Intel VAAPI howto with Leia v18 nightly based on Ubuntu 18.04 server
For AMD Users and VAAPI: You need to upgrade Ubuntu 18.04's Mesa to at least 18.0.1 - also for hw acceleration to work with VAAPI for your devices you need to use kodi 18.
For Intel users with Generation 10, don't install the intel xorg driver and please start with Ubuntu 20.04.


This is a new era for VAAPI. We worked together with the intel mesa people in order to get rid of the vaPutSurface method, that was the only way, besides some cpu intensive copying, to get the decoded surfaces via a texture from pixmap method to display. This always needed twice the amount of surfaces, as all the decoded surfaces needed to be copied and transfered to a texture again. Besides the additional gpu memory, this copy used too much performance and therefore high quality content like 3840x2160 with 60 frames (60p) were not really watchable even on highly performant hardware.

Besides the performance issue, this putSurface method always scaled the limited color range of the original files to FULL RGB. Introducing Banding or even worse it was scaled twice, e.g. back to limited, by the driver itself. All this won't happen anymore, cause the new zero copy approach allows us to directly render the decoded NV12 surface with our own shader. So all color conversions are in our hands now. You can savely use "Prefer VAAPI Render Method" set to on again and don't need to waste CPU cycles with bypassing this Method. All colors will be fine. If you have a Limited Range TV - you need to set "Use Limited Range" to On additionally. Also make sure that your GPU itself is running at full range, which this howto and also all OpenELEC images will do by default.

Furthermore we got implemented a feature called dithering, which will add random noise to the color scaled image when it is output on a FULL RGB monitor / lcd. So even perfect full range without any banding is now possible for VAAPI decoded material.

This thread is for guiding and testing this new approach, mainly implemented by - whom else - fernetmenta. The dithering algorithm realization in the shader was done by laurim. Wsnipex has done the packaging for the Ubuntu ppa for ease of use.

While we are trying to get this code tested and merged into kodi v17 - the daily builds and updates might get rough from time to time, whenever big changes appear in kodi. This code won't go into kodi v15 as development started right now. Also v16 does not have this code.

To use hevc-vaapi a Braswell or newer architecture is needed. Haswell and Broadwell and older arches will use the CPU for decoding.

So in short: Whatever is possible on linux nowadays on Intel hardware we have here in this build.

This thread is a follow up of:

-1.) Hardware Requirements / Software Requirements
SNB, IVB, HSW, BSW, BDW, BXT, and newer Intel Hardware
This installation is based upon the server iso for Ubuntu 18.04.1 64 bit:
0.) Basic Installation and script tuning
First install the server iso as you would normally do, don't select any additional packages besides perhaps ssh. Also make sure to not use "encrypted home directory" cause this render the simple systemd service unusable. After installation continue with the following steps:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ssh software-properties-common xorg xserver-xorg-legacy alsa-utils mesa-utils git-core librtmp1 libmad0 lm-sensors libmpeg2-4 avahi-daemon libnfs11 libva2 vainfo i965-va-driver linux-firmware dbus-x11 udisks2 openbox pastebinit udisks2 xserver-xorg-video-intel
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

For AMD-Users: If you are running on modern AMD hardware, please also install mesa-va-drivers and the corresponding xorg-drivers matching your hardware xserver-xorg-video-radeon or xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu - we don't support amdgpu-pro.
sudo apt-get install [b]xserver-xorg-video-radeon xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu mesa-va-drivers[/b]

Allow "everyone" to start the Xserver
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg-legacy

Now edit /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config and add the following into a new line at the end of the file:

Make sure we use the intel xorg driver (This is only needed on version newer than 16.04, 16.04 uses intel driver by default), but NOT supported for very modern intel GPUs NUC 10 and beyond, for these, skip the next step. Additionally make sure to use Ubuntu 19.10 or better 20.04:
sudo mkdir -p /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d
cd /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
sudo ln -s /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg-video-intel/xorg.conf 10-intel.conf

Create the kodi user and it add it the relevant groups. If you have created the kodi user during installation only do the usermod part.
sudo adduser kodi
sudo usermod -a -G cdrom,audio,video,plugdev,users,dialout,dip,input kodi

Now we give the permission to shutdown, suspend the computer, therefore create the file /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/custom-actions.pkla with the following content (don't introduce line breaks, especially the Action= line must be exactly one line (especially no linebreaks or auto ".." in freedesktop.login1.*), verify this) - btw. udisks2 will start to work the very moment the PR adding udisks2 support gets merged:
[Actions for kodi user]

[Untrusted Upgrade]

We need a simple systemd service file (this one actively waits on network connection, see: remove that if you don't need to wait)
Create the following file and put the listing into it: /etc/systemd/system/kodi.service
Description = kodi-standalone using xinit
Requires = dbus.service
After = systemd-user-sessions.service

