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ffdshow logo
ffdshow screenshot
ffdshow video decoder configuration under Windows 7
Original author(s) Milan Cutka, Peter Ross
Developer(s) clsid, XhmikosR, et al.
Initial release 20 May 2002 (2002-05-20) (original ffdshow)
11 December 2006 (2006-12-11) (ffdshow tryouts)
Stable release 1.3.4530 / 9 February 2014; 2 months ago (2014-02-09)[1]
Preview release Revision 4527 (3 December 2013; 4 months ago (2013-12-03)) [±][2][3]
Development status Active
Written in Assembly, C++, C[4]
Operating system Windows XP and later
Type audio / video codec
Website ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net

ffdshow is a media decoder 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 it supports 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[edit]

ffdshow does not include media player or 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.

For playing transport stream files such as AVC(H.264) an additional mediasplitter should also be installed. There are several free mediasplitters available such as the Haali Media Splitter.

Format and filter support[edit]

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 video 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:

ffdshow also decodes audio, such as:

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 the DivX ;-) 3.11 and DivX 5.02 (which came bundled with Gator[5]) decoders of the time, and as a way to combine the speed and quality of MPlayer with popular Windows video players. 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 ffdshow-tryouts as a fork, where bugfixes, stability fixes, new features, and codec updates continued.

Work on ffdshow-tryouts has also been discontinued.[6] The developers lost interest in the project, and there have been no significant code changes since 2012.


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 past[citation needed]. Some will override ffdshow, disrupt proper video display, or install outdated ffdshow versions.[citation needed] Playback messed up by codec packs is known as codec hell. For Microsoft Windows users, as of at least March 8,2014, the Mr. FixIt Windows repair program available from the official Microsoft website [7]flags the FFdshow codec and FFDShow LibMplayer codec as "May cause potential problems", and attempts or recommends the disabling of them.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ffdshow tryouts – Download". 
  2. ^ "ffdshow tryouts - SVN builds at SourceForge.net". 
  3. ^ "ffdshow tryouts – SVN Changelog at SourceForge.net". 
  4. ^ "ffdshow developer information on SourceForge". 
  5. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20030401082827/www.divx.com/divx/
  6. ^ ffdshow-tryouts thread on Doom9.
  7. ^ http://support.microsoft.com/fixit/

External links[edit]