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Licence key and codec options

Hardware decoding of additional codecs on the Raspberry Pi 3 and earlier models can be enabled by purchasing a licence that is locked to the CPU serial number of your Raspberry Pi.

The Raspberry Pi 4 has permanently disabled hardware decoders for MPEG2 and VC1. These codecs cannot be enabled, so a hardware codec licence key is not needed. Software decoding of MPEG2 and VC1 files performs well enough for typical use cases.

The Raspberry Pi 5 has H.265 (HEVC) hardware decoding. This decoding is enabled by default, so a hardware codec licence key is not needed.

decode_MPG2

decode_MPG2 is a licence key to allow hardware MPEG-2 decoding, e.g. decode_MPG2=0x12345678.

decode_WVC1

decode_WVC1 is a licence key to allow hardware VC-1 decoding, e.g. decode_WVC1=0x12345678.

If you have multiple Raspberry Pis and you’ve bought a codec licence for each of them, you can list up to eight licence keys in a single config.txt, for example decode_MPG2=0x12345678,0xabcdabcd,0x87654321. This enables you to swap the same SD card between the different Raspberry Pis without having to edit config.txt each time.