Intel Graphics, GPU acceleration, video codecs, and Chrome

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I have a signboard I'm developing with a video background. For testing purposes it's using the Vimeo HTML5 widget but this isn't going to work because it's just not up to my standards for quality in a paid widget of that price.

I'll be hosting the video myself (or possibly purchasing Rise Storage) and am wondering about the capabilities of the Chrome implementation in the Rise Player as far as hardware decoding acceleration goes. I tried to load up chrome://settings and chrome://flags in a web page widget to check for myself but it rejects it as an invalid URL.

Is hardware video decoding enabled in the Rise Player? If not is there a way to access Chrome settings and flags to force it if I would like?
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Posted 2 years ago

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Tyler Johnson, Employee

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Hi Chris, if you open chrome://gpu you should see a line indicating
Video Decode: Hardware accelerated

Chrome://media-internals may also be helpful.

We're not doing anything to disable chrome's default behaviour.  But as far as manually altering the default settings, there is currently now way to do that.  

Let me know if there's anything else I can help you with. 
Tyler
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Robb, Official Rep

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Chris,

Another thing to consider is the active Memory, GPU and CPU of the device. If you have a weaker device, typically video won't look that great on it.

I would strongly suggest trying this using our Video Widget and Rise Storage to see if there is an improvement. Be sure to let us know how it works out!
I'm actually not a designer by trade, I'm a local IT guy who got into digital signage management after a client asked me about it. So hardware isn't really a concern for me, I know it well. I'm running the current signs on Compute Sticks and we're about to upgrade to 2nd gen Compute Sticks. They handle 1080P (the display resolution) HTML5 video without any hiccups via the Vimeo HTML5 widget but every time there's a transition it "interacts" with the video and the controls pop up. There's also a bug where some unknown condition will unmute the audio. That gave me a bit of a scare the first time it happened. So I want to run it through some actual hosting instead of Vimeo.

Unfortunately the current version of Chrome is 50 but the Rise Player is running 49 so just installing Chrome on the player device and looking at the enabled flags and media settings won't be of much help. I could find a Chromium 49 build to install but that won't always be consistent with Google's Chrome builds.

To summarize, I'm not actually having any problems with hardware or video playback. But as an IT guy I'd like to take full advantage of the hardware and fully optimize all my content for the platform.

I tried to find where the player stores its own Chrome binary but I haven't been able to find one in any of the Rise installation directories. Can you tell me where I can find it?
(Edited)
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Tyler Johnson, Employee

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Hi Chris, the player uses http://electron.atom.io/ which implements an internal renderer based on chromium.  If you wanted to view the media internals or gpu settings urls that I suggested earlier, you can do so within the player itself.  
Access devtools via CTRL+SHIFT+.  (that's control, shift, period) and then type location.href="chrome://gpu" in the javascript console.  That should bring up the gpu settings.
You are absolutely brilliant. This is going to help me out a lot.

Unfortunately it looks like the flags page is not included in this Chromium build so no such luck there, but with a dev console I can at least figure out for myself exactly what I can and can't do. Thanks a lot.
For posterity:

I did some tests on my 2nd gen Compute Stick using Chrome's task manager. I re encoded the same video with several codecs. h264 seemed to be the only one that was hardware accelerated well. h264 only used ~3% of the CPU. VP8/9 bounced between 15% and 30%.