DXVA - Free with the new DivX Plus H.264 Decoder

DivX Plus Codec Pack

Introducing hardware-accelerated H.264 decoding for DivX Plus HD!

The DivX Plus software bundle includes a new version of the DivX H.264 Decoder, which comes as part of the codec pack, introducing support for hardware-accelerated playback of DivX Plus HD video using DirectX Video Acceleration. In conjunction with supported video chipsets and drivers the new decoder allows you to watch 1080p video with almost no CPU load on Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

Playing a 1080p DivX Plus MKV file with DXVA enabled.
(Click to enlarge and read more)

What's new, and why is it so cool?

The DivX Plus format extends the DivX ecosystem by adding support for industry leading technologies including HD H.264 video and AAC surround audio. By using more complex encoding techniques DivX Plus MKV files have better quality and compression than ever before but more CPU time is also required for playback. We've spent a lot of time making sure that the DivX H.264 Decoder is extremely fast, but older PCs may still struggle to keep up with full 1080p playback and for netbooks this can be an impossible feat. Thankfully, newer graphics chips allow us to offload video decoding from the CPU, freeing it for use by desktop applications and ensuring smooth, sharp video playback even on low-powered devices.

The new DivX H.264 Decoder allows you to offload video decoding to any accelerated decoder that works with the Microsoft DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA) interface. The accelerated decoder must be capable of decoding the full bitstream, so certain older cards that only provide partial pipeline acceleration are not supported. On Windows XP the Overlay Mixer, Video Mixing Renderer 7 and Video Mixing Renderer 9 can be used with DXVA 1.0, and on Windows Vista and later the EVR can be used with DXVA 2.0.

And finally, you get all of this for free! Ready to get accelerated? Follow these steps...

Step 1: Check if your chipset supports full bitstream decoding

Not all video chipsets accelerate the full H.264 decoding pipeline. You can use DXVA Checker, a third-party donationware tool, to check your systems capabilities.

Testing H.264 decode capabilities using DXVA Checker.

Look for ModeH264 and VLD listed together.

You can also check your card against the following lists, which we believe should work with this version of the DivX H.264 Decoder.

  • [+] Click to expand NVIDIA chipsets
  • [+] Click to expand ATI chipsets
  • [+] Click to expand Intel chipsets

Please note that it is not possible for us to test every chipset listed. If you experience problems using DXVA, before contacting us please check that your system has recent drivers for your video adapter. Drivers for integrated products are typically available through the computer manufacturers support website, whereas drivers for add-in cards are typically available at the card manufacturers site or directly from NVIDIA, AMD (ATI), or Intel. Always create a system restore point before upgrading drivers. To examine your current driver version launch DXDiag using the Run... box on your Start menu. If you're still having trouble get in touch via our forums. Posting some information about your video adapter, its drivers, and your operating system is also a good idea.

Step 2: Enable DXVA acceleration in the decoder settings

Turning on DXVA support on and off is easy! Start by launching the new DivX control panel. You can find it as part of the Windows control panel, or by choosing Codec Settings from the DivX Plus group under Programs on your Start menu:

(Click to enlarge)

In the Playback Settings section of the control panel, click the Advanced tab, then check the box to Use DXVA hardware accelerated playback when available:

(Click to enlarge)

That's it!

Check that the DivX H.264 Decoder is used by DirectShow

If you have more than one H.264 decoder installed on your system you may want to check that the DirectShow media framework will load the DivX H.264 Decoder for H.264 media types. You can use GraphStudio, an open-source application, to check which filter DirectShow will load. Drag and drop any file with an H.264 video stream onto the application window to construct a graph. You should see the DivX H.24 Decoder filter loaded in the graph:

(Click to enlarge)

If any other H.264 decoder filter is loaded you may be able to change preferences by right-clicking on it and accessing its property pages. These are filter-specific. You can also adjust filter merits, which control the priority order in which DirectShow will attempt to attach filters. Take great care when adjusting merit values, as these affect system-wide multimedia function.

Note: If you have installed an alternative MKV splitter on Windows 7 the Microsoft H.264 Decoder may be the default H.264 decoder. However, it will also provide hardware-accelerated decoding where supported.

Let us know what you think

We want to hear your feedback! Please submit your comments and questions to the DivX Software forum (requires sign-in).

If your feedback relates to performance issues or software stability, please consider attaching some of the following to your post:

  • Information about your display adapter including device name, manufacturer, driver version, and driver date from DXDiag, which you can launch by simply typing DXDiag into the Run box on your Start menu.

  • Your Windows version and service pack level

  • Information about the application you are trying to use with the DivX H.264 Decoder, including the application version number.

  • Screenshots from CPU-Z that show your CPU, memory and mainboard configuration.

  • Screenshots of any crash dialogs, including the details view if available.