In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of enabling hardware acceleration for H.264 in Chrome on Ubuntu 21.10 using Vaapi and FFMpeg. This can significantly reduce CPU usage, resulting in smoother video playback and potentially extending battery life on laptops.
To enable hardware acceleration for H.264 in Chrome on Ubuntu 21.10 with Vaapi and FFMpeg, you need to launch Chrome with specific flags. These flags allow Chrome to ignore the GPU blocklist, disable the Chrome OS Direct Video Decoder, use desktop OpenGL drivers, and enable the Vaapi Video Decoder. This can significantly reduce CPU usage and result in smoother video playback.
Understanding Hardware Acceleration
Hardware acceleration refers to the process of offloading certain computing tasks onto specialized hardware components in a system. In the context of video playback, hardware acceleration can be used to offload the computationally intensive task of decoding video streams onto the GPU. This can significantly reduce CPU usage and result in smoother video playback.
Before you start, make sure you have the following:
- Google Chrome installed
- Ubuntu 21.10 operating system
- Access to the terminal and necessary permissions to execute commands
Enabling Hardware Acceleration
To enable hardware acceleration in Google Chrome, you need to launch Chrome with certain flags. Flags are special command-line switches that can be used to enable or disable features in Chrome that may not be fully tested.
Here’s the command you need to use:
/usr/bin/google-chrome-stable --ignore-gpu-blocklist --disable-features=UseChromeOSDirectVideoDecoder --use-gl=desktop --enable-features=VaapiVideoDecoder %U
Let’s break down what each flag does:
--ignore-gpu-blocklist: This flag allows Chrome to ignore the built-in GPU blocklist, which can sometimes prevent hardware acceleration from being used.
--disable-features=UseChromeOSDirectVideoDecoder: This flag disables the use of the Chrome OS Direct Video Decoder, which can interfere with hardware acceleration.
--use-gl=desktop: This flag tells Chrome to use desktop OpenGL drivers for rendering.
--enable-features=VaapiVideoDecoder: This flag enables the use of the Vaapi Video Decoder, which is necessary for hardware acceleration.
%U: This is a placeholder that Chrome replaces with the URL of the page to open.
If the above flags do not work, you can try replacing
--use-gl=egl in the launch command. This change has been reported to work for some users.
Verifying Hardware Acceleration
To verify that hardware acceleration is working, you can use Chrome’s built-in Developer Tools. Press F12 to open Developer Tools, then navigate to the “Media” tab. If hardware acceleration is enabled, you should see “Hardware decoder: True”. If you see “Hardware decoder: False”, that means hardware acceleration is not being used.
If you’re having trouble enabling hardware acceleration, you may want to try adding the
--disable-features=UseChromeOSDirectVideoDecoder option to the launch command. This option has been successful for some users in enabling video acceleration.
If none of the above solutions work, consider reaching out to the Chrome forums for further assistance. However, keep in mind that Linux-related issues may not receive as much attention as other operating systems.
Enabling hardware acceleration for H.264 in Chrome on Ubuntu 21.10 can significantly reduce CPU usage and result in smoother video playback. However, the process can be a bit tricky and may require some troubleshooting. We hope this guide has been helpful in guiding you through the process.