Hardware video acceleration makes it possible for the video card to decode/encode video, thus offloading the CPU and saving power. There are several ways to achieve this on Linux: Video Acceleration API (VA-API) is a specification and open source library to provide both hardware accelerated video encoding and decoding, developed by Intel. Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) is an open source library and API to offload portions of the video decoding process and video post-processing to the GPU video-hardware, developed by NVIDIA.

Hardware-Accelerated Video Playback on Intel CPU/GPUs in Ubuntu. Ubuntu 17.10 introduces out-of-the box support for video acceleration that’s much simpler than previous Ubuntu releases.

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-addons

You now have working hardware accelerated video playback in totem (“Videos” app) only. You can verify this by installing the vainfo tool:

sudo apt install vainfo
vainfo

However totem has a few performance problems that are still yet to be fixed so for smoother playback and lower power usage we recommend mpv 0.26 instead, which in Ubuntu 17.10 is configured to provide working hardware acceleration out-of-the-box:

sudo apt install mpv
mpv myvideo.mp4
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