A comprehensive set of APIs for hardware accelerated video encode and decode on Windows and Linux.


NVIDIA Video Codec SDK technology is used to stream video to Twitch with NVIDIA ShadowPlay

 

The Video Codec SDK includes a complete set of high-performance tools, samples and documentation for hardware accelerated video encode and decode on Windows and Linux.


The SDK consists of two hardware acceleration interfaces:
  • NVENCODE API for video encode acceleration
  • NVDECODE API for video decode acceleration (formerly called NVCUVID API)

  • NVIDIA GPUs contain one or more hardware-based decoder and encoder(s) (separate from the CUDA cores) which provides fully-accelerated hardware-based video decoding and encoding for several popular codecs. With decoding/encoding offloaded, the graphics engine and the CPU are free for other operations.

    GPU hardware accelerator engine for video decoding (referred to as NVDEC) supports faster than real-time decoding which makes it suitable to be used for transcoding applications, in addition to video playback applications.

    * Diagram represents support for the NVIDIA Pascal GPU family
    ** 4:2:2 is not natively supported on HW
    *** Support is codec dependent

    Operating System Windows 7, 8, 10, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, and Linux
    Dependencies NVENCODE API - NVIDIA Quadro, Tesla, GRID or GeForce products with Kepler, Maxwell and Pascal generation GPUs.

    NVDECODE API - NVIDIA Quadro, Tesla, GRID or GeForce products with Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell and Pascal generation GPUs.

    GPU Support Matrix

    NVIDIA Linux display driver 375.20 or newer
    NVIDIA Windows display driver 375.95 or newer


    DirectX SDK (Windows only) Optional: CUDA Toolkit 7.5
    Development Environment Windows: Visual Studio 2010/2013/2015
    Linux: gcc 4.8 or higher

    Get NVIDIA Video Codec SDK


    If you are looking to make use of the dedicated decoding/encoding hardware on your GPU in an existing application you can leverage the integration already available in the FFmpeg/libav. FFmpeg/libav should be used for evaluation or quick integration, but it may not provide control over every encoder parameter. NVDECODE and NVENCODE APIs should be used for low-level granular control over various encode/decode parameters and if you want to directly tap into the hardware decoder/encoder. This access is available through the Video Codec SDK.


    For application users


    Cross-platform solution to record, convert and stream audio and video. Includes NVIDIA Video Hardware Acceleration

    • Hardware acceleration for most popular video framework
    • Leverages FFmpeg’s Audio codec, stream muxing, and RTP protocols
    • Available for Windows, Linux
    • You can now use FFMPEG to accelerate video encoding and decoding using NVENC and NVDEC, respectively.

    Learn more about FFMPEG

    For application developers

    Download Video Codec SDK 7.1


    To download, you must be a member of NVIDIA Developer - DesignWorks.

    By clicking the "Agree & Download" button below, you are confirming that you have read and agree to be bound by the SOFTWARE DEVELOPER KITS, SAMPLES AND TOOLS LICENSE AGREEMENT for use of the SDK package. The download will begin immediately after clicking on the "Agree & Download" button below.


    Windows / Linux
    Agree & Download

    Video Codec SDK in Action

    NVIDIA GeForce NOW™ is an on-demand service that connects you to NVIDIA’s cloud-gaming supercomputers to stream PC games to your SHIELD device at up to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second.

    Learn more about GeForce NOW

    NVIDIA GameStream™ technology brings the highest resolution PC gaming to your NVIDIA SHIELD device. It harnesses the power of GeForce® GTX™ graphics cards by accessing encoding APIs using Video Codec SDK to encode your games and cast it from your PC to your SHIELD device.>

    Learn more about NVIDIA GameStream

    Key Features of Video Codec SDK

    NVENC - Hardware-Accelerated Video Encoding

    NVIDIA GPUs - beginning with the Kepler generation - contain a hardware-based encoder (referred to as NVENC) which provides fully-accelerated hardware-based video encoding and is independent of graphics performance. With complete encoding (which is computationally complex) offloaded to NVENC, the graphics engine and the CPU are free for other operations. For example, in a game recording scenario, encoding being completely offloaded to NVENC makes the graphics engine bandwidth fully available for game rendering.

    * Diagram represents support for the NVIDIA Pascal GPU family
    ** 4:2:2 is not natively supported on HW


    GPU H.264 (AVCHD) YUV 4:2:0 H.264 (AVCHD) YUV 4:4:4 H.264 (AVCHD) LOSSLESS H.265 (HEVC) YUV 4:2:0 H.265 (HEVC) YUV 4:4:4 H.265 (HEVC) LOSSLESS
    MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res.
    Kepler 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    Maxwell (1st Gen)* 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    Maxwell (2nd Gen) 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
    Maxwell (GM206) 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096
    Pascal 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 4096 10-bit 8192 x 8192** 10-bit 8192 x 8192** 10-bit 8192 x 8192**

    * Except GM108
    ** Except GP100

    For a full list of GPUs, encode formats and number of streams supported, please see the available GPU Support Matrix.

