FFmpeg is an open source utility that allows Linux, Windows and Mac OS X users to playback, convert, record and stream video and audio files. It is used in almost all Linux distributions. It is a command-line software that can encode, decode, demux, mux, transcode, stream, play and filter almost any media format available. FFmpeg uses libavcodec, the most advanced audio/video codec library for Linux and UNIX-like systems.
Features at a glance
The software is comprised of a multimedia streaming server for live broadcasts, a simple media player based on the powerful SDL library, a simple multimedia stream analyzer, a library that contains functions for simplifying programming, and another library that includes muxers and demuxers for multimedia container formats. Additionally, it comes with support for input and output devices, media filters, a library for performing highly optimized image scaling and color space/pixel format conversion operations, and a library for performing highly optimized audio rematrixing, resampling and sample format conversions.
Used by a wide range of applications to manipulate video files
These days numerous audio/video conversion utilities, as well as video playback apps are based or use the FFmpeg project, in a way or another. For example, Cinelerra is a very powerful application that uses FFmpeg for professional video editing operations. Among other popular FFmpeg-based projects, we can mention VLC Media Player, the Chromium and Google Chrome web browsers, Electric Sheep, ffdshow, HandBrake, Kdenlive, libquicktime, MPlayer, MythTV, OpenH323, QtAV, VeeJay, xine, XBMC, as well as the GStreamer framework that is used in many modern Linux-based operating systems.
Comes pre-installed on many Linux distributions
Experienced Linux users can learn to use FFmpeg directly from the command-line, as the project provides a comprehensive manual and online documentation. It has been created by the same team of developers that started the MPlayer project, a powerful audio/video player on which many applications are based. FFmpeg comes pre-installed on many Linux distributions. If not, it will be automatically added when you install one of the aforementioned FFmpeg-based applications.