
Only use VLC when the audio has probs in MPC-HC....
Evildead666 23rd June 2010, 17:57 Quote
If it was a driver problem, it wouldn't work on any software would it ?
Its not a driver problem, its that they can't code it properly, or that its ATi proprietary and they can't use it for free.

If anyone wants to buy Nvidia for video acceleration, go for it, waste your money when a lowly 5450/5550 will accelerate all your video needs....
Slizza 23rd June 2010, 18:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evildead666
If it was a driver problem, it wouldn't work on any software would it ?
Its not a driver problem, its that they can't code it properly, or that its ATi proprietary and they can't use it for free.

If anyone wants to buy Nvidia for video acceleration, go for it, waste your money when a lowly 5450/5550 will accelerate all your video needs....
They could buy a low end nvidia card too...
frontline 23rd June 2010, 19:14 Quote
Quote:
Sadly, the platforms most likely to benefit from GPU offloading of H.264 decoding are not invited to the party either: as the majority of netbooks feature weedy Atom processors and business-oriented Intel graphics, VLC won't do much good for HD playback there

So this affects very few people?
wiak 23rd June 2010, 19:51 Quote
mpc-hc works fine with ati, cant figure out why vlc wont play nice, must be a anti-ati thing in vlc camp on windows

FIY
MPC-HC also supports WebM with VP8/Vorbis now and has done hardware decoding of h264/vc-1 for years now
http://www.xvidvideo.ru/media-player-classic-home-cinema-x86-x64/media-player-classic-homecinema-x86-x64-svn-2071.html
HourBeforeDawn 23rd June 2010, 19:58 Quote
Lame VLC, add ATI support or else I have no reason to go back to you, I will be sticking with Media Player Classic Home Cinema.
Goty 23rd June 2010, 22:19 Quote
I love when developers blame sub par code on drivers. If it works with other programs, it will work with yours.
HourBeforeDawn 23rd June 2010, 22:34 Quote
Unrelated to this article but does anyone know if its possible for Media Player Classic HC to support 7.1 playback?
loftie 23rd June 2010, 23:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
Unrelated to this article but does anyone know if its possible for Media Player Classic HC to support 7.1 playback?

Looking at the audio options, it seems to support up to 18 different channels, but don't hold me to that. I did have a look at the video differences between VLC and MPCHC running avatar in HD, and VLC seemed much darker. I suppose it's personal taste at the end of the day.
_Metal_Guitar_ 23rd June 2010, 23:26 Quote
Nice to know, VLC is my choice of media player. Shame about ATi.
luminare 24th June 2010, 16:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
this is why gtx470 is a better option. until OpenCL is sorted out, ATI cards are nothing more than a gaming workhorse.

graphics cards should be able to do more, and ATI cards can't offer that.

(im not entirely happy with my 5870, apart from gaming, it's useless)

Actually no, its not. CUDA for the most part is still kinda weak and show minimal performance gains in some applications over OpenCL/GL.

The reason people are siding with ATi is because Fermi is a flop in their opinion, its way too hot and uses way too much power.

Unless you're using the MPE in APP CS5 there's nothing really gained by using nvidia accelerators.

I'm currently using my HD5770 to accelerate the endless amount of OpenGL accelerated applications inside CS5. No issues. No issues in any other application either, MPC-HC manages fine when it comes to using the 'windows drivers' the same drivers which are making it impossible for the VLC guys.
Bindibadgi 24th June 2010, 17:19 Quote
I read a back and forth between an Nvidia guy and Terry Mak' on facebook that ATI are currently fixing the issue.

They broke MPC-HC before too: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/01/25/intel-gma-hd-graphics-performance/6 then fixed it later
Krayzie_B.o.n.e. 24th June 2010, 17:26 Quote
I love the VLC player but I pledge my allegiance to ATi. Oh well looks like I'll be buying a Nvida card for physx and Cuda. ATi HD 6000 series should bring Radeon completely on par with Nvidia as I'm happy more developers are starting to take advantage of these massive power plants PC gamers have in their rigs.

Nvidia = more than just games.
frontline 24th June 2010, 19:56 Quote
Surely this only affects users who run vlc on a laptop with Ati dedicated graphics and a weedy cpu:

Quote:
a distinct boon for those with under-powered machines

GPU acceleration would be nice, but not a necessity generally?
aron311 25th June 2010, 01:47 Quote
VLC is a fantastic media player regardless of the GPU acceleration, which I'm sure will come for more graphics cards in time.. It plays pretty much any file so is very handy to have..
rickysio 25th June 2010, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
I read a back and forth between an Nvidia guy and Terry Mak' on facebook that ATI are currently fixing the issue.

They broke MPC-HC before too: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2010/01/25/intel-gma-hd-graphics-performance/6 then fixed it later

AMD has admitted that it's their drivers fault. http://twitter.com/CatalystMaker/status/16797139455
HourBeforeDawn 27th June 2010, 23:01 Quote
well I just picked up a netbook using ION so I guess I will be using this after all lol well we will see how well this works. :)
Bindibadgi 28th June 2010, 03:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
AMD has admitted that it's their drivers fault. http://twitter.com/CatalystMaker/status/16797139455

Well there we are then :) It'll be fixed in 10.7
Jack_Pepsi 28th June 2010, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Well there we are then :) It'll be fixed in 10.7

Good, 10.6 is the first ever ATi driver I've skipped - ever! Not impressed ATi, but at least I'm not using an nVIDIA card.
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