How to properly use a hardware accelerated Media Foundation Source Reader to decode a video?


I'm in the process of writing a hardware accelerated h264 decoder using Media Foundation's Source Reader, but have encountered a problem. I followed this tutorial and supported myself with Windows SDK Media Foundation samples.

My app seems to work fine when hardware acceleration is turned off, but it doesn't provide the performance I need. When I turn the acceleration on by passing a IMFDXGIDeviceManager to IMFAttributes used to create the reader, things get complicated.

If I create the ID3D11Device using a D3D_DRIVER_TYPE_NULL driver, the app works fine and the frames are processed faster that in the software mode, but judging by the CPU and GPU usage it still does majority of the processing on CPU.

On the other hand, when I create the ID3D11Device using a D3D_DRIVER_TYPE_HARDWARE driver and run the app, one of these four things can happen.

  1. I only get an unpredictable number of frames (usually 1-3) before IMFMediaBuffer::Lock function returns 0x887a0005 which is described as "The GPU device instance has been suspended. Use GetDeviceRemovedReason to determine the appropriate action". When I call ID3D11Device::GetDeviceRemovedReason, I get 0x887a0020 which is described as "The driver encountered a problem and was put into the device removed state" which isn't as helpful as I wish it to be.

  2. The app crashes in an external dll on IMFMediaBuffer::Lock call. It seems that the dll depends on the GPU used. For Intel integrated GPU it's igd10iumd32.dll and for Nvidia mobile GPU it's mfplat.dll. The message for this particular crash is as follows: "Exception thrown at 0x53C6DB8C (mfplat.dll) in decoder_ tester.exe: 0xC0000005: Access violation reading location 0x00000024". The addresses are different between executions and sometimes it involves reading, sometimes writing.

  3. The graphics driver stops responding, the system hangs for a short time and then the application crashes like in point 2 or finishes like in point 1.

  4. The app works fine and processes all the frames with hardware acceleration.

Most of the time it's 1 or 2, seldom 3 or 4.

Here's what the CPU/GPU usage is like when processing without throttling in different modes on my machine (Intel Core i5-6500 with HD Graphics 530, Windows 10 Pro).

  • NULL - CPU: ~90%, GPU: ~15%
  • HARDWARE - CPU: ~15%, GPU: ~60%
  • SOFTWARE - CPU: ~40%, GPU: ~7%

I tested the app on three machines. All of them had Intel integrated GPUs (HD 4400, HD 4600, HD 530). One of them also had switchable Nvidia dedicated GPU (GF 840M). It bahaves identically on all of them, the only difference is that it crashes in a different dll when Nvidia's GPU is used.

I have no previous experience with COM or DirectX, but all of this is inconsistent and unpredictable, so it looks like a memory corruption to me. Still, I don't know where I'm making the mistake. Could you please help me find what I'm doing wrong?

The minimal code example I could come up with with is below. I'm using Visual Studio Professional 2015 to compile it as a C++ project. I prepared definitions to enable hardware acceleration and select the hardware driver. Comment them out to change the behavior. Also, the code expects this video file to be present in the project directory.

#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <atlbase.h>
#include <d3d11.h>
#include <mfapi.h>
#include <mfidl.h>
#include <mfreadwrite.h>
#include <windows.h>

#pragma comment(lib, "d3d11.lib")
#pragma comment(lib, "mf.lib")
#pragma comment(lib, "mfplat.lib")
#pragma comment(lib, "mfreadwrite.lib")
#pragma comment(lib, "mfuuid.lib")


void handle_result(HRESULT hr)
    if (SUCCEEDED(hr))

    WCHAR message[512];

        MAKELANGID(LANG_NEUTRAL, SUBLANG_DEFAULT), message, ARRAYSIZE(message), nullptr);

    printf("%ls", message);

int main(int argc, char** argv)
    handle_result(CoInitializeEx(nullptr, COINIT_APARTMENTTHREADED | COINIT_DISABLE_OLE1DDE));

        CComPtr<IMFAttributes> attributes;

        handle_result(MFCreateAttributes(&attributes, 3));

        CComPtr<ID3D11Device> device;
        D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL levels[] = { D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_1, D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_0 };

