Khronos unveils AV1 decoding in Vulkan Video

New software development kit for H.264/H.265 encoding.

Jon Peddie

What do we think?  If you’re a streamer/influencer, or making how-to videos, you’ll appreciate the stability and standardization of these new codecs. Otherwise, you probably don’t care and should not waste any more time reading this.

The Vulkan Working Group within Khronos has introduced a set of video format decode and encode extensions known as Vulkan Video. In the latest release, Vulkan 1.3.277, the Working Group unveiled the new Decode AV1 video extension. Aligned with the principles of the Vulkan project, AV1 represents a royalty-free open standard for video compression, developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), renowned for its exceptional performance and quality. This Decode AV1 extension, a product of extensive industry collaboration and support, marks a significant achievement, leveraging the groundwork laid by Vulkan Video to provide cross-platform, portable, and high-performance AV1 decoding capabilities for engines and applications across diverse environments.

The diagram below illustrates the currently released Vulkan Video extensions, alongside those in the developmental pipeline.

Block diagram
Vulkan Video extensions. (Source: Khronos/Vulkan Working Group)

The Vulkan Video, inclusive of decode and encode support in the GStreamer and FFmpeg multimedia frameworks, along with the RADV/ANV’s open-source Vulkan driver for Intel and AMD GPUs, is widely embraced by the open-source community.

Nvidia has actively participated in this open-source initiative, continually updating its Vulkan Video sample to showcase the utilization of the Encode H.264/H.265 and the Decode AV1 extensions.

The development of the Vulkan Video Decode AV1 extension has seen extensive involvement from the open-source community. It began with the initial Mesa extension proposal by Dave Airlie and Lynne Iribarren, featuring significant contributions from Igalia for conformance test development and detailed feedback from Collabora on the extension design. The crucial support and guidance provided by RasterGrid for specification and validation layer development have been instrumental.

The successful development of the Vulkan Video Decode AV1 extension reflects the robust collaboration within the industry facilitated by Khronos, and the Vulkan Working Group has expressed gratitude for the dedicated efforts and contributions of all its members in achieving this significant milestone for the Vulkan Video ecosystem.

Details about the new Decode AV1 functionality can be found in the extension proposal document and specification.