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Video Acceleration API is a successor to XvMC, providing partial and full hardware offloading of video decoding. This interface is available on Intel graphics. Interface frontends are also available for ATI's XvBA and nVidia's VDPAU. This interface is supported by MythTV as of 0.25.

Enable VAAPI

You need to install the libva VAAPI library and the related hardware drivers.

Intel Graphics

Install necessary packages

Using Ubuntu/Debian

sudo apt-get install libva1 i965-va-driver libva-intel-vaapi-driver vainfo

If compiling from source, also install libva-dev

sudo apt-get install libva-dev

Using other distributions

You can use the official Intel graphic installer available at from Intel

Or build from source:

If your distribution doesn't include recent drivers (0.32 and above is recommended). Install Intel drivers (taken from: step 5 of GUIDE Simplified Guide for a perfect minimal HTPC on INTEL platforms): (11-8-13 See remarks below for errors and incomplete compile. This wiki needs to be updated.)

cd ~
sudo mkdir Builds
cd Builds
sudo apt-get build-dep libva1
git clone git://
cd libva
git checkout vaapi-ext
sudo ./ --prefix=/usr
sudo make
sudo make install
git clone git://
cd intel-driver
git checkout vaapi-ext
wget -O ./increase_micro_version.patch (11-8-13 the file will download but it is empty)
sudo autoreconf -v --install
sudo patch -p1 < ./increase_micro_version.patch (11-8-13 There will be an error here since the patch file is empty)
sudo ./configure --prefix=/usr
sudo make
sudo make install


Check to see if newly installed software is working by running
You should see something similar to this: (note, output will be different for those running different versions of the Intel integrated graphics, you are looking for VAEntrypointVLD with some of the codecs)
vainfo: VA API version: 0.32
vainfo: Driver version: i965 Driver 0.1
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Baseline           : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Simple              : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                : VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            : VAEntrypointVLD

Configure MythTV for VAAPI

  1. Make sure you are using OpenGL or Auto as painter
    • MythFrontend -> Setup -> Appearance, make sure Painter is set to Auto or OpenGL (not Qt)
  2. Select VAAPI Playback Profile from Mythfrontend:
    • MythFrontend -> Setup -> Video -> Playback -> (Screen 3/8) -> Select "VAAPI normal" profile in list

Hit Next until you are back out to the main screen

Try playing back a recording or another video and you should notice a decrease in CPU usage.