Hardware Accelerated H.264 Decoding on Plex

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Sky Blue, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    Good news for us Plex users with compatible Macs:

    It’s been just a few days since Apple finally released their Video Decode Acceleration Framework Reference, but Ryan has been working hard and we have some exciting news to share with you. He has managed to get Plex integrated with the framework, and for the first time, your GPU is used to decode H.264 video. The results are incredibly impressive, with 720p and 1080p video decoding smoothly with much reduced CPU utilization.

    If you have a NVidia 9400M (or the new GT320/330M chipsets), and are running Snow Leopard 10.6.3, take it for a spin! As with the last post, download the binary and install it into Plex.app/Contents/MacOS. Once we get a sense of how well it’s working, we’ll spin an official release.

  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    This is good news. If this had been available a year and a half ago, I would have bought a 9400m Mini instead of building my quad-core hackintosh HTPC.
  3. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
  4. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    Are most of the movies that *ahem* potentially could be found on the internet encoded in h.264? h.264 is independent of the wrapper (avi, mkv, etc) right?
  5. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    So, uh, no support for the 4800s and all the other OpenCL compatible cards...?

    Sort of completely undermines the entire point of OpenCL as a standard, no?
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    OpenCL isn't the same as video hardware decoding on the chips. They are two different technologies.
  7. bmb012 macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2006
    Understood, but wasn't OpenCL invented so we don't have to worry about proprietary hardware on GPUs for hardware accelerated code?

    Just sounds like a slap in the face to OpenCL.
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    No, OpenCL is about using the gpu cores for basic cpu tasks. For example, my hackintosh has a quad-core cpu (Q6600) and my graphics card has a 9800 gpu that has 128 processing cores. OpenCL would allow the use some of those cores for general cpu work.

    My graphics card also has additional hardware decoders that are independent of the gpu cores, including h.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1. Right now, Apple only allows access to the h.264 decoder. MPEG-2 is really unnecessary because it's not a difficult codec, but I doubt they ever allow VC-1 unless they officially start to support Blu-ray discs since all three of these are codecs that can be used for Blu-ray video.
  9. lannister80 macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2009
    Any chance this will ever be supported on an Intel GMA950?
  10. reebzor macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    Don't hold your breath
  11. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Oct 28, 2007
    It isn't likely. Windows acceleration using that chipset only provides a bare minimum of assistance due to the limited capabilities and the driver mapping many GPU functions back to the CPU.

    We might see expanded support for h.264 decoding in future OS X releases, but for now it is very limited.
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    No. The GMA950 does not have an h.264 chip.
  13. MecPro macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    OK, so guys,

    Shall I go ahead and purchase a 2.26/2.53Ghz Mac Mini for my BR rips? They are quite large 1080p/20GB~ rips for quality and I want PERFECT playback with no stutters!!!

    Or shall I just build a Windows box? This is what has worried me with the Mac Mini :(
  14. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    The biggest problem with Blu-ray rips has been the extraction of DTS or AC3 cores from the HD audio tracks on the fly. If you generate a file with these (i.e., with tsmuxer) so there's no real-time extraction of these audio cores, the base Mini will play nearly all Blu-ray rips without any trouble. It may now be that the HD audio is no longer a problem if the video is encoded in h.264 (and not VC-1) since that decoding would be passed to the gpu by Plex. Someone who has a 9400m Mini (or MB or MBA) and Blu-ray rips with h.264 or VC-1 (and MPEG-2 for that matter) needs to test this and let us know.
  15. Mr Dobey macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    I am really excited to hear this news. Makes me just that much more tempted to buy a new GT 330M 15" MacBook Pro. Though I'm still holding out until the MacBook Air Refresh.

    It's will be great when Plex is as optimized as Quicktime X

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