Rasberry Pi adds MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264, and HDMI-CEC Support for HTPC Applications

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Leaving expensive codecs to the end user is a dodge at least as old as the original Xbox, which required a $20 remote control add-on pack in order to enable the DVD-video option. Unlike the Xbox, the Rasberry Pi has a very specific educational goal, and having all those video codecs baked in just ends up costing people money that they don’t need to spend. As of today, those looking to turn this tiny computer into an media hub can rejoice, though, because you can buy the codecs direct from Pi, and enable them for your viewing pleasure.

Thing is, a bunch of you went and bought the Raspberry Pi in February and immediately started using it as your primary media centre. And many, many of you have existing media libraries which are encoded using MPEG-2, and don’t fancy transcoding gigabites of stuff to H.264. You’ve been complaining about that. Vociferously.

We’ve spent some months working out how on earth to square this particular circle. A blanket licence for everybody would cost the Foundation money it simply doesn’t have, and not everybody with a Raspberry Pi would use that licence; an individual licence for an individual user to download and use with an individual machine is a surprisingly finickity thing to engineer. (This is why we’re very grateful to have Dom on board our engineering team, because he’s clever.) But that’s what we’ve done – so from today, you’ll be able to purchase an MPEG-2 decode licence which will be tied to your Raspberry Pi’s unique serial number. This will allow you to play MPEG-2 material from XBMC and omxplayer, which hasn’t been an available feature before now.

HDMI-CEC has been enabled so you can use a single remote to control all your devices over HDMI, as well, so if you’re having fun with your Pi in your home theater, pull out an extra fiver and get your video on.

Via: [Rasberry Pi]

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