The project would be a turnkey video player: plug it in to the hdmi display and power, and it plays a prepared video list in a loop. No user controls or anything; brute stupid to use in the field.

Is the pi-zero fast enough and/or its GPU capble enough to play full-HD video? Note that it’s not some arbitrary files but fixed prepared files, so I could be sure to use a suitable codec and compression options.


2 Answers 2


Yes. As far as I can remember, pretty much every Pi I've ever tried to play 1920x1080 video on has worked, up to and including the very first generation boards. You can see a brief sample of the Zero playing back 1080 resolution footage from Big Buck Bunny using Kodi on the KordKutters Youtube channel. Looks fine to me, although the presenter notes a little slowdown during add-on updates - you shouldn't have this issue if you're only playing back footage.

If your end goal is just 'build a Pi that plays looped video' it may be worth a look at the ready-made image provided by MP4Museum. It doesn't do much else, but it apparently does that well.


Yes it is. And it's also worth mentioning omxplayer, a neat command line video player with lots of options, see this elinux post and this RPi documentation.

Install it with sudo apt-get install -y omxplayer

If you want to compile omxplayer from source, follow this readme on github.

  • While this might be useful information and could work as a comment (or as an answer to a different question), it does not answer the question asked here, which is "Is the pi-zero capable enough to play video?" Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 18:54
  • 1
    A "yes it is" will fix that.
    – calocedrus
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 0:32
  • omxplayer is deprecated since Jul 2020: github.com/popcornmix/omxplayer
    – captain
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 22:21

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