noggin: when you say "some Kodi platforms" is this basically referring to devices with GPUs? I don't think it uses hardware acceleration on the Pi unless you have the licence code and then only for MPEGs.
Yes - though outside the x86 PC arena, in the ARM SoC arena it isn't usually GPUs that handle video acceleration and deinterlacing, but a separate VPU (Video Processing Unit) block. (Though sometimes GPU blocks are used for some deinterlacing processes)
The Pi is slightly different because they are squeezing a lot of processing out of a small platform and the Broadcom Videocore SoC it is based on is effectively a GPU with an added ARM CPU, not an ARM SoC with an integrated GPU+VPU (the way the Pi boots is different to most ARM SoCs as a result).
1. The Pi comes as standard with h.264 decode and encode without a licence.
2. The Pi has optional MPEG-2 and VC-1 decode with paid for licences (£2.40 for MPEG2, £1.20 for VC-1 last time I checked)
3. Deinterlacing of h.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 interlaced content is usually hardware accelerated using MMAL code (which runs in the GPU/VPU I believe. The balance of VPU/GPU grunt used for MMAL deinterlacing has changed over the years I believe (with some code moving to the GPU)
In the early days only the Quad Core Pi's (2B, and now 3B/3B+/3A+) could use MMAL advanced (roughly equivalent to YADIF 2x) deinterlacing for HD 1080i content, with the single core Pi's (Zeroes, original A/B, A+ and B+) only initially able to use MMAL Bob at 1080i.
Similarly the single core Pi's couldn't software decode MPEG2 - so you had to have the licence key to watch SD or HD MPEG2.
Now the 3-series models (and I think the 2B) have enough CPU power to software decode 576i SD MPEG2 (not sure about 1080i HD MPEG2) so the licence isn't required for basic Freeview SD and DVD viewing (and I think there is still power for SD MMAL Advanced de-interlacing too - though your power consumption and heat dissipation issues will increase)
For HD interlaced MPEG2 (US OTA TV, very early Blu-rays etc.) it is worth having the MPEG2 licence whatever model you have.
The Pi does it all in software I think, but it does it very well. I watch 720p60 streams all the time and they work great.
Well 720p60 has no deinterlacing - so that won't be an issue - but h.264 decoding with hardware acceleration (which is likely to be the dominant standard for any streaming service) is standard in all models of Pis - even the Zero.
The Pi has no full hardware VPU accelerated decode for h.265/HEVC encoded content - but a huge amount of work has gone into optimising h.265 decoding using CPU/GPU/VPU elements working together which means the Quad core Pis can handle 720p HEVC/h.265 streams and moderate bitrate 1080p24 stuff (though I think 1080p50 is pushing it, though may be possible with some overclocking)
More recent SoCs like the AMLogic S905/905X/905D/912, a lot of the Rockchips etc. have built in hardware VPU decode for h.265/HEVC stuff up to 4K (even the older S8xx series did 1080p HEVC/h.265)
Last edited by noggin on 20 March 2019 9:45am - 2 times in total