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

Jason R. Wilson
Khronos Group Finalizes Vulkan Video API 1.0, Intros H.264 & H.265 Decode 1

The Vulkan API has recently seen an addition to its recent update, version 1.3.238, adding video extensions in the way of an encoder/decoder API that becomes a separate entity under the newly forged Vulkan "umbrella." The concept for Vulkan Video has been in beta since the first part of 2021. The Khronos Group, creators of the Vulkan API and now Vulkan Video API 1.0, have concluded that the product is ready for public use.

The Khronos Group rolls out Vulkan Video after almost two years of the API in beta

The new Vulkan Video 1.0 extensions — four primary extensions — are now available. The new new extensions are as follows:

  • VK_KHR_video_queue: standard APIs for all video coding operations.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_queue: standard APIs for all video decode operations.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_h264: H.264 decode-specific capabilities and parameters.
  • VK_KHR_video_decode_h265: H.265 decode-specific capabilities and parameters.

The last two video decoder extensions, H.264 and H.265, are now labeled "KHR" extensions, whereas, at one point, they were coded with "EXT" extensions. Michael Larabel of the website Phoronix notes that extensions based on AV1 or VP9 video acceleration are missing from the Vulkan Video 1.0, as they were being considered to be expanding into the new API. It is surprising as AV1 video encoding and decoding are a mainstay in almost every new graphics card in production.

Image source: The Khronos Group.
Image source: The Khronos Group.
Image source: The Khronos Group.
Image source: The Khronos Group.
Image source: The Khronos Group.

Included in today's new introduction of Vulkan Video, the API received bug fixes and further clarifications to the driver, now in its new 1.3.238 version. The Mesa Vulkan integration has also been altered recently to include Vulkan Video for both Intel Arc graphics and AMD Radeon GPUs. It is anticipated that the new Vulkan Video will be primed for full use within the two company's hardware in the coming months.

Additionally, NVIDIA released a new Linux driver, version 525.47.04, which adds the latest encoding and decoding API, which will support the company's current line of RTX 40 series "Ada Lovelace" graphics cards. NVIDIA will also receive additional extensions not seen in Intel or AMD's hardware.

  • 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 extensions above, several are marked "NV," standing for NVIDIA, which is one of the few ways we can distinguish the 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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