GPU-accelerated video decoding comes to VLC media player

Windows Media Player may have a foothold with the masses, but PC enthusiasts seem to prefer the VLC media player. Available for Windows, OS X, and several flavors of Linux and BSD, VLC is famous for being able to play just about any video file that one might encounter while browsing the interwebs. Now there’s a new version, and it brings long-awaited support for hardware-accelerated video decoding.

Available today, VLC 1.1.0 taps Microsoft’s second-generation DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) API to speed H.264, VC-1, and MPEG2 playback in Windows. However, a note on VideoLAN’s front page suggests using an Nvidia GPU "until ATI® fixes their drivers on Windows, and until VLC developer get access to some Intel® hardware supporting GPU decoding." No such warning is given for Linux, which uses the open-source VAAPI, er, API.

In addition to offloading video decoding duties onto compatible GPUs, the new version of VLC promises better audio support and faster performance. Thanks to extensive optimization and rewriting, VideoLAN claims HD video decoding can be done up to 40% faster (presumably without the assistance of dedicated decode hardware). If you’d like to do some of your own fine tuning, the VLC source can be downloaded here. For the rest of us, VLC’s download page offers a bounty of binaries.

Comments closed
    • C-A_99
    • 9 years ago

    Apparently, VLC no longer supports .xm audio… =(

    • blubje
    • 9 years ago

    mmm, not seeming to work on my machine. uname: Linux 2.6.31.12-0.2-desktop #1 SMP PREEMPT 2010-03-16 21:25:39 +0100 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux. hardware: phenom II x4 955, gtx 260. vlc: 1.2.0 beta.

    vlc plays back .mov with 32% cpu utilization (100% = all cores maxed), while kaffeine only uses 24-25% cpu utilization, and has a better gui (not to mention sounds system integration).

    • A_Pickle
    • 9 years ago

    Dear VLC:

    1.) Fix your interface.
    2.) Why should you get special treatment from ATI when other software developers have implemented their video decode hardware acceleration for *[

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 9 years ago

    I prefer MPC, then Mplayer, VLC last. (microsoft doesn’t even exist.)
    However, if VLC is ahead of Mplayer with the gpu-acceleration, then it might move up to second place.

    • Skrying
    • 9 years ago

    MPC-HC just works and works every time and every computer the same way. I wish I could like VLC but every time I give it another chance it disappoints me.

    • FubbHead
    • 9 years ago

    WMP? Lacks a lot of nice functionality, but still manages to be that bloated and iffy. Yuck…

    VLC? Iffy as hell, only has internal filters, and has never been completely functional, at least for me. Always something that seems broken. And it’s not like it’s a looker either.

    Nope, MPC-HC all the way for me.

    MPC-HC’s own filters works fine for me, accelerating HD media on both my GeForce 8800GT and the laptop’s Radeon 3450. And if you want to use other codecs, you just disable them, which is very easily done.

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    I use VLC for EVERYTHING!

      • TaBoVilla
      • 9 years ago

      the word editor and spread sheet functions are second to none, and it successfully diagnosed a nasty cough I had last week.

      plus, it picks up the kids whenever I can’t.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    Been using MPC & K-Lite DXVA with ATI 5850 for a while now.. havent had much of a problem so far…. Tried the RC version VLC 1.1, have some small horizontal lines artifacts…. gonna try the new ones and see if it is fixed… btw, i’ve been having problems with VLC transcoding function.. always produce almost unplayable video…

    VLC is full featured and compact alright… just havent had much luck with it to sway me permanently from k-lite…

    • bhtooefr
    • 9 years ago

    So it’ll never work on my GPU, then, even though it’s more than capable.

    (Seeing as the drivers that I’m running are some beta-quality drivers that Lenovo hacked together (at least they had the decency to put “BETA” on them) for using this card on Win7, and ATI won’t release new drivers for it…)

      • HisDivineShadow
      • 9 years ago

      But remember… ATI is as good at supporting its drivers as nVidia. That’s what I read on the Internet, anyway.

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        Good drivers aren’t made of scheduled releases.

          • Flying Fox
          • 9 years ago

          Nor are they made of irregular, very few WHQL-stamped releases. What’s your point?

        • Shadin
        • 9 years ago

        Funny that ATI has to fix their drivers, even though I’ve been using this feature with MPC-HC and ATI cards for over a year now.

          • FubbHead
          • 9 years ago

          Same here, so I thought so too.

