Infobox Software
name = ffdshow

caption = ffdshow video decoder configuration
author =
developer =
released =
latest release version = Beta 5 (rev2033)
latest release date = 05-07-2008
latest preview version =
latest preview date =
programming language = Assembly language, C, C++
operating system = Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98
platform = Microsoft Windows
language =
status = Active
genre = Video codec
license = GNU General Public License
website = [http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net/ sourceforge.net]

ffdshow is a media decoder [Harvnb|Null|2008] and encoder mainly used for the fast and high-quality decoding of video in the MPEG-4 ASP (e.g. encoded with DivX, Xvid or FFmpeg MPEG-4) and AVC (H.264) formats, but supporting numerous other video and audio formats as well. It is free software released under the GPL license, runs on Windows and is implemented as a DirectShow and VFW decoding filter.

Installation and configuration

ffdshow does not include media player and container parsers. Instead, after installation of ffdshow, compatible DirectShow or VFW media players such as Media Player Classic, Winamp, and Windows Media Player will use the ffdshow decoder automatically, thus avoiding the need to install separate codecs for the various formats supported by ffdshow. The user configures ffdshow's audio and video settings by launching the ffdshow video decoder configuration program independently of any media player, under Windows by clicking Start/Programs/ffdshow (or under Windows Vista by clicking Start button and typing ffdshow and clicking "ffdshow video decoder configuration").

Format and filter support

ffdshow can be configured to display subtitles, to enable or disable various built-in codecs, to grab screenshots, to enable keyboard control, and to enhance movies with increased resolution, sharpness, and many other post-processing filters. It has the ability to manipulate audio with effects like an equalizer, a Dolby decoder, reverb, Winamp DSP plugins, and more. Some of the postprocessing is borrowed from the MPlayer project and AviSynth filters.

ffdshow uses the libavcodec library and several other free, open source software packages to decode video in most common formats, such as:

* MPEG-4 (including video encoded with Xvid, 3ivx, and all versions of DivX).
* Flash Video, H.263 and VP6 (used by sites such as YouTube).
* H.264/AVC, WMV as well as numerous others.

ffdshow also decodes audio, such as:

* MP3,
* AAC,
* Dolby AC3,
* WMA, and
* Vorbis formats, among others.

The post-processing video filters of ffdshow can be used in video editors such as VirtualDub or AviSynth, by configuring the VFW settings. In these editors, ffdshow can also be used to encode MPEG-4 video compatible with Xvid, DivX, or x264 codecs, as well as lossless video and a few other formats supported by libavcodec.


The first versions of ffdshow were published in April 2002, as an alternative to DivX ;-) 3.11 and the Gator-infested [http://web.archive.org/web/20030401082827/www.divx.com/divx/] DivX 5.02 decoders of the time, and as a way to combine the speed and quality of MPlayer with popular Windows video players. Some DirectShow decoders have since caught up with ffdshow's speed, but none matches its breadth. It continues to support more formats, new and old, as FFmpeg developers add support for them.

The main developer was Milan Cutka. When he stopped updating the project in 2006, new maintainers opened the [http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net ffdshow-tryouts] as a fork, where bugfixes, stability fixes, new features, and codec updates continue.


A common misconception is that ICL SSE/SSE2 builds will decode video better than "generic" builds. In fact, the video decoders are always compiled in gcc and are usually hand-optimized; it is the ffdshow filters that benefit from ICL [cite web|url=http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net/html/en/faq.htm|title=ffdshow-tryouts FAQ| accessdate = 2008-05-11]

Codec packs or transcoding suites like Nero Recode that install their own video splitters also have been known to damage ffdshow's performance in the pastFact|date=April 2008. Some will override ffdshow, disrupt proper video display, or install outdated ffdshow versionsFact|date=April 2008.

See also

*Comparison of media players
*Open source codecs and containers


External links

* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow-tryout/ Current Sourceforge ffdshow page]
* [http://www.codecs.com/download/FFDShow.htm Recent ffdshow builds] from codecs.com, usually a few days behind the official site.
*Version history of [http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net/html/en/ ffdshow-tryout]
* [http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=120465 Official Doom9 support, discussion, & development thread]
* [http://ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net/phpBB2/ Official support forum]

Historical links

* [http://ffdshow.faireal.net/ CVS snapshots by celtic_druid (US)] ( [http://esby.free.fr/CelticDruid/ Mirror (FR)] ) ( [http://tirnanog.fate.jp/ Mirror (JP)] ) (No longer updated)
*Old speed comparisons: [http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=73998 ASP] , [http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=99402 AVC]

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