Although it is using the same VideoCore IV, is there any chance Raspberry PI 2 supports H.265 decoding by hardware?

  • Hmm they really need to fix this to remain relevant as a media player .. Im obtaining 80%+ of my video content as x265 now .. Its gaining so much momentum. IOS and android devices are problematic still as well .. VLC was their salvation, but fallen in a hole too over licensing issues .
    – user28035
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 2:05

3 Answers 3


Af far as I am aware hardware decoding is not supported.

From Raspberry Pi 2 - FAQ and collated answers

What about H265 (HEVC)?

H265 is currently being tested, but this would be entirely SW decoded, as there is no HW support, so will not be capable of much over 720p25, if that., without extensive optimisation that will take some time to do.


No, and future hardware versions probably will not support it either. H.265 is an expensive codec with complicated licensing. MPEG-LA basically gave away H.264 which is why it is so widely supported. H.264 is still cheaper than MPEG-2 (which is why the Pi doesn't have MPEG-2 turned on by default).

There's a reason why Google is developing WebM and VP9/VP10. MPEG-LA and company plan on squeezing everyone with H.265 licensing fees. Hopefully VP9/VP10 will be baked into hardware accelerators in the near future.


Yes, through NEON optimizations.

Through NEON optimizations with the ARM CPU you can get accelerated HW playback through a special instruction. You can find those optimizations in

They'll all work better on the Pi3, which has a faster CPU. But, anything is better than nothing.

This is not a special h.265 chip, but it's a massive performance increase over strictly software decoding.

  • 1
    If decoding using CPU instructions is HW decoding, then what is software decoding? Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 12:29
  • 2
    If the CPU implements the same vector instructions your hardware decoder implements then there can be no hardware decoder? Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 23:38
  • 1
    Even if the instructions are the same, hardware decoder implies that the CPU can be busy with something else during the playback, which is not the case of NEON instructions. Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 9:40
  • SIMD hard vector acceleration on an 8-core CPU isn't "hardware accelerated" but the MPEG-2 acceleration on the 1-core rpi1 is hardware accelerated because "the CPU can be busy with something else." Use a kernel that can thread-schedule or limit threads on decoding. Easy solution. Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 11:10
  • 1
    Well yes, that's my point of view. Anything running entirely on the CPU is not hardware-accelerated, even if it's faster than its hardware-accelerated counterpart. Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 11:48

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