[gst-devel] Gstreamer and matroska - the opensource answer to VideoforWindows/AVI and Quicktime/MOV ?

ChristianHJW christian at matroska.org
Fri Mar 19 12:40:15 CET 2004

Ronald S. Bultje wrote:
> GStreamer is not bound to a single container, nor does it need a
> preferred one. Users use individually preferred containers. If we would
> ever want to set automated preferences (planned for 0.9.x by me), I'd
> give any open format a higher preference than a closed one. Obviously,
> (example) Matroska would be preferred over (example) ASF. However, Ogg
> and Matroska would be evenly preferred. I don't want to bind to a single
> container because I don't see that as an obvious task for a media
> framework.

Playing devil's advocate :

Q : What does differentiate Gstreamer from mplayer or Xine ?

A : Gstreamer is a media framework, mplayer and Xine are merely playback 

Q : Whats the advantage of a framework, compared to a playback app ?

A : a. Its easier to develop video and audio apps based on the 
framework, existing work can be reused, apps based on the framework can 
support any format where a plugin exists.
b. People can start making their own plugins, and have their own 
video/audio compression solutions based on the framework, and simply by 
plugin distribution everybody can use their stuff

While a. is a quite obvious advantage for the programmers, it doesnt 
really give the users an advantage performance wise. If you ask most 
desktop users if they know the difference between a player based on a 
framework like Quicktime, DirectShow or Gstreamer, and 'self-contained' 
players like VLC, Xine or mplayer, i bet less than 10% do know. The most 
important thing for them is that they get their stuff to play, thats it.

Speaking about b. , Quicktime, Video for Windows, DirectShow, Helix, all 
of them could be used by codec developers to release a codec for various 
platforms, and to make sure the files created can be played on a big 
number of PCs. 3ivX ( http://www.3ivx.com ) are a good example for that, 
they made a nice MPEG4 codec and are releasing it in 3 different 
versions, for 3 different frameworks :
- VfW / VCM
- Quicktime
- DirectShow ( only decoder AFAIK )
Ask them if they would be happy if they could standardize on a single 
framework, which would cover all major platforms.

I am well aware you guys dont get requests like that yet, but rest 
assured that the matroska team has at least one serious request per 
month from codec devlopers investigating if our container could be a 
proper way to base their codec on, and to ensure playback and creation 
on at least the 2 major platforms, Windows and Linux.

Gstreamer, but only after a win32 ( and later MacOSX ) port, could be an 
answer here, while right now we have to make clear to them that we could 
modify mkvmerge to mux their stuff into matroska, and its compiled for 
Linux, Windows and MacOSX, but the only matroska video editor we have is 
for Windows, and will handle only ( mostly ) tracks with VCM or ACM 
compatibility mode, similar to AVI, and thats it. For playback, mplayer 
and VLC would be the only viable x-platform options, means the guys have 
to release special builds of those players, for each platform and with 
their decoder included.

For the time being it seems that only Helix is a true x-platform 
multimedia framework, with a basic video editor and playback support on 
all platforms. Their stuff compiles on Windows, Linux, MacOSX and 
Solaris IIRC. But dont ask me if a codec developer would truely consider 
to convince their users to use Realplayer to play their stuff ;) ....


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