          • Suspenders
          • 9 years ago

          Same here, I’ve been using MPC-HC for a long while now, and the GPU acceleration works nicely on my ATI card. I wonder what the VLC team means exactly when they say “until ATI® fixes their drivers on Windows”

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 9 years ago

            It’s a UVD2 vs UVD1 thing. Not really a “bug”, but a hardware capability.
            They’re complaining that the older 3XXX/2XXX cards can’t handle certain things, and blaming it on the driver, when it’s actually a hardware deficiency.
            That’s my interpretation of it anyway.

      • wira020
      • 9 years ago

      Just use K Lite Codec with Media Player Classic.. i’ve been using ATI card with it for a long time already.. no probs whatsoever..

    • Arag0n
    • 9 years ago

    I love my fddshow codecs for WMP x64…. VLC it’s just a crapp aplication that helps when you really have a video that you unknown how to open.

    • Ryu Connor
    • 9 years ago

    Looks like this hardware acceleration is not available on XP.

    I’m surprised there’s not more tears in the comments about that.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Does make you figure nobody cares, doesn’t it?

      • Suspenders
      • 9 years ago

      Just use Media Player Classic Home Cinema. It’s had GPU acceleration for a long while now (and works fine with ATI cards).

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 9 years ago

    Will seeking x264 video work now properly now?

    Will the decoder not be a blocky mess?

    • boing
    • 9 years ago

    Anyone else but me getting this problem with the new version: Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime Library
    This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way. Please contact the application’s support team for more information.

    I’ve tried uninstalling, redownloading and reinstalling it twice with no luck.

      • FubbHead
      • 9 years ago

      It’s because ATI needs to fix their drivers.

      😉

    • End User
    • 9 years ago

    Good to see VLC mentioned here. Awesome cross-platform app.

    • Joerdgs
    • 9 years ago

    I always use WMP (CCCP installed) -> Media player classic -> VLC, depending on which one works and which one shows the subs.

    • The Dark One
    • 9 years ago

    Does this mean VLC won’t take half a second to pause a video any more?

      • End User
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve always seen immediate pause/play across Mac OS X/Linux/Windows.

      • fyo
      • 9 years ago

      If VLC takes half a second to pause, then it’s almost certainly because it’s waiting for sound/video to catch up. This happens if you delay the sound — or on a crappy encoding / interleaving.

    • Unckmania
    • 9 years ago

    I like KMPlayer. But sometimes it doesn’t work perfectly so i’ll give this one a go

    • Blazex
    • 9 years ago

    not really my player of choice, it kind of has to be on a mac :/ but atleast on nix there are more options, windows its media player classic all the way 🙂

    • Meadows
    • 9 years ago

    Zoom Player in W7, because getting ffdshow to work with /[

      • continuum
      • 9 years ago

      Hmm, I haven’t noticed any of that on Windows 7, but then I’m not all that picky about my media players either. As long as all my files play smoothly I could care less.

      That said maybe I will update to VLC Player 1.1 when I get home and see how it helps. I haven’t used ffd-show or CCCP in a long time…

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      I have had no trouble with FFDShow and WMP.

      Unless you mean you want it to replace the built in decoders.

      Also, VLC only uses built in decoders, it will never use a external codec.

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        That’s why I’ll never use VLC.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t use Media Center but I thought third party tools like Media Center Decoder Utility made it possible to use any codec, including ffdshow

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        I don’t use Media Center either.

      • DancingWind
      • 9 years ago

      Weird 🙂 I even managed to get ffdshow working under Winamp works mostly great ( i do get hicups though form time to time, release to realease)

        • Meadows
        • 9 years ago

        Winamp for video is stupid.

    • EsotericLord
    • 9 years ago

    I use WMP with the CCCP. Easy and works well.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      Ffdshow instead would be more graceful.

        • EsotericLord
        • 9 years ago

        Last I checked that doesnt work with WMP 12.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          Explains my conditional sentence.

            • Suspenders
            • 9 years ago

            What conditional sentence?

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    My absolute favorite is Media Player Classic, but when I log on to my Mac partition, it’s VLC. Quick Time doesn’t even go full screen, unless I pay for it. Though I understand that’s not the case with new versions.

    • pogsnet
    • 9 years ago
      • willmore
      • 9 years ago

      You mean the Windows Media Player? I just went through a lot of work to disable that mess.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Amazing the best universal video player gets better.

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