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Apr 4, 2017

Intel® Media SDK

Intel® Media SDK provides a plain C API to access hardware-accelerated video decode, encode and filtering on Intel® Gen graphics hardware platforms. Implementation written in C++ 11 with parts in C-for-Media (CM).

Supported video encoders: HEVC, AVC, MPEG-2, JPEG, VP9
Supported video decoders: HEVC, AVC, VP8, VP9, MPEG-2, VC1, JPEG, AV1
Supported video pre-processing filters: Color Conversion, Deinterlace, Denoise, Resize, Rotate, Composition

Media SDK is a part of Intel software stack for graphics:

  • Linux Graphics Drivers - General Purpose GPU Drivers for Linux* Operating Systems
    • Visit documentation for instructions on installing, deploying, and updating Intel software to enable general purpose GPU (GPGPU) capabilities for Linux*-based operating system distributions.


Intel Media SDK depends on LibVA. This version of Intel Media SDK is compatible with the open source Intel Media Driver for VAAPI.

Table of contents


Intel Media SDK is licensed under MIT license. See LICENSE for details.

How to contribute

See CONTRIBUTING for details. Thank you!


To get copy of Media SDK documentation use Git* with LFS support.

Please find full documentation under the ./doc folder. Key documents:

Generic samples information is available in Media Samples Guide

Linux Samples Readme Documents:

Visit our Github Wiki for the detailed setting and building instructions, runtime tips and other information.


Products which use Media SDK

Use Media SDK via popular frameworks:

Learn best practises and borrow fragments for final solutions:

    • This collection of samples demonstrates best practices to achieve optimal video quality and performance on Intel GPUs for content delivery networks. Check out the demo, recommended command lines and quality and performance measuring tools.

Use Media SDK via other Intel products:

  • OpenVINO Toolkit
    • This toolkit allows developers to deploy pre-trained deep learning models through a high-level C++ Inference Engine API integrated with application logic.
  • Open Visual Cloud
    • The Open Visual Cloud is a set of open source software stacks (with full end-to-end sample pipelines) for media, analytics, graphics and immersive media, optimized for cloud native deployment on commercial-off-the-shelf x86 CPU architecture.

System requirements

Operating System:

  • Linux x86-64 fully supported
  • Linux x86 only build
  • Windows (not all features are supported in Windows build - see Known Limitations for details)


Hardware: Intel platforms supported by the Intel Media Driver for VAAPI

Media SDK test and sample applications may require additional software packages (for example, X Server, Wayland, LibDRM, etc.) to be functional.

Operating System: Windows (experimental)

Requires Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 for building.

How to build

Build steps

Get sources with the following Git* command (pay attention that to get full Media SDK sources bundle it is required to have Git* with LFS support):

git clone msdk
cd msdk

To configure and build Media SDK install cmake version 3.6 or later and run the following commands:

mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..
make install

Media SDK depends on a number of packages which are identified and checked for the proper version during configuration stage. Please, make sure to install these packages to satisfy Media SDK requirements. After successful configuration 'make' will build Media SDK binaries and samples. The following cmake configuration options can be used to customize the build:

Option Values Description
API master|latest|major.minor Build mediasdk library with specified API. 'latest' will enable experimental features. 'master' will configure the most recent available published API (default: master).
ENABLE_OPENCL ON|OFF Enable OpenCL dependent code to be built (default: ON)
ENABLE_X11_DRI3 ON|OFF Enable X11 DRI3 dependent code to be built (default: OFF)
ENABLE_WAYLAND ON|OFF Enable Wayland dependent code to be built (default: OFF)
ENABLE_ITT ON|OFF Enable ITT (VTune) instrumentation support (default: OFF)
ENABLE_TEXTLOG ON|OFF Enable textlog trace support (default: OFF)
ENABLE_STAT ON|OFF Enable stat trace support (default: OFF)
BUILD_ALL ON|OFF Build all the BUILD_* targets below (default: OFF)
BUILD_RUNTIME ON|OFF Build mediasdk runtime, library and plugins (default: ON)
BUILD_SAMPLES ON|OFF Build samples (default: ON)
BUILD_TESTS ON|OFF Build unit tests (default: OFF)
USE_SYSTEM_GTEST ON|OFF Use system gtest version instead of bundled (default: OFF)
BUILD_TOOLS ON|OFF Build tools (default: OFF)
MFX_ENABLE_KERNELS ON|OFF Build mediasdk with media shaders support (default: ON)

The following cmake settings can be used to adjust search path locations for some components Media SDK build may depend on:

Setting Values Description
CMAKE_ITT_HOME Valid system path Location of ITT installation, takes precendence over CMAKE_VTUNE_HOME (by default not defined)
CMAKE_VTUNE_HOME Valid system path Location of VTune installation (default: /opt/intel/vtune_amplifier)

Visit our Github Wiki for advanced topics on setting and building Media SDK.

Enabling Instrumentation and Tracing Technology (ITT)

To enable the Instrumentation and Tracing Technology (ITT) API you need to:

and configure Media SDK with the -DENABLE_ITT=ON. In case of VTune it will be searched in the default location (/opt/intel/vtune_amplifier). You can adjust ITT search path with either CMAKE_ITT_HOME or CMAKE_VTUNE_HOME.

Once Media SDK was built with ITT support, enable it in a runtime creating per-user configuration file ($HOME/.mfx_trace) or a system wide configuration file (/etc/mfx_trace) with the following content:


Known limitations

Windows build contains only samples and dispatcher library. MediaSDK library DLL is provided with Windows GFX driver.


  • In case of GCC compiler it is strongly recommended to use GCC version 6 or later since that's the first GCC version which has non-experimental support of C++11 being used in Media SDK.

See also

Intel Media SDK:

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