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Víctor Jáquez: Video decoding in GStreamer with Vulkan

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

Vulkan is a cross-platform Application Programming Interface (API), backed by the Khronos Group, aimed at graphics developers for a wide range of different tasks. The interface is described by a common specification, and it is implemented by different drivers, usually provided by GPU vendors and Mesa.

One way to visualize Vulkan, at first glance, is like a low-level OpenGL API, but better described and easier to extend. Even more, it is possible to implement OpenGL on top of Vulkan. And, as far as I am told by my peers in Igalia, Vulkan drivers are easier and cleaner to implement than OpenGL ones.

A couple years ago, a technical specification group (TSG), inside the Vulkan Working Group, proposed the integration of hardware accelerated video compression and decompression into the Vulkan API. In April 2021 the formed Vulkan Video TSG published an introduction to the
specification. Please, do not hesitate to read it. It’s quite good.

Matthew Waters worked on a GStreamer plugin using Vulkan, mainly for uploading, composing and rendering frames. Later, he developed a library mapping Vulkan objects to GStreamer. This work was key for what I am presenting here. In 2019, during the last GStreamer Conference, Matthew delivered a talk about his work. Make sure to watch it, it’s worth it.

Other key components for this effort were the base classes for decoders and the bitstream parsing libraries in GStreamer, jointly developed by Intel, Centricular, Collabora and Igalia. Both libraries allow using APIs for stateless video decoding and encoding within the GStreamer framework, such as Vulkan Video, VAAPI, D3D11, and so on.

When the graphics team in Igalia told us about the Vulkan Video TSG, we decided to explore the specification. Therefore, Igalia decided to sponsor part of my time to craft a GStreamer element to decode H.264 streams using these new Vulkan extensions.

Read more

GStreamer Making Progress On Vulkan Video Support

  • GStreamer Making Progress On Vulkan Video Support

    Back in April was the release of Vulkan Video extensions for GPU-accelerated video encode/decode using this cross-platform API. NVIDIA was quick to publish a beta driver with Vulkan Video support while adoption beyond that by drivers or multimedia software has been rather limited so far. Fortunately, the popular GStreamer multimedia framework for Linux users is working in the direction of supporting Vulkan Video.

    Igalia developers have been working on Vulkan Video support for GStreamer, building off earlier work on a GStreamer plug-in that used Vulkan for video uploading/compositing/rendering.

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