Looks Like Firefox 116 Will Add HW Accelerated Video Playback for Raspberry Pi 4

V4L2-M2M hardware-accelerated video decoding has been implemented for the Linux build.
Firefox 116 Raspberry Pi

Thanks to the work done by David Turner with the help of a few other Firefox developers, it would appear that the upcoming Firefox 116 web browser release will implement hardware-accelerated video decoding for Raspberry Pi 4 computers.

Work on implementing hardware-accelerated H.264 video decoding on Linux for the AArch64 (ARM64) hardware architecture, which is used by the popular Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer, was kicked off a couple of months by David Turner.

At the moment, the Firefox web browser relies on software decoding for video playback on the Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer, despite the fact that Raspberry Pi 4 has capable hardware video decoding accelerators.

Because of this, video playback in Firefox on a Raspberry Pi 4 computer usually results in high CPU usage, not to mention video stuttering and frame dropping when using high resolutions like 4K@60fps.

On 64-bit Linux desktops, Firefox uses the Video Acceleration API (VA-API) via FFmpeg for hardware-accelerated video playback on AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA systems.

For the Raspberry Pi 4, the upcoming Firefox 116 release will apparently use the V4L2-M2M (Video4Linux/Memory-to-Memory) API in the Linux kernel for hardware-accelerated video decoding.

“I propose to add support to Firefox for using V4L2-M2M video decode accelerators using the FFmpeg platform, in a manner similar to the existing VA-API support,” said David Turner in a bug report.

After two months of work, the said bug report is now closed and it’s marked as fixed/resolved, which means that Firefox 116, due out on August 1st, 2023, will finally bring hardware-accelerated H.264 video playback to Raspberry Pi 4 computers and other AArch64 devices capable of hardware decoding.

Unfortunately, Mozilla doesn’t provide an AArch64 build of its Firefox web browser for download, so you’ll have to wait for Firefox 116 to arrive in the stable software repositories of your Raspberry Pi distribution or compile it yourself using the source package when it will be officially released next month.

For 64-bit Linux desktops, the Firefox 116 release also promises improved Wayland support, Quick Actions in the address bar, Cookie Banner Reduction, support for keyboard users to access bookmarks, history, and synced tabs in the sidebar switcher, the ability to edit existing text annotations, and more.

Last updated 10 months ago

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