What's the difference between ffmpeg and gstreamer?

Dan Kegel dank at kegel.com
Fri Dec 27 07:17:10 PST 2013

Ffmpeg is a set of codecs.
Gstreamer is plumbing that lets you hook codecs, sources, sinks, and
filters together.
Am 27.12.2013 07:03 schrieb "Aleve Sicofante" <asicofante at gmail.com>:

> Hi everyone. I'm new to this list. I'd like to ask a very simple question:
> What's the difference between ffmpeg and gstreamer?
> On mpv's discussion list, I was told the following:
> [ME] You say "it's all FFmpeg anyway". One of the things I don't quite get
> yet about Linux video is what's the roll of gstreamer. Isn't it an
> alternative to FFmpeg?
> [REPLY FROM LIST MEMBER] No. For the most common codecs, gstreamer just
> uses FFmpeg.
> Is that correct? I'm having a hard time understanding how video works on
> Linux. Can anyone point me to good sources to read about it? For a while, I
> thought gstreamer was indeed an alternative to ffmpeg, but I'm very
> confused now.
> I understand ffmpeg decodes the video stream and the different players
> based on it present the video (they "render" it to the screen). But since
> gstreamer can use ffmpeg through a plugin, but can also not use that
> plugin, I'm confused about gstreamer's role.
> So what are the conceptual differences between these two projects?
> Thanks for your replies.
> A.S.
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