Can Your Raspberry Pi 3 Play 1080p H265? - Mine Can't

I just built my new HTPC using a Raspberry Pi 3 and SanDisk Ultra 64GB Class 10 microSD with OSMC.

I did this because my old HTPC was a 6-7 year old Aspire Revo which has been choking on streams for a while now. I would have to select HDTV streams because most 720p streams would stutter badly and 1080p was just a pipe dream.

Now I’m able to run it all smooth as silk w/ the Pi 3. 720p, 1080, 1080p…all except for 1080p X265.

I just learned what h.265 was and did see on ArsTechnica that the Pi 3 was supposed to be able to hardware decode h.265, but only at 30fps at 1080p.

The streams in RealDebrid are not showing me what FPS they are, but I can only assume they are 30 and not 60.

I’m just wondering if there are any other Pi 3 owners out there with similar issues. Is the Pi 3 juuuuust barely not enough to do h.265 at 1080p, or is there something I’m missing? Maybe a setting or change I can make to make it happen? Because the stuttering is noticeable and not tolerable…but it looks like the Pi 3 can almost handle it.


I think you must have misread that or it was wrongly written. AFAIK the Pi3 can software decode x.265 up to a certain bitrate/fps but not hardware decode it (GPU hasn’t changed).

Unless you get the details of the stream (FPS, bit, …) it doesn’t help to speculate if the Pi3 plays them. I can confirm it plays x.265 at 1080p/30FPS if you have proper cooling for the CPU so it doesn’t throttle.

From this article -

“Pi 3 also has a graphics upgrade, using Broadcom’s 400MHz VideoCore IV, rather than last year’s 250MHz version. The new hardware will support
1080p video at 60fps using the H.264 format, up from 30fps. The new Pi also gains H.265 support for the first time but is limited to 1080p at 30fps.”

They make it seem like the hardware can do it, but you said you can confirm it does x.265 at 1080p/30FPS…I have my Pi 3 on a shelf in a unit under my TV. It has a glass front and the board is in a C4Labs Bel-Aire case, which is laser-cut wood w/ ventilation. I’ve been touching the case as I’ve been using it and it’s not warm to the touch.

Not the most scientific method but if I had to guess I would say it’s the stream and not overheating. I tried 2 from different TV shows so far. Maybe it’s the way they are encoded. Wish the menu listing had more info on them.

Thanks for the response.

To just checking the capabilities of your device and exclude other issues I always would start with a clean sample being downloaded to the SD Card and play from there. lists some H.265 1080p files to test

You can get codecinfo by pressing “O” while playback or you could enable debugging and check the logs.

Also run mediainfo on the file to get us some info. It could be a too high encoding profile.

Pi 3 can’t hardware decode H265.

Software decoding is pretty good, and is getting improvements regularly. There may be some work that can be done to improve this further on our side.