HOW-TO:Enable Hardware Accelerated Decoding via DXVA2 in XBMC for Windows

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1 Requirements

1. Windows 7 or Windows Vista only with latest Windows updates. Note: Windows XP users must use DSPlayer (HOW-TO:_Using_DSPlayer) because XP does not support DXVA2.

2. Video card that supports DXVA2 such as one of the following:

ATI Radeon HD 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000 series

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series

NVIDIA GeForce 8000 series (except 8800 GTS/GTX/Ultra), 9000 series and later (anything released in 2008 or later)

3. Latest driver for your video card from the manufacturer’s web site. NOTE: It is recommended to download the driver directly from the manufacturer’s website instead of using Windows Update.

4. Dharma (10.0) build of XBMC, or later. Note: DXVA2 was not supported in 9.11 Camelot.

2 Enabling DXVA2 in XBMC

Once you have met the hardware and software requirements, you’ll need to enable DXVA2 hardware acceleration in XBMC. It’s simple.

In the default skin, go to System > Settings > Video > Playback. Select Allow hardware acceleration (DXVA2).

DXVA2 Menu Option.png

3 Verifying DXVA2 is Working

To test and verify, while playing a video press the O key to enable the on-screen display.

DXVA2 Enabled.png

When DXVA2 is in use, on the 2nd line you will see dc:ff-h264-dxva2. When DXVA2 is not enabled this line will read dc:ff-h264.

The bottom row will display an average which is your CPU usage. It may be helpful to toggle the DXVA2 setting to do a before and after to see how much improvement you have. For instance going from 40-50% without DXVA2 to 4-8% once it was enabled. Some lucky bastards even report 1% or even 0% usage.

And that’s that! You should now be enjoying improved H.264 and VC1 playback and system performance in XBMC for Windows.

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