User = kodi
Group = kodi
Type = simple
ExecStart = /usr/bin/xinit /usr/bin/dbus-launch --exit-with-session /usr/bin/openbox-session -- :0 -nolisten tcp vt7
Restart = on-abort

WantedBy =

edit /etc/security/limits.conf and add before the end. remember kodi is the username, not the application. This will allow your user to get the audio thread a bit more priority.
kodi             -       nice            -1

Fake display-manager.service to not make plymouth or something else complain.
sudo ln -s /etc/systemd/system/kodi.service /etc/systemd/system/display-manager.service

1.) Now we install the final Krypton v18 stable version:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install kodi kodi-x11

As we use openbox as our display manager, we need to auto start kodi, therefore create:
sudo mkdir -p /home/kodi/.config/openbox
sudo touch /home/kodi/.config/openbox/autostart
sudo chown kodi:kodi /home/kodi/.config -R

now we write the following into the created /home/kodi/.config/openbox/autostart file, this will automatically switch your TV to full range (please copy the lines, don't try to type the '` and so on, this code only works for one (1) connected TV, if you have multiple devices extend it to a loop):
OUTPUT=`xrandr -display :0 -q | sed '/ connected/!d;s/ .*//;q'`
xrandr -display :0 --output $OUTPUT --set "Broadcast RGB" "Full"
xsetroot #000000
xset s off -dpms
 /usr/bin/kodi --standalone
while [ $? -ne 0 ]; do
 /usr/bin/kodi --standalone
openbox --exit

Now, we can start kodi:
sudo systemctl start kodi

The usual kodi configuration is done as follows:

2.) KODI settings
System ->Player->Processing:
Enable HQ Scalers for scaling above: 20%
Allow hardware acceleration - VAAPI: on
Use Mpeg-2 VAAPI: Yes
Use Mpeg-4 VAAPI: if you like
UseVC-1 VAAPI: on
Use VP8 VAAPI: on (if your device supports it)
Use VP9 VAAPI: on (if your device supports it)
Use HEVC VAAPI: on (if your device supports it)

System -> Player -> Playback
Adjust Refreshrate to match video: On start / stop
Sync Playback to Display: On if you don't use passthrough and Off if passthrough enabled (* This makes no sense when you want to use passthrough, why? Read: In current versions (Jarvis) passthrough is disabled by us if users wants to Sync Playback to Display to care for people that refuse to read.
Adjust display refresh rate to match video: On Start / Stop

While watching a SD(!) video, that is accelerated by VAAPI, e.g. mpeg-2 or h264, click the film role and choose: Deinterlacing-Method: VAAPI-MCDI or VAAPI-MADI (Sandybridge) and VAAPI-BOB (BYT), Scaling Method: Lanczos3 Optimized and choose save for all files. Remember to do this only in combination with the above "scaling above" for 20%. This Lanczos3 Optimized filter is too heavy for BYTs, here you might - depending on the file - choose Bilinear. (Hint the Deinterlace: Auto setting was removed some years ago - we can now properly detect interlace / non interlaced content).

It is obviously clear, that you won't see the VAAPI-MCDI settings when you play a video that is software accelerated only.

You might need to create and advancedsettings.xml file as follows if you have special needs:
  <loglevel hide="false">0</loglevel>
 <cputempcommand>sensors|sed -ne "s/Core 0: \+[-+]\([0-9]\+\).*/\1 C/p"</cputempcommand>
     <delay>175</delay> <!-- set to zero or adjust if audio seems out of sync with 24p movies -->

3. Color Management (only correct with above xrandr forced to FULL)
If your TV is limited range. Go to System -> Video Output and choose "Use Limited Range", disable Dithering.
If your TV is full range. Go to System -> Video Output and unselect "Use Limited Range" and enable Dithering with 8 bits.
If your projector is of low quality, use a dithering setting of 6 or 7 bits.

Remember the above settings only make sense, when you output in Full Range. With the default xrandr setting of Limited 16:235 - those settings would be totally wrong.

4.) Reporting issues

It is mandatory to always provide a full Debug Log that shows the issue. You can restart kodi before hand, reproduce and then post the logfile, by using pastebinit (sudo apt-get install pastebinit) - the following commands need to be run as the user running kodi (kodi if you followed the howto):
dpkg -l |grep mesa | pastebinit
DISPLAY=:0 vainfo | pastebinit
cat ~/.kodi/temp/kodi.log | pastebinit
dmesg | pastebinit
id | pastebinit
amixer | pastebinit
cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | pastebinit

Issue reports without those logfiles are ignored
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.

Messages In This Thread
Intel VAAPI howto with Leia v18 nightly based on Ubuntu 18.04 server - by fritsch - 2015-07-12, 20:06
Live TV broken again? - by schamane - 2016-02-29, 19:56
Random crashes - by hal2100 - 2016-03-08, 22:03