    Performance: 5X Increase over x264(CPU)

    Performance represents measured average performance and quality of different classes of videos (camcorder, gaming, screen, synthetic, and telepresence). Performance may vary based on OS and software versions, and motherboard configuration.

    Performance represents max performance and may vary based on OS and software versions, and motherboard configuration.


    Performance represents max performance and may vary based on OS and software versions, and motherboard configuration.

     

    NVDEC - Hardware-Accelerated Video Decoding

    NVIDIA GPUs contain a hardware-based decoder (referred to as NVDEC) which provides fully-accelerated hardware-based video decoding for several popular codecs. With complete decoding offloaded to NVDEC the graphics engine and the CPU are free for other operations. NVDEC supports much faster than real-time decoding which makes it suitable to be used for transcoding applications, in addition to video playback applications.

    NVDECODE API enables software developers to configure this dedicated hardware video decoder. This dedicated accelerator supports hardware-accelerated decoding of the following video codecs on Windows and Linux platforms: MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 (AVCHD), H.265 (HEVC), VP8, VP9 (see table below for codec support for each GPU generation).

    * Diagram represents support for the NVIDIA Pascal GPU family
    ** 4:2:2 is not natively supported on HW


    GPU H.265 (HEVC) H.264 (AVCHD) VP9 VP8 MPEG-2 VC-1
    MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res. MAX Color MAX Res.
    Kepler N/A N/A 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A N/A N/A 8-bit 4080 x 4080 8-bit 2048 x 1024
    Maxwell (1st Gen) N/A N/A 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A N/A N/A 8-bit 4080 x 4080 8-bit 2048 x 1024
    Maxwell (2nd Gen) N/A N/A 8-bit 4096 x 4096 N/A N/A 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4080 x 4080 8-bit 2048 x 1024
    Maxwell (GM206) 10-bit* 4096 x 2304 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4096 x 2304 8-bit 4096 x 4096 8-bit 4080 x 4080 8-bit 2048 x 1024
    Pascal 12-bit* 8192 x 8192** 8-bit 4096 x 4096 12-bit**** 8192 x 8192** 8-bit 4096 x 4096*** 8-bit 4080 x 4080 8-bit 2048 x 1024

    * HEVC/VP9 10/12 bit decoding SW support coming in Video Codec SDK 8.0
    ** Max resolution support is limited to selected Pascal chips
    *** VP8 decode support is limited to selected Pascal chips
    **** VP9 10/12 bit decode support is limited to select Pascal chips

    For a full list of GPUs, decode formats and number of streams supported,, please see the available GPU Support Matrix.

    Performance

    For convenience, NVDECODE API documentation and sample applications are also included in the CUDA Toolkit, in addition to the Video Codec SDK.

    Note: For Video Codec SDK 7.0, NVCUVID has been renamed to NVDECODE API.


    Direct API access via Video Codec SDK

    INPUT

    There are two methods to allocate and pass input buffers to the video encoder.

    • Input buffers allocated through NVIDIA Video Encoder Interface (CPU pointer)
    • Input buffers allocated externally (Mapped Resource)

    The source content can be:

    • 8-bit YUV 4:2:0 sequence
    • 10-bit YUV 4:2:0 sequence
    • ARGB input

    For more information refer to the NVIDIA Decoder (NVDEC) Programming Guide

    OUTPUT

    Upon completion of the encoding process for an input picture, the client gets a CPU pointer to the encoded bit stream. The client can make a local copy of the encoded data or pass the CPU pointer for further processing (e.g. to a media file writer).

    The output can be:

    • H.264 (HACV) bit stream
    • H.264 Motion Estimation (ME) - Macro-block level motion vectors and intra/inter modes
    • H.265 (HEVC) bit stream
    • HEVC Motion Estimation (ME) - CTB level motion vectors and intra/inter modes
    • 8K (8192 x 8192) H.265 (HEVC) bit stream

    For more information refer to the NVIDIA Encoder (NVENC) Programming Guide

    Code Samples

    • SDK Samples Guide
    • Sample applications source code, along with Windows and Linux build files. These samples demonstrate how to use the hardware encoder and decoder.

    Documentation

    Developer Forums

    Our forum community is where Developers can ask questions, share experiences and participate in discussions with NVIDIA and other experts in the field.
    Check out the forums here.

    Legacy Versions

    Older legacy versions of NVENC SDK and Video Codec SDK are available here.

    Additional Resources