Intel® Media SDK 2.0: High-Performance Video Encoding, Decoding and Preprocessing


A single API with multiple performance benefits for video application developers
The version 2.0 release of the Intel® Media Software Development Kit (SDK) equips developers with a standard application programming interface (API) to create high-performance video solutions for consumer and professional uses. Broadly spanning Intel® hardware platforms, the Intel Media SDK 2.0 provides easy access to hardware-accelerated video processing with Intel-optimized . Developers can also use their own software codecs as needed.

Developer benefits include:

• Optimized routines for delivering maximum video performance on a variety of platforms
• Improved productivity for development teams through greater efficiency
• Built-in future proofing of video applications with support for upcoming platforms

The API functions streamline and simplify video encoding, decoding, and preprocessing operations. Support is provided for encoding (including H.264 and MPEG-2 formats) and decoding (including H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 formats). With the Intel Media SDK, developers gain a practical and high-performance means for quickly accessing the hardware-acceleration capabilities of the target platforms. Platforms that lack dedicated hardware-acceleration features still gain the benefit of tuned, optimized, and threaded software-based video encoding and decoding, tailoring performance to the capabilities of each system.

Improving Coding Efficiency Through a Standard Interface
Although developers have had a standard interface for video decoding for some time – Microsoft DirectX* Video Acceleration (DXVA) – no equivalent interface existed for handling video encoding operations. To make the situation even more challenging, even though DXVA provides a standard decoding interface, code for individual platforms must often be customized and the process can be difficult even for experienced developers. This situation forced developers to generate multiple versions of the code to support specific platforms. To create a standard interface for video encoding and to simplify access to decode and other video operations, Intel developed a universal API: the Intel Media SDK. With support for a broad range of Intel® PC platforms, Intel Media SDK lets developers access video processing routines through a single standardized interface. A robust dispatcher
integrated within the API serves as a layer to insulate developers from the complexities of supporting different hardware platforms, as shown in Figure 1. Decoding operations using DXVA are also simplified through the use of this interface.

As a result, development is much more efficient. Using the Intel Media SDK, developers no longer need to generate multiple code paths to support different hardware platforms. Creating applications using common digital video formats, including H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1, can be accomplished through the standard interface, ensuring cross-platform support for video operations – encoding, decoding, transcoding, and preprocessing. Developers are able to reach the widest range of customers and support a breadth of platforms. Software developers can access the optimized media libraries in the Intel Media SDK for today’s volume shipping hardware, including Intel® HD Graphics, upcoming 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processors, and future generations of Intel® processors. They can also access Intel legacy processors (in system environments where no hardware acceleration is available). This results in a dramatic reduction in development time and provides a means for developers to incorporate very high-performance encoding and decoding into their media applications through a single interface.

Intel Media SDK 2.0 Benefits
Through the use of the Intel Media SDK, development teams can shift resources from performance optimization for each individual hardware platform to focusing on feature innovation and application capabilities in their video solutions. These features and capabilities can help differentiate products in the marketplace and provide unique implementations of consumer or professional software applications.

Among the benefits of the Intel Media SDK:

  • Exceptional performance on a broad range of Intel platforms. The Intel Media SDK uses a single API that supports a broad range of Intel platforms hardware acceleration and provides software fallback with highly tuned and optimized software solutions when hardware acceleration is not present. These Intel Media SDK software routines have been refined, enhanced, and made available as Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel® IPP) for a number of years. Within this extensible architecture, developers can also incorporate their own software encoding or decoding in place of Intel’s.
  • Workflow efficiency during the development process. Creating video encoding and decoding routines to support multiple hardware platforms can be tedious and time consuming, particularly when dealing with the intricacies of the Microsoft DXVA interface. The Intel Media SDK provides access to hardware-acceleration features through one API, dramatically streamlining workflow to exploit platform capabilities. With built-in support for future platform advances, the Intel Media SDK will use these platforms as they become available. Intel Media SDK offers a single-source solution to the challenge of supporting the latest Intel hardware.
  • Integral support for future Intel® architecture advances. The flexible, extensible architecture used by the Intel Media SDK provides application support for leading Intel hardware, beginning with the Intel® GMA 4500 HD, Intel HD Graphics, 2nd generation Intel Core processors, and extending to future Intel architectures. Create applications today using the Intel Media SDK, and take advantage of hardware acceleration available now and in the future – without rewriting any program code.

Hardware acceleration yields great results for performing video codec operations, and the Intel Media SDK ensures that you don’t miss performance opportunities that will be available through the hardware-acceleration capabilities of next-generation Intel architecture.

For more information, consult the documentation provided with the Intel Media SDK.

Download the Free Intel® Media SDK 2.0 and Gain the Developer’s Edge
The Intel Media SDK 2.0 is available as a free download to members of the Visual Adrenaline Developer’s Program. There is no cost to join; a simple sign-up process will get you started and provide access to the Intel Media SDK. Once enrolled, you’ll also gain access to a wealth of technology resources; visual computing expertise shared through forums, communities, blog postings; and insights from industry leaders on the tools and techniques that are fueling next-generation graphics advances.

To download, go to:
For more information about the Visual Adrenaline Developer’s Program, visit:

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.


Jathavan Sriram's picture

Cool stuff. I will use it for a current post production pipeline issue.
Thanks Intel!

anonymous's picture

I am really excited that Intel is coming up with this media sdk that is also a standard among others. Thanks to Intel for making it free to us, developer.

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