According to this Wikipedia article, Raspberry Pi's manufactured after August 24th, 2012 have H.264 hardware acceleration.

  1. Is it possible to tell if my pi supports such acceleration by inspecting it visually? (Preferred)
  2. Is it possible to tell if my pi supports such acceleration via command line?

Also, is it possible to enable this acceleration on any older pi's that have the same chipset? I am not sure if it is something that would have had to have been done during manufacturing or if there is the possibility that pi's made soon before this data could possibly have the acceleration built-in but disabled (much like MPEG-2 support).

2 Answers 2


The article you mention says: "Hardware accelerated video (H.264) encoding became available on 24 August 2012 when it became known that the existing license also covered encoding." It says nothing about the date of the manufacture.

  • H.264 decoding was available prior to Aug, 2012, and is still available, you don't have to change anything
  • H.264 encoding became available since Aug, 2012, when the license issues were resolved, and as long as you use the software images created after this date, or update your software to the current versions, it should work. however, for the time being, there is no stable software support for hardware H.264 encoding.

Here's another article that explains everything in great detail.

  • omxplayer is not quite stable, but runs video much cleaner than mplayer.
    – earthmeLon
    May 21, 2013 at 5:01
  • 1
    I've tried builds like RaspBMC or OpenELEC to play video, worked without any problem, not sure which player was used under the hood.
    – lenik
    May 21, 2013 at 8:01
  • omxplayer was written by one of the fellows that is also a part of raspbmc if memory serves (it was on the project website for omxplayer). relevant, i think. Jul 30, 2013 at 22:06

In order to check whether your H.264 is using hardware acceleration or not: when you install gstreamer-0.10 check video quality using gst-launch-0.10: it will play very slowly.

When you install gstreamer1.0 and gst-omx plugin, gst-omx plugin will use hardware decoders which play using gst-launch-1.0 performance the same as VLC player in Windows.

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