Server Setup

How to enable Intel hardware acceleration for video playback in CentOS/RHEL 8

by , , revisited on

We have by far the largest RPM repository with NGINX module packages and VMODs for Varnish. If you want to install NGINX, Varnish, and lots of useful performance/security software with smooth yum upgrades for production use, this is the repository for you.
Active subscription is required.

Having your software leverage hardware as much as possible is a good thing.

The same applies to video playback hardware acceleration, of course. Instead of using the CPU, the graphics card should be leveraged for the job.

Do you have an Intel integrated graphics card and CentOS/RHEL 8 system? Read on 🙂

Enable Required Repositories

First, ensure all required RPM repositories are set up on your system:


sudo dnf -y install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm

On RHEL 8, it is recommended to also enable the codeready-builder-for-rhel-8-*-rpms repository since EPEL packages may depend on packages from it:

sudo subscription-manager repos --enable "codeready-builder-for-rhel-8-$(rpm -E %{_arch})-rpms"

On CentOS 8 it is recommended to also enable the PowerTools repository since EPEL packages may depend on packages from it:

sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled PowerTools

GetPageSpeed repo

sudo dnf -y install https://extras.getpagespeed.com/release-latest.rpm

RPM Fusion

Follow along configuration and set up both free and nonfree RPM repositories.

Install VLC

sudo dnf install vlc

Install VA-API implementation for Intel G45 and HD Graphics family

The VA-API implementation is basically an interface library that allows application with video playback to talk to an Intel GPU in order to provide hardware video acceleration.
So far, there’s been a few such implementations from Intel.

The “default” one is libva-intel-driver, however, it is prone to stuttering while playing 4K videos.
In my experience, it also has playback problems after resuming from sleep.
If you have a relatively old Intel GPU, there’s nothing you can do other than using this buggy driver and hope for the best:

sudo dnf -y install libva-intel-driver

Alternatively, with a newer Intel CPU/GPU in mind, you can use the newer driver called intel-media-driver.
This did not have the aforementioned issue with 4K playback:

sudo dnf -y install intel-media-driver

To ensure that the apps actually use it, add LIBVA_DRIVER_NAME=iHD to /etc/environment file.
Reboot to apply.

You can then check your selected VA-API interface by examining the output of vainfo command (from libva-utils package).

Confirm VA-API is working

Run vlc on the command line to check:

vlc "https://youtu.be/6An_c0FOlew"

Output should include which VA-API implementation is in use, e.g. for libva-intel-driver:

[00007f03b06656e0] avcodec decoder: Using Intel i965 driver for Intel(R) Coffee Lake – 2.1.0 for hardware decoding

or, for intel-media-driver:

[00007fe52866d420] avcodec decoder: Using Intel iHD driver – 1.0.0 for hardware decoding

Hardware video acceleration in Chrome

Browser is another story. It needs to support the aforementioned VA-API interface. And the standard Chrome version doesn’t.

There is a project named chromium-freeworld, which is basically a Chromium that integrates the necessary patches for supporting VA-API, and thus hardware acceleration!

So you can;

sudo dnf -y install chromium-freeworld

This will install the Chromium with VA-API support. To verify if video acceleration is supported, navigate to chrome://gpu page. And you will see it say:

Video Decode: Hardware accelerated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.