Khronos Group Finalizes Vulkan Video API 1.0, Intros H.264 & H.265 Decode

The Vulkan API has recently seen its latest update, version 1.3.238, add video extensions in the way the encoder/decoder API becomes a separate entity under Vulkan’s newly forged “umbrella”. The Vulkan Video concept has been in beta since the early part of 2021. The Khronos Group, who created the Vulkan API and now Vulkan Video API 1.0, has concluded that the product is ready for public use.

Khronos Group is releasing Vulkan Video after almost two years of using the API in beta

New Vulkan Video 1.0 extensions – four basic extensions – are now available. The new additions are as follows:

  • VK_KHR_video_queue: Standard APIs for all video encoding operations.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_queue: Standard APIs for all video decoding operations.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_h264: H.264 decoding capabilities and parameters.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_h265: Capabilities and parameters for H.265 decoding.

The last two video decoder extensions, H.264 and H.265, are now coded with “KHR” extensions, whereas at one time, they were encoded with “EXT” extensions. Michael Larabel of Phoronix notes that AV1 or VP9 video acceleration-based plugins are missing from Vulkan Video 1.0, as they were seen as expanding on the new API. Surprisingly, AV1 video encoding and decoding are a mainstay on nearly every new graphics card in production.

The API is included in today’s new Vulkan Video introduction, receiving bug fixes and additional driver clarifications, and now in its new version 1.3.238. Mesa Vulkan integration has also recently changed to include Vulkan Video for both Intel Arc graphics and AMD Radeon GPUs. The new Vulkan Video is expected to be ready for full use on both companies’ devices in the coming months.

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In addition, NVIDIA has released a new Linux driver, version 525.47.04, which adds the latest encoding and decoding APIs, which will support the company’s existing line of RTX 40 “Ada Lovelace” series graphics cards. NVIDIA will also receive additional extensions not seen on Intel or AMD machines.

  • VK_EXT_opacity_micromap
  • VK_NV_copy_memory_indirect
  • VK_NV_memory_decompression
  • VK_NV_optical_flow
  • VK_NV_ray_tracing_invocation_reorder

As you can see from the above extensions, many of them are marked “NV”, short for NVIDIA, which is one of the few ways we can distinguish different companies and their corresponding hardware, whether it be from reports, leaks, rumors or press releases published.

News Sources: The Khronos Group, Phoronix

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