Improve Transcoding Efficiency With Intel®-Based Software Solutions

ID 659592
Updated 11/13/2018
Version Latest



Llama in a mine

Overcome the burden of CPU strain with multimedia apps optimized for the UWP ecosystem

Rewriting Apps for Great UWP Compatibility

Over the past two decades, media lovers of all stripes have flocked to the wildly popular VLC* media player, downloading the open-source software on Windows* operating systems (OS) a staggering two billion times. Personal computer users crave the free app’s unprecedented range of functionality: it plays CDs, region-locked DVDs, webcam footage, nearly every type of audio and video codec, and transcodes and streams numerous formats.

That said, with the Windows® 10 Redstone 4* (RS4) operating system update, Microsoft is pivoting toward the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API, a suite-wide API with design features that allow a single app to run uniformly across any Windows-enabled device, be it a tablet, phone, Xbox One* game console, Microsoft HoloLens* head-mounted display, or desktop running Windows® 10 OS in the streamlined S mode.

This transition has put the developers of legacy 32-bit desktop apps in a bind. In order to reach UWP environment’s expanded audience, developers must port their legacy software to the universal API. VLC media player not only made the leap—it soared to new heights.

App files
Figure 1. With Autodesk* ReCap* Photo, 3D models are built from photographs through cloud-based resources, but other functions rely on local resources. Source

thumbnails for series of videos in VCL app
Figure 2. Video list in the VLC media player app Source

Transcode Streaming Video with Efficiency

Working together, Intel Corporation and VideoLAN, the creator of VLC media player, were able to usher the celebrated media player into the brave new world of universal apps without skipping a beat. Better yet, the software received a notable boost in performance from the conversion process.

The application engineers were able to expand the software’s already vast capabilities for version 3.02 on the UWP platform. The most notable new upgrade is the ability to stream video content from VLC media player to Android TV* and Chromecast* devices.

Previously, the process of transcoding consumed too much power. Converting the video signal into code compatible with an Android TV device would utilize 100 percent of the central processing unit (CPU), draining battery life in short time. As a consequence, streaming video from VLC media player app, the world’s most downloaded media player, was effectively prohibited to a large constituency of smart-TV owners.

That’s where Intel® Media SDK development software comes into play. A touted feature, Intel® Quick Sync Video, can offload functions like transcoding to a system’s graphics processing unit (GPU). This transference relieves the burden of a battery-hogging CPU, which allows VLC media app to do the transcoding without bogging down the device, and enables the video to be conveniently broadcast.

“Without Intel, we never would have been able to access the GPU for streaming video,” said Jean-Baptiste Kempf, President and Leaf Developer at VideoLAN.

Intel® Media SDK. The Fast Lane to the Efficient UWP

The developers rewrote the app using Intel Media SDK, optimizing the code for the UWP RS4 environment, thus ensuring the app runs efficiently across an array of devices on the platform.

Intel Media SDK is a game changer for professional-grade media applications, tapping into the fixed function hardware features and functionality of Intel technology:

  • Enables real-time, hardware-accelerated video encoding, decoding, and processing, with the ability to run video processing on the GPU
  • Supports popular video preprocessing filters, including color conversion, deinterlace, resize, and many more

Gateway to Universality

This solution is especially beneficial to developers looking to place video encoding apps on the Windows* Store marketplace, through which Microsoft mandates all UWP apps be certified. Without optimization for the new environment, app performance falters, and popular features like streaming video in 4K resolution become unfeasible.

“Today’s users expect to be able to do hardware encoding very quickly with the lowest possible latency,” said Kempf. “Intel Media SDK allows us to do that.”

UWP apps that are rewritten to integrate Intel Media SDK increase in performance capacity severalfold. The Intel platform offers powerful solutions that expand functionality, prolong battery life, and offer substantial improvements in encoding and decoding. Those who partner with Intel can cross over into the universal environment of UWP API with the full support of Intel tools and technology.

Visit the Microsoft Store to download the UWP version of the VLC app from VideoLAN today: VLC
Find the solution that’s right for your organization. To learn more about Intel Media SDK development software, visit: Intel® Media SDK


1 Testing conducted by Intel and Autodesk in 2017. Configurations: Baseline: 2x Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2697 v3 (28 cores, 2.6 GHz), a 1.2 TB Intel® SSD 750 Series drive with NVMe*, and 2x NVIDIA Quadro P6000*. Newer system: 2x Intel Xeon processor E5-2640 v4 (20 cores, 2.4 GHz), an ATA SAMSUNG SSD SM87* SCSI disk, 128 GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X*. Newest system: Intel Xeon processor W-2156 (8 cores, 3.7 GHz).

2 Testing conducted by Intel and Autodesk in 2017. 20-core system: 2x Intel Xeon processor E5-2640 v4 (20 cores, 2.4 GHz), an ATA SAMSUNG SSD SM87* SCSI disk, 128 GB RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X*. 28-core system: 2x Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2697 v3 (28 cores, 2.6 GHz), a 1.2 TB Intel® SSD 750 Series drive with NVMe*, and 2x NVIDIA Quadro P6000*.

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products.

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