Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) is a royalty-free application programming interface (API) as well as its implementation as a free and open-source library (libvdpau) distributed under the MIT License. VDPAU is also supported by Nvidia.
The VDPAU interface is to be implemented by device drivers, such as Nvidia GeForce driver, nouveau, amdgpu, to offer end-user software, such as VLC media player or GStreamer, standardized access to available video decompression acceleration hardware in the form of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) blocks on graphics processing units (GPU), such as Nvidia's PureVideo or AMD's Unified Video Decoder and make use of it.
VDPAU is targeted at Unix-like operating systems (including Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris).
VDPAU allows video programs to access the specialized video decoding ASIC on the GPU to offload portions of the video decoding process and video post-processing from the CPU to the GPU.
Currently, the portions capable of being offloaded by VDPAU onto the GPU are motion compensation (mo comp), inverse discrete cosine transform (iDCT), VLD (variable-length decoding) and deblocking for MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 ASP (MPEG-4 Part 2), H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and VC-1, WMV3/WMV9 encoded videos. Which specific codecs of these that can be offloaded to the GPU depend on the generation version of the GPU hardware.
VDPAU was originally designed by Nvidia for its PureVideo SIP block present on its GeForce 8 series and later GPUs.
On March 9, 2015, Nvidia released VDPAU version 1.0 which supports High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) decoding for the Main, Main 4:4:4, Main Still Picture, Main 10, and Main 12 profiles.