The Goods Under the Hood

Some of the most exciting things we get to do at DivX are found “under the hood”—tweaks and technology that you don’t necessarily see but that are essential to a high-quality DivX video experience.

One of these things is hardware acceleration, which has several benefits to computer resources and functionality, especially when it comes to high-resolution video.

So, what is hardware acceleration?

Ever tried playing back HD or 4K video on your computer and notice issues? Media players may struggle with larger, higher resolution files like HD or 4K when playback is done through the software using CPU, eating up valuable system resources. This can result in playback issues like noise, stuttering or frames being dropped.

With hardware acceleration, the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is used to offload some of the processing effort from the more general-purpose CPU. The result? Heavy-process tasks like playing HD or 4K video is handled with ease so you can sit back and enjoy the quality or multi-task.

What’s the benefit in DivX Software?

DivX Software uses hardware acceleration to encode and decode both ASP (DIVX/AVI) and AVC (H.264/MKV) video content on a variety of popular systems.

The latest versions of DivX Player and DivX Web Player offload the heavy lifting to GPUs through a video decoding specification called DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA)—yep, even for 4K videos!

We’ve done some preliminary tests of playback with and without hardware acceleration—same system, same video but very different results. Here we tested 4K AVC and HEVC clips on Intel Core Broadwell 2GB Windows 8.1-based device.

CPU Utilization with hardware acceleration

Battery life with hardware acceleration

Note: CPU utilization with software decoding is the same for AVC and HEVC.
Hardware decoding results apply to AVC clips only. 
Results may vary depending on device and system configuration.

So basically, you can watch an entire extra TV episode and still have time for a snack break on the same battery if you’re using hardware decoding.

If you have a system that supports hardware decoding in our software and want to compare this yourself, you can try it out by downloading some sample clips below. We used 4K raw MP4 files as sources and did a combination of 4K and 1080p encodes in h.264/MKV format with a few different bitrate settings.

That gives you an idea of the benefits of using the GPU to decode your videos. You can turn hardware decoding on/off in DivX Player by going to the player’s advanced preferences:

disable hardware decoding in DivX Player

 

DivX Converter uses hardware acceleration for encoding as well. When your system is able to make use of GPU for your encoding, you’ll see the DivX Accelerated logo appear like this:

Hardware acceleration to convert MKV DivX AVI MP4

 

Not only will this make conversion more efficient, but battery life and multitasking ability is improved like during playback.

Regardless of your interest in GPUs and CPUs, there’s great technology working behind the scenes to help DivX provide a great video experience. The next time you have a high resolution file you want to play or convert in H.264 or DIVX/AVI format, make sure hardware acceleration is enabled if your system is supported. It will make a big difference in playing or converting those high-quality videos!

 

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