Xilinx Video SDK Release Notes


Version: 2.0.1 (Production)

What’s New


This update release provides several bug fixes in the Xilinx Runtime (XRT).

Upgrade instructions:


This version provides various performance and stability improvements and new features including:

  • Support for GStreamer

  • Support for 10-bit color

  • Support for HDR10 and HDR10+

  • Lookahead support for all resolutions, including 4k

  • Support for dynamic update of encoder parameters

  • Support for splitting transcoding jobs across two devices

  • CPU optimization improvements for encode-based use cases

  • The encoder plugin for C-based applications is now thread-safe

Changed Behavior

  • The encoder plugin has been updated to be thread-safe and is not backwards compatible. The xma_enc_session_recv_data() function no longer allocates the XmaDataBuffer output. It is now the responsability of the application to allocate the XmaDataBuffer data structure. C-based applications developped with earlier versions of the Xilinx Video SDK must be updated accordingly or they will error out with version 2.0.

Supported Platforms and Operating Systems

The Xilinx Video SDK currently supports the following platforms:

  • Xilinx Alveo U30

  • Amazon EC2 VT1

The Xilinx Video SDK currently supports the following software tools:

  • FFmpeg 4.4

  • GStreamer 1.16.2

The Xilinx Video SDK has been tested and validated by Xilinx on the following operating environments:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 (Kernel 5.11)

  • Ubuntu 18.04 (Kernel 5.4)

  • RHEL 7.8 (Kernel 4.9.184)

  • Amazon Linux 2 (Kernel 4.14)

The above list of validated operating environments is not intended to be exclusionary. If you choose to run the Xilinx Video SDK using a different operating environment and encounter issues, please file a GitHub issue.


  • The Xilinx Video SDK supports both 8 and 10-bit streams, but they cannot be mixed together. The entire pipeline must be either 8 or 10-bits.

  • The Xilinx Video SDK is optimized for live video real-time transcoding. Even though a single Alveo U30 card has the capability of running two Ultra HD (4K) transcodes in real-time at 60 frames per second (2x4kp60), running a single 4k stream at 120 fps is not supported. Similarly, a single Alveo U30 card supports up to 8x1080p60 transcodes in real-time, but it does not support fewer streams running at 120fps or beyond.

  • The maximum aggregate bandwidth bitrate tested per device is 35 Mb/s for 4kp60 for 8-bit and 10-bit streams. Performance of video encoding is not qualified for higher bitrates.

  • When using 10-bit streams, real-time performance for an aggregate bandwidth of 4kp60 per device is not be guaranteed.

    • Techniques to improve performance include: enabling pipelining when using the scaler, using low latency input streams, adjusting the output bitrate, increasing the number of entropy buffers in the decoder and reducing the number of B-frames in the encoder and the input stream.

  • When decoding streams with a high bitrate or with a large number of B-frames, jobs may not meet real-time performance when 2 entropy buffers are used (default setting). In this case, it is recommended to use more entropy buffers. The maximum number of entropy buffers in the decoder is 10.

  • Transcode pipelines split across two devices involving a H264 codec will not meet realtime performance for 10-bit streams.

  • When processing a 1080p60 stream, the scaler can only sustain a rate of 60fps for up to 5 outputs. Therefore, given 4 1080p60 input streams, real-time performance is only possible for up to 20 scaled outputs.

  • The scaler is tuned for downscaling and expects non-increasing resolutions in an ABR ladder. Increasing resolutions between outputs is supported but will reduce video quality.

  • The lookahead depth must be less than the periodicity of Intra and IDR frames.

  • If the decoded input stream has fps information in both the container and the VUI header, the decoder takes the fps information from the container instead of the VUI header.

  • HDR10/10+ is supported only for transcode uses cases (involving both the hardware decoder and encoder) and with the following restrictions:

    • Ambient Viewing Environment SEI not supported

    • Tone mapping Info SEI not supported

    • Color Remapping Info SEI not supported

    • HDR10+ Data caching for frame rate conversion is not supported

    • Metadata adaptation for resolution scaling is not supported

    • Transfer characteristics other than AL_TRANSFER_CHARAC_BT_2100_PQ (16) and AL_TRANSFER_CHARAC_BT_2100_HLG (18) are not supported. If any other value is specified, the encoder defaults to AL_TRANSFER_CHARAC_UNSPECIFIED (2).

    • Color matrix coefficients other than AL_COLOUR_MAT_COEFF_BT_2100_YCBCR (9) are not supported. If any other value is specified, the encoder defaults to AL_COLOUR_MAT_COEFF_UNSPECIFIED (2).

