This page gives an overview of the Linux DRM based Video Mixer driver . Paths, files, links and documentation on this page are given relative to the Linux kernel source tree.

Table of Contents


The Linux Video Mixer driver is DRM kernel driver designed to provide support for the Xilinx LogiCORE IP Video Mixer . The Video Mixer is a configurable IP core than can blend up to 16 video layers in addition to an optional logo layer into a single output video stream. Driver is present at

Supported IP Features

The following is a list of IP constraints for which there is support in the driver.
Driver for v1.0 IP (2017.1) and V2.0 (207.3) are deprecated and not supported.
Driver supports V3.0(2018.1 onwards)

IP Feature



Output StreamRGB/YUV444/YUV422/YUV420
Samples per Clock1, 2 and 4
Maximum Data Width8, 10
Maximum Number of Columns40968192
Maximum Number of Rows21604320
Number of Layers816
Layer Video Formats





YUVX8, Y8,



RGB565, Y_UV10,

Y_UV10_420, Y10

Layer AlphaYes
Layer ScalingYes
Layer InterfaceMemory, Streaming
Logo LayerYes
Logo Layer per Pixel AlphaYes
IP Revision3.04.05.0


  • 12 and 16 bpc not tested
  • RGB565 color format not tested
  • 1 and 4 ppc not tested
  • Logo layer transperancy color not supported in driver
  • DRM bridge interface is not supported in driver
  • Backward compatibility for IP versions 1.0 and 2.0 are not supported in >=2018.1 drivers
  • Driver has been verified upto 3840x2160 resolution only.
  • Driver has been tested with 2 ppc only
  • streaming formats yuv444 and yuv420 are not tested
  • Interlaced resolutions are not tested

Kernel Configuration

CONFIG_DRM_XLNX_MIXER should be enabled. This depends on CONFIG_DRM_XLNX and CONFIG_DRM

Location: → Device Drivers → Graphics support → Xilinx DRM KMS Driver

Device Tree Configuration

Comprehensive documentation may be found within the kernel branch at

DRM Implementation Overview

The Linux driver is an implementation of the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) framework. The Video Mixer IP is modeled as a DRM CRTC object and each Mixer layer (including the video output stream layer) is a DRM Plane. DRM Planes can assume one of three logical roles:
  • Primary: this serves as the mode-setting layer and determines the background screen image
  • Overlay: a layer designed to be superimposed over the primary layer. It can be a streaming or memory interface
  • Cursor: a special layer designed to represent a screen pointer or equivalent

By default, the Mixer’s various layers will be mapped to the above DRM Plane roles as follows:

Mixer IP LayerDRM Plane Type
Output stream layerPrimary
Layer 1-8 (2018.1/2018.3)


Layer 1-16(2019.1)Overlay

The default assignment of the layer serving as DRM Primary can be overridden in the device tree with the optional property xlnx,layer-primary. This property can be used to assign the role of “primary” to any one of the Mixer layers(except logo) present in the design. Other hardware layers will be assigned the role of “overlay” layer.

As an overlay plane, the output stream layer will only respond to video format changes; its size will always correspond to the current size of the assigned primary layer. There are several cases wherein assignment of the primary layer to a mixer overlay layer might be advantageous:

  • Your mixer instance is configured to stream out YUV 4:2:2 but you wish to present user space drivers with an ARGB memory interface. You could configure the Mixer with an overlay layer that accepts ARGB memory formatted data and assign this as the DRM primary layer. User space is able to write ARGB and conduct normal mode setting/resolution changes through this layer yet the final output, via the Mixer, will be transformed into YUV 4:2:2.
  • Your use case is such that using overlays superimposed over a background primary plane does not work. Instead, you wish the background layer to be the top layer( in z-order position and utilize per-pixel alpha values to create open regions in the background through which content can be framed underneath. This might be done in the case where the primary plane is used to render video/audio controls and the video is displayed beneath this superimposed gui background. By assigning the primary plane to be the uppermost layer, the remaining layers can be used, effectively, as underlays.

From within Vivado, Mixer layers can be configured with the following optional properties:

  • layer alpha
  • layer scaling (1x, 2x or 4x)

These properties, if described in the device tree, will be represented as DRM plane properties. To understand more about these capabilities, please refer to the Video Mixer Product Guide [PG243].
Additionally, the Video Mixer supports generation of solid background color when either the AXI streaming input is not connected or the layer is otherwise disabled. On initialization, this color is programmed to default to blue. The color may be configured using a value representing packed RGB little-endian format via the DRM plane property bg_color. This property is attached to the primary plane.

CSC coefficients programming

IP version 5.0, provides option to enable CSC coefficient registers to be applied on primary layer.

Driver adds the COLOR_ENCODING and COLOR_RANGE properties to support BT601/709/2020 color encoding schemes with limited and full range.

driver by default configures to BT709 with Limited range.

For more details about DRM framework supported encoding schemes, please refer drm_color_mgmt.h

Test Procedure

To verify the proper configuration and operation of the IP, a suitable hardware design will need to include at a minimum:

  1. Video DMA IP to supply an input stream to the Mixer IP (layer 0) (e.g. VDMA or Framebuffer Read DMA)
  2. Video Mixer IP
  3. Encoder driver(HDMI-TX / SDI-TX / MIPI DSI-TX)


Modetest is a test tool which can be found as part of the libdrm suite of test tools. We will use this tool to ensure proper configuration and operation of the Mixer IP. Modetest can be used to activate overlay layers and alter layer properties (e.g. layer alpha, layer scaling, background color) & coefficient register programming for csc by passing color encoding and range properties. Following table captures the property values of encoding and range .


Test 1 - Ensure DRM driver has been properly loaded and is configured

Output should include information about the Encoder, Connector, CRTC (the Mixer), Planes (Mixer layers). All Mixer layers will be deactivate by invoking modetest so the screen should become a solid hue of blue (the default background color).

Below is a Sample output of 2019.1 SDI-Tx with 10bpc as the encoder (edited for brevity and clarity):

Test 2 - Activate an overlay layer
We will activate an overlay plane (RGB in this case) and position it to the top left corner while the background color is being generated using the following command:
Output should indicate the plane id that was activated:

Additionally, the plane should be presented with diagonally stripped color pattern on screen.

Test 3 - Scale the layer (if enabled for the layer)

From within another console window (and/or if the previous test was run in the background), adjust the layer scale property using modetest. The plane id (33 in case of the example above) will be needed to adjust overlay properties like scale, alpha or background color

Note that the range of possible values for a property appears in the output of modetest. For example, in the case of plane id 33:

Assuming the up-scaled version of the plane image will fit within the screen, the plane data should be doubled in size by setting the scale property to '1'.

Test 4 - Change layer alpha (if enabled for the layer)

Changing the layer alpha will make an existing overlay layer appear more or less transparent. An alpha value of '0' will render the overlay invisible and a value of '256' will be completely opaque. With an existing layer being displayed (see test 2), change the alpha property to '0' to render the layer invisible.

The layer should disappear.
Changing the alpha property back to 256 by repeating the above command with a value of 256 should render it visible again.

Test 5 - Change the background color

The Mixer generates a background color when the primary layer is inactive. By default, this is blue. The color is controlled by an internal RGB-based register and is represented by modetest as a decimal value. The most significant bits represent 'blue' and the least 'red'. As such, by default, only the upper 8 bits are set to generate a solid blue (0xFF0000) resulting in a default value of 16711680.

The background color should be a pure red and the new value of the bg_color property will be 255 (0x0000FF).

Test 6 - Change the output resolution

To change Mixer output to a new resolution, modetest must be invoked with the connector id and new resolution. In this example, we change to output 1920x1080:

The output should be an SMPTE color bar pattern on the screen in the new resolution specified (note: an optional refresh rate can be added to the above command when multiple options are available via the monitor's EDID).


vbltest is a test tool which is part of the libdrm suite of test tools. It is used to ensure vertical blanking interrupts are properly sent by the DRM driver.

Test 7-  Vbltest - Testing vertical blanking interrupts

The exact frequency output reported should correspond to the display refresh rate (60 Hz in this example). Simply terminate the test when satisfied.

Known Issues

  • AR66753 - LogiCORE Video Mixer - Release Notes and Known Issues for the Vivado 2016.1 tool and later versions 

Change log


  • Summary:
    • Added support to program CSC coefficients
  • Commits:
    • 149b14 drm: xlnx: mixer: Add support to update color space conversion coefficients


  • Summary:
    • Bug fixes for vblank timeout warn on message and error handling
  • Commits:
    • 4e6fab drm: xlnx: mixer: Add a delay for timing generation to be stable
    • d8b736 drm: xlnx: mixer: Added bridge instance check in remove function


  • Summary:
    • Introduced 16-layer support to Mixer IP 4.0 with backward compatibility
  • Commits:
    • 286f15 drm: xlnx: mixer: Adding 16 layer support


  • Summary:
    • Fix switching to 4K after 1080p
    • Fixed linking failure for ARCH arm 32 bit mode
    • Added support to 64-bit dma address width
    • Added VTC bridge support
    • Added atomic check for invalid coordinates
    • Made logo layer as optional
  • Commits:
    • 18d077 drm: xlnx: mixer: Fix switching to 4K after 1080p
    • 9a9a7e drm: xlnx: mixer: Fix linking failure for ARCH arm
    • f7396d drm: xlnx: mixer: Fix bug in programming 64-bit address
    • a4518c drm: xlnx: mixer: Add VTC bridge support
    • f15f4c drm: xlnx: mixer: Added the atomic check for invalid coordinates
    • 5f832a drm: xlnx: mixer: making logo layer optional


  • Summary:
    • Support to update the planes asynchronously
  • Commits:
    • 1a8900 drm: xlnx: mixer: Update planes asynchronously in the legacy entry


  • Summary:
    • Added IP reset logic
    • Removed deprecated dma engine call
    • Fixed wrong stride alignment
    • Corrected loop termination condition logic
    • Added more colours to mixer sanity table of colour list
    • Added 10-bit support
    • Added support to Mixer IP 3.0
    • Passed the correct values of cursor height and width
    • Fixed occasional kernel oops during logo layer programming
    • Used xlnx pipeline init call as dt-binding is removed
    • Initial version based on new xlnx DRM framework
  • Commits:
    • 131012 drm: xlnx: mixer: reset the mixer IP before programming
    • 23a216 drm: xlnx: mixer: remove deprecated dmaengine_terminate_all
    • 2ebd5b drm: xlnx: mixer: Fixing wrong stride alignment
    • 29d7cf drm: xlnx: mixer: Correcting loop termination condition
    • ac80a8 drm: xlnx: mixer: Adding more colors in supported list
    • 807fda drm: xlnx: mixer: Adding 10 bit color support
    • 29b851 drm: xlnx: mixer: Adding mixer 3.0 IP support
    • f31cfb drm: xlnx: mixer: Correcting the cursor width and height
    • 868584 drm: xlnx: mixer: logo layer fix
    • 4f150d drm: xlnx: mixer: Use xlnx pipeline call

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