What kind of data rate can I expect the hardware coded to decode smoothly?

While playing a video on VLC Player, I can choose Tools > Media Information > Statistics Tab Here I can see the bit rate of the video. During action sequence, explosions or sequences involving water or sea, the bit rate shoots up. If I set my notebook computer's power settings to the lowest, these scenes playback poorly. When I replay the scenes with a better CPU scaling, they play back smoothly.

Is there a figure of performance for the hardware codec? Will over-clocking do any good? What do I need to over clock? The CPU or the GPU?

I am wondering if the hardware codec could play a 2h video sizing up to 10GiB?

1 Answer 1


there's no need to overclock anything. processor is basically used to read your movie from disk or network and feed the data to the GPU, that decodes everything quite smoothly up to 1080p, haven't tried anything larger than that.

the only problem with mpeg2 encoded movies is that you need to shell a few dollars for a license.

mp4 movies are decoded just fine without license, though.

  • Will the hardware decoder be of any use if I have to decode MP4?
    – Lord Loh.
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 21:37
  • All (well, most of) video decoding is done in hardware, Broadcom chip the Raspberry is based on, has very good GPU =)
    – lenik
    Commented Aug 19, 2013 at 23:12
  • I tried Raspbmc yesterday. The debug overlay was showing a frame rate of ~ 10 - 15 fps and CPU ~95%+ but the moves were playing smoothly. I will try and test this again today with my highest data rate scenes. I will also see if overclocking helps. However, invoking menu during playback makes the scene all gray for a few seconds - like the I frame was lost and the video is rendered only with P frames till the next I frame is encountered.
    – Lord Loh.
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:43
  • Just checked raspbmc.com/wiki/user/frequently-asked-questions and - Raspxbmc is already overclocked. The 95% CPU is because of the debug overlay display.
    – Lord Loh.
    Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 19:50

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