Known Issues

Potential “No U30 devices found” error when sourcing the setup.sh script on AWS VT1 instances

  • Description: Sourcing the setup.sh script on AWS VT1 gives a “No U30 devices found” error.

  • Solution: A patch is required to use version 1.5 of the Xilinx Video SDK on AWS VT1 instances running the latest version of the U30 firmware. See instructions here.

Potential “failed” error code when sourcing the setup.sh script

  • Description: If you source the setup script on a machine where the Xilinx Video SDK environment has already been initialized, you will see the “failed” status being reported.

  • Solution: This is not an indication of a problem. This status simply states that your environment is already set up and that the system is ready for use.:

    -----Load xrm plugins-----
        "response": {
            "name": "loadXrmPlugins",
            "requestId": "1",
            "status": "failed",
            "data": {
                "failed": "plugin xrmU30DecPlugin (version 2) is already loaded"

Running ‘xbutil validate’ from a VM with version 1.5 installed gives an error

  • Description: After the devices have been flashed with the version 2.0, running ‘xbutil validate’ from a virtual machine with version 1.5 installed results in an error. The validation program included in version 1.5 of the Xilinx Video SDK is not forward compatible with version 2.0.

  • Solution: None

Custom rate control needs a minimum of 8 lookahead frames for reasonable picture quality

  • Description: Custom rate control is automatically enabled when the lookahead depth is set to 1 or more. However, to obtain reasonable picture quality, custom rate control needs a minimum of 8 lookahead frames.

  • Solution: Increase the lookahead depth to 8 frames or more when using custom rate control, or set the control rate to constant when using less a lookahead depth smaller than 8.

The encoder adds duplicate frames for streams with ‘fps’ and ‘timescale’ parameters which do not match

  • Description: When the ‘fps’ and ‘timescale’ parameters of the input stream do not match, FFmpeg calculates a framerate value which leads to duplicate streams.

  • Solution: Ensure ‘fps’ and ‘timescale’ parameters match

FFmpeg jobs split across two devices need the xvbm_convert filter to move data between devices

  • Description: FFmpeg will generate garbage results if a job is split across two devices without using the xvbm_convert filter to copy the frame buffers between devices.

  • Solution: Use xvbm_convert filters to ensure the second device operates on valid data, as explained in the data movement section of the documentation.

Initialization error with a 4K 10bit Scaler + HEVC encoder FFmpeg pipeline

  • Description: When running a 4K 10bit Scaler + HEVC encoder pipeline, the following error is seen when the encoder is initialized:

    [XMA] ERROR:  **  ffmpeg xma-vcu-encoder VCU_INIT failed : device error: Channel creation failed, processing power of the available cores insufficient.
  • Solution: Run FFmpeg with the -slices 4 -cores 4 encoder options

Potential “Too many packets buffered for output stream 0:1” error when running FFmpeg

  • Description: Some FFmpeg jobs may fail with a error message indicating “Too many packets buffered for output stream 0:1.”. This is a known FFmpeg issue (https://trac.ffmpeg.org/ticket/6375) which is not specific to the Xilinx Video SDK.

  • Solution: Run FFmpeg with the -max_muxing_queue_size 9999 option

Multiple “Starting new cluster” messages when encoding to Matroska

  • Description: When encoding to .mkv, FFmpeg may have issues synchronizing video and audio data leading to messages of the following form: [matroska @ 0x563b3f675100] Starting new cluster

  • Solution: Pass -max_interleave_delta 0 on the FFmpeg command line

Streams with rotation metadata may cause a segfault while transcoding

  • Description: The hardware transcode pipeline can be unstable on a stream with rotation metadata.

  • Solution: Use the FFmpeg -noautorotate option in cases where rotation metadata is present.

Abrupt termination of FFmpeg processes may cause video resources to not be released correctly

  • Description: Rerunning FFmpeg after abrutly terminating previous runs gives an “xrm_allocation: resource allocation failed” error message indicating that there are not enough video resources available to run this job on the Xilinx device.

  • Solution: Users should terminate all running FFmepg processes before exiting their shell. Otherwise, a SIGHUP will be sent to the running FFmpeg processes and this may result in an unhandled signal leading to non-graceful termination and video resources will not be released correctly.

GStreamer package installation failure on RHEL due to dependencies

  • Description: Package installation may fail as it is required to have an active RHEL subscription to download packages from RHEL’s repositories.

  • Solution: Get a subscription to RHEL and re-run the install script. Refer to https://access.redhat.com/solutions/253273