Video has become one of the killer applications of computing. It’s easy to forget how quickly this has come about. Even ten years ago, domestic video cameras were mostly clunky things that were hard to use. Now, people can shoot video with their digital (photo) cameras and mobile phones. The video camera comes for free, if you like. Sites like Youtube provide a distribution platform and feedback mechanism. And as a result, there’s never been more demand for video processing software.
Of course, encoding and decoding video can be time consuming affair. That’s why it’s essential to optimise the software, to ensure it makes full use of the resources available. The challenge is that there are many different hardware architectures available, and new ones are coming out all the time.
I was interested to see this solution brief for Intel Media SDK 2.0 because it includes quotes from several software houses talking about how they used it to future proof and accelerate the video processing in their software. If you haven’t heard about it, Intel Media SDK 2.0 provides optimized routines for encoding and decoding video (H.264 and MPEG-2 for both, and VC-1 for decoding only). It also features a number of preprocessing filters for frame rate conversion, resizing, denoising, converting colours, controlling saturation and adjusting brightness and contrast.
For developers, the advantage is that it if you conduct your video processing through Intel Media SDK 2.0, it will work out the optimal resources to use for fastest performance at runtime. The SDK includes optimised libraries for Intel CPU, Intel HD Graphics, Intel Processor Graphics, and future Intel multicore architectures, so you can access all of these using a single API. At runtime, the SDK will decide whether the CPU or graphics processor is best suited to process the video, and there is a software fallback for if no hardware acceleration is available. Developers just need to reference the SDK’s API, and their software will adapt to use the available resources.
You can find out more about the Intel Media SDK 2.0 here. If you need another excuse to give it a go, Intel is running a promotion where you can win an Intel co-marketing programme by uploading a short video about your experience with the SDK.