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I just purchased the raspberry pi 2 and I was trying to use it to make my "non-smart" TV a bit smarter. Basically, instead of connecting my laptop (via HDMI) to the TV every time I wanted to watch online movies on a bigger screen, I thought to leave the Pi 2 always behind the TV for this purpose.

I tried different OSs, first the raspian from NOOBS, then Ubuntu (from https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/RaspberryPi). However I always found very slow frame rate when watching. On the other hand I see very good review about the Pi GPU. So, is the Pi 2 just not mean to be used this way or I'm missing some config?

  • Right now, this is kind of a rhetorical question. If you can clarify what you mean by "watch online movies" and "very slow frame rate", then you might have something that can be specifically answered. – goldilocks Mar 22 '15 at 19:13
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    @goldilocks Sorry. It seemed self explanatory. I meant warching movies or simply a video via the www on any browser. E.g. youtube or amazon prime movie. And slow frame rate I mean it seems more of a sequence of images than a video – Michele Mar 22 '15 at 19:31
  • Okay, but what's the problem in detail? Frame rate refers to the speed at which something was recorded and (hopefully) plays back. So are you saying that the video is in slow motion? That it stutters a lot? – goldilocks Mar 22 '15 at 19:34
  • Yes exactly, on the Pi 2 it stutters a lot. I watched the same video on my laptop and it is fine. – Michele Mar 22 '15 at 19:38
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Using a browser, there probably is no GPU hardware acceleration regardless of distro.

So, with regard to youtube, you might want to try youtube-dl to download them and then use omxplayer -- which was written for the pi's GPU -- to watch them. It's pre-installed in Raspbian but may not be available in Snappy Core Ubuntu.

Omxplayer uses the framebuffer outside of the GUI desktop; I'm not sure if it can be run from the GUI, but you should be able to find a free console via Ctrl-Alt-F1-6 (just try the F-keys in order, when you get to a console log in). Then:

omxplayer -o hdmi whatever.mp4

This will give you an idea of optimally what you should get. I don't use the pi for video that much, but using this method (downloading first, then watching via oxmplayer) fullscreen, HD quality stuff has been fine.

Omxplayer can also play internet streams directly, so you should be able to then check if the problem is related to that.

  • Ok thanks a lot. So, if I understand correctly you can't benefit from the hardware accelaration for any video not stored in the micro SD, right? – Michele Mar 22 '15 at 19:55
  • No, you can (see last paragraph), I'm just recommending you test it without downloading at the same time since that's optimal. What you probably can't get is hardware acceleration via a browser plugin. – goldilocks Mar 22 '15 at 20:01
  • Ok. Thanks again. The last part (about the browser plugin) explains a lot, very helpful. – Michele Mar 22 '15 at 20:18
  • I am getting following error: "* failed to open vchiq instance" – Trismegistos May 28 '16 at 15:04
  • @Trismegistos Sounds like you should ask a separate question explaining in appropriate detail exactly what it is you want to do, exactly how you are trying to do it, and exactly what happens instead of what you want. – goldilocks May 28 '16 at 15:06
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I know it's probably a bit past prime for this answer but I thought I'd chime in. I just stumbled across a neat little package called openelec.tv. It's a linux wrapper for Kodi (aka XBMC). There's a raspberry pi distribution and it takes full advantage of all the hardware acceleration on the Pi 2. Check it out!

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