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May 24, 2018
Sep 14, 2022

libde265 - open h.265 codec implementation


libde265 is an open source implementation of the h.265 video codec. It is written from scratch and has a plain C API to enable a simple integration into other software.

libde265 supports WPP and tile-based multithreading and includes SSE optimizations. The decoder includes all features of the Main profile and correctly decodes almost all conformance streams (see [wiki page]).

A list of supported features are available in the wiki.

For latest news check our website at

The library comes with two example programs:

  • dec265, a simple player for raw h.265 bitstreams. It serves nicely as an example program how to use libde265.

  • sherlock265, a Qt-based video player with the additional capability to overlay some graphical representations of the h.265 bitstream (like CU-trees, intra-prediction modes).

Example bitstreams can be found, e.g., at this site:

Approximate performance for WPP, non-tiles streams (measured using the timehevc tool from the GStreamer plugin). The tool plays a Matroska movie to the GStreamer fakesink and measures the average framerate.

Resolution avg. fps CPU usage
720p 284 fps 39 %
1080p 150 fps 45 %
4K 36 fps 56 %


  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2700K CPU @ 3.50GHz (4 physical CPU cores)
  • Ubuntu 12.04, 64bit
  • GStreamer 0.10.36


Build Status Build Status

If you got libde265 from the git repository, you will first need to run the included script to generate the configure script.

libde265 has no dependencies on other libraries, but both optional example programs have dependencies on:

  • SDL (optional for dec265's YUV overlay output),

  • Qt (required for sherlock265),

  • libswscale (required for sherlock265 if libvideogfx is not available).

  • libvideogfx (required for sherlock265 if libswscale is not available, optional for dec265).

Libvideogfx can be obtained from or

You can disable building of the example programs by running ./configure with

  --disable-dec265        Do not build the dec265 decoder program.
  --disable-sherlock265   Do not build the sherlock265 visual inspection program.

Additional logging information can be turned on and off using these ./configure flags:

  --enable-log-error      turn on logging at error level (default=yes)
  --enable-log-info       turn on logging at info level (default=no)
  --enable-log-trace      turn on logging at trace level (default=no)

Build using cmake

cmake scripts to build libde265 and the sample scripts dec265 and enc265 are included and can be compiled using these commands:

mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..

See the cmake documentation for further information on using cmake on other platforms.

Building using vcpkg

You can build and install libde265 using the vcpkg dependency manager:

git clone
cd vcpkg
./vcpkg integrate install
./vcpkg install libde265

The libde265 port in vcpkg is kept up to date by Microsoft team members and community contributors. If the version is out of date, please create an issue or pull request on the vcpkg repository.

Prebuilt binaries

Binary packages can be obtained from this launchpad site.

Software using libde265

Libde265 has been integrated into these applications:


The library libde265 is distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. The sample applications are distributed under the terms of the MIT license.

See COPYING for more details.

Copyright (c) 2013-2014 Struktur AG Contact: Dirk Farin