GStreamer vs FFmpeg Pros And Cons At A Glance

Posted By Anirudh Bhardwaj | 17-Jan-2017

Gstreamer vs FFmpeg

Multimedia frameworks are largely in trends these days. These frameworks are widely used by the developers for handling multimedia tasks such as encoding/decoding, muxing/demuxing and audio/video conversions. All these tasks are performed in real-time on a computer connected to the internet. Unlike the function libraries, these media frameworks provide powerful run-time environment for handling media processing tasks. Besides, they offer intuitive APIs for building video streaming apps as well as the other media related softwares and applications. This blog focuses on the two most widely used multimedia frameworks.


Also read 8 Useful FFmpeg Commands For Beginners


So let’s start with GStreamer. GStreamer is a pipelined framework used for handling multimedia tasks. It links together several media processing systems to carry out complex operations in relatively less time. GStreamer is a magnificent blend of an array of media processing components and entities such as audio/video playback systems and it helps in accomplishing multimedia tasks like recording, streaming, transcoding and conversions. This framework is fully compatible with all the major operating systems including Windows, MacOS, Android, OpenSolaris and Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu. GStreamer is an open-source software which means any person can use it for free.




  • Used in modern day applications.

  • Supports and handles a large number of media formats.

  • Supports audio/video outputs on all major platforms.

  • Robust, secure and easy to learn.

  • Filter support is excellent. Supports a large number of audio/video filters.




  • Occupies larger storage space as compared to other frameworks.

  • It doesn’t support Qt bindings.



The strength of FFmpeg lies in its extensive list of supported codecs and filters. It renders an active support for almost all the requisite codecs including lossless FFV1, lossy