#if defined(ENABLE_HW_DRIVER)
            levels, ARRAYSIZE(levels), D3D11_SDK_VERSION, &device, nullptr, nullptr));
        handle_result(D3D11CreateDevice(nullptr, D3D_DRIVER_TYPE_NULL, nullptr, D3D11_CREATE_DEVICE_SINGLETHREADED,
            levels, ARRAYSIZE(levels), D3D11_SDK_VERSION, &device, nullptr, nullptr));

        UINT token;
        CComPtr<IMFDXGIDeviceManager> manager;

        handle_result(MFCreateDXGIDeviceManager(&token, &manager));
        handle_result(manager->ResetDevice(device, token));

        handle_result(attributes->SetUnknown(MF_SOURCE_READER_D3D_MANAGER, manager));
        handle_result(attributes->SetUINT32(MF_READWRITE_ENABLE_HARDWARE_TRANSFORMS, TRUE));
        handle_result(attributes->SetUINT32(MF_SOURCE_READER_ENABLE_VIDEO_PROCESSING, TRUE));

        CComPtr<IMFSourceReader> reader;

        handle_result(MFCreateSourceReaderFromURL(L"Rogue One - A Star Wars Story - Trailer.mp4", attributes, &reader));

        CComPtr<IMFMediaType> output_type;

        handle_result(output_type->SetGUID(MF_MT_MAJOR_TYPE, MFMediaType_Video));
        handle_result(output_type->SetGUID(MF_MT_SUBTYPE, MFVideoFormat_RGB32));
        handle_result(reader->SetCurrentMediaType(MF_SOURCE_READER_FIRST_VIDEO_STREAM, nullptr, output_type));

        unsigned int frame_count{};

        std::cout << "Started processing frames" << std::endl;

        while (true)
            CComPtr<IMFSample> sample;
            DWORD flags;

                0, nullptr, &flags, nullptr, &sample));

            if (flags & MF_SOURCE_READERF_ENDOFSTREAM || sample == nullptr)

            std::cout << "Frame " << frame_count++ << std::endl;

            CComPtr<IMFMediaBuffer> buffer;
            BYTE* data;

            handle_result(buffer->Lock(&data, nullptr, nullptr));

            // Use the frame here.


        std::cout << "Finished processing frames" << std::endl;


    return 0;
asked on Stack Overflow Dec 1, 2016 by Vennor

2 Answers


Your code is correct, conceptually, with the only remark - and it's not quite obvious - that Media Foundation decoder is multithreaded. You are feeding it with a single threaded version of Direct3D device. You have to work it around or you get what you are currently getting: access violations and freezes, that is undefined behavior.

    // NOTE: No single threading
    handle_result(D3D11CreateDevice(nullptr, D3D_DRIVER_TYPE_HARDWARE, nullptr, 
        levels, ARRAYSIZE(levels), D3D11_SDK_VERSION, &device, nullptr, nullptr));

    // NOTE: Getting ready for multi-threaded operation
    const CComQIPtr<ID3D11Multithread> pMultithread = device;

Also note that this straightforward code sample has a performance bottleneck around the lines you added for getting contiguous buffer. Apparently it's your move to get access to the data... however behavior by design is that decoded data is already in video memory, and your transfer to system memory is an expensive operation. That is, you added a severe performance hit to the loop. You will be interested in checking validity of data this way, and when it comes to performance benchmarking you should rather comment that out.

answered on Stack Overflow Dec 3, 2016 by Roman R. • edited Dec 30, 2020 by Roman R.

The output types of H264 video decoder can be found here: RGB32 is not one of them. In this case your app relies on the Video Processor MFT to do the conversion from any of the MFVideoFormat_I420, MFVideoFormat_IYUV, MFVideoFormat_NV12, MFVideoFormat_YUY2, MFVideoFormat_YV12 to RGB32. I suppose that it's the Video Processor MFT that acts strangely and causes your program to misbehave. That's why by setting NV12 as the output subtype for the decoder you'll get rid of the Video Processor MFT and the following lines of code are getting useless as well:




Moreover, as you noticed NV12 is the only format that works properly. I think the reason for this is that it is the only one that is used in the accelerated scenarios by the D3D and DXGI device manager.

answered on Stack Overflow Dec 2, 2016 by VuVirt • edited Dec 2, 2016 by VuVirt

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