On the 24th of August, the RaspberryPi foundation announced that it had struck a licensing deal to allow owners of the RaspberryPi devices access to additional premium licenses to decode both MPEG2 and VC-1 encoded video using the onboard GPU.
So-called “hardware acceleration” offloads the stress of decoding video from the relatively low-powered CPU to the much more capable GPU.
The RaspberryPi was released without the relevant licenses as it was deemed that the additional cost was too much to add to the overall cost of the unit, which the foundation had marketed at the educational sector. Little did it know that there was an army of technology folk out there itching to get their hands on an RPi to build a low-powered, low-cost media streaming device.
The additional licenses are priced at £2.40 for the MPEG2 license and £1.20 for the VC-1 license via the official RaspberryPi store www.raspberrypi.com.
Users will need to establish their hardware serial number (information below) which will tie the license(s) to that particular board, an attempt to prevent piracy and uphold the license agreement.
To find your serial number, type cat /proc/cpuinfo at the command line as shown below:
pi@raspberrypi:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
Processor : ARMv6-compatible processor rev 7 (v6l)
BogoMIPS : 697.95
Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp java tls
CPU implementer : 0×41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0×0
CPU part : 0xb76
CPU revision : 7
Hardware : BCM2708
Revision : 1000002
Serial : 000000000000000d