Lenovo firmware update re-enables H.264 on notebooks with NVidia graphics

[German]Lenovo had disabled the GPU-supported H.264 encoding in Nvidia GeForce graphics units on its notebooks due to patent disputes. The suspected cause was a patent dispute with Nokia. Now, however, things are moving again. After a firmware update of the BIOS, functions for GPU-supported decoding and encoding of H.264 video material can be used on the affected notebooks again.


Patent dispute between Lenovo and Nokia

Lenovo have had a massive patent dispute with Nokia. It was about patents for video compression technology, because the Finnish company Nokia holds licenses for the use of the video codec H.264. Since Lenovo does not own these licenses, but their notebooks support the H.264 standard, Nokia had filed patent lawsuits in various countries like Germany, the USA, Brazil and India. A Munich court had ruled on Sept. 30 that Lenovo had infringed Nokia's patents on video compression (H.264). 

GPU supported H.264 de-/encoding re-enabled

Lenovo has been distributing a firmware update for various notebooks for gamers since April 2021, which silently disabled the GPU acceleration for decoding and encoding H.264 video material (see here). H.264 encoded videos can be played back, but recording game scenes or using an Oculus Quest headset does not work anymore. Devices from the Legion or IdeaPad series were affected if a dedicated Geforce graphics unit was installed. Nvidia Shadowplay was disabled by the update.

Now the patent dispute between Lenovo and Nokia was setteled is an out-of-court agreement. Lenovo had provided a new BIOS update that re-enables GPU-assisted H.264 de/encoding for Nvidia GeForce graphics units. This information was posted on the Lenovo forum by the administrator as of August 2, 2021:

Hi all,

as some of you have already noticed, today we have released a new BIOS update for the Legion 5 Pro-16ACH6H, Legion 5-15ACH6H, Legion 5 17ACH6H, Legion 7-16ACHg6 to address the symptom from this discussion – "NVENC error NV_ENC_ERR_UNSUPPORTED_PARAM".

You can download the BIOS update v40 (GKCN40WW) from the following support page.

Thank you very much for your help identifying and addressing this symptom.

Best regards,

EDIT: inserted BIOS fixes for additional models:

Legion 5-15ITH6H, Legion 5 Pro-16ITH6H, Legion 5-17ITH6, Legion 5-17ITH6H, Legion 5 Pro-16ITH6, Legion 5-15ITH6 – BIOS Version H1CN33WW

Legion 5-15ACH6, Legion 5 Pro-6ACH6, Legion 5-17ACH6 – BIOS Version HHCN14WW

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