Raspberry Pi: Compile VLC Player with Hardware Acceleration

VLC media player
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Thanks to a post on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Message Board, where people have detailed the instructions on how to easily compile VLC Media Player with Hardware Acceleration. For this project, you’ll just need a Raspberry Pi and the basic peripherals: a power source, screen, keyboard and mouse, and microSD card (you need all of this to get Raspbian Installed in the first place, anyway).

Before we begin, a quick note for those of you who already have Raspbian, and may have installed VLC Media Player from Raspbian’s repositories: I recommend that you remove that version. You can do so by running the command:

Compile VLC Media Player with Hardware Acceleration:

Step 1: Install Raspbian:

If you don’t already have it, install Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi. Click that link for our complete guide.

Step 2: Download and extract VLC media player:

Open Terminal (SSH) and run the following commands:

Now you have downloaded and extracted the latest version of VLC media player into your Downloads directory.

Step 3: Install dependencies:

Next, let’s update the package list, and install the needed dependencies. You might want to copy and paste the second command here, as it’s quite long:

We’re now ready to compile.

Step 4: Compile VLC media player:

Next, go into the VLC media player’s directory, and run some more commands. You may want to copy and paste again for the third one here:

And followed by this short one:

Be prepared to wait something like 20-25 minutes.

If the process goes through, you will have successfully compiled VLC media player. The last command in our instructions installs the binaries from the building process and copies them to appropriate locations:

Step 5: Change settings:

You’ve now compiled and installed VLC media player. You can start the program via the menu bar (Sound & Video > VLC media player) or Terminal (with the command vlc).

After starting the program, open the settings dialog and change your settings (Tools > Preferences) so that they look like this:

Output module: ALSA audio output


Output: OpenMAX IL video output


When you play something, you’ll notice that the video plays in an overlay and not inside a window. You can only control the playback using your keyboard, so I would encourage you to learn some basic hot keys (for example, CTRL+Q for quitting).

Step 6: Send the audio out over your HDMI connection (optional):

There’s one more thing that you may want to tweak here before we’re done. At this point, VLC media player will send audio out through your Raspberry Pi’s headphone jack only, meaning you’ll have to plug in headphones, an auxiliary cord to your stereo system, or standalone speakers in order to hear your videos. That works out for some users, but others may want to push the audio out the HDMI port.

To do that, open Terminal and run the command sudo raspi-config. In the resulting menu, navigate to Advanced Options > A4 Audio > Choose the audio output: 2 Force HDMI.

And that’s it! You now have a functioning version of VLC media player, and can push the audio out of either your headphone jack or HDMI port at will.

Remove VLC Media Player:

If you ever want to remove VLC media player, you can do so by running the following command inside your VLC directory:


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