Playing video on the Raspberry Pi

On the Pi 3 and earlier models, the simplest way of playing video is to use the OMXPlayer application, which is described in more detail in this documentation section.

To play a video, navigate to the location of your video file in the terminal using cd, then type the following command:

omxplayer example.mp4

This will play the example.mp4 in full screen. Hit Ctrl + C to exit.

On the Pi 4, hardware support for MPEG2 and VC-1 codecs has been removed, so we recommend the use of the VLC application, which supports these formats in software. In addition, VLC has hardware support for H264 and the new HEVC codec.

Example video sample: Big Buck Bunny

A video sample of the animated film Big Buck Bunny is available on the Pi. To play it on a Pi 3 or earlier models, enter the following command into a terminal window:

omxplayer /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

On a Pi 4, use the following command for H264 files:

omxplayer /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

or for H264, VC1, or MPEG2

vlc /opt/vc/src/hello_pi/hello_video/test.h264

When using VLC, you can improve playback performance by encapsulating the raw H264 stream, for example from the Raspberry Pi Camera Module. This is easily done using ffmpeg. Playback is also improved if VLC is run full screen; either select fullscreen from the user interface, or you can add the --fullscreen options to the vlc command line.

This example command converts video.h264 to a containerised video.mp4 at 30 fps:

ffmpeg -r 30 -i video.h264 -c:v copy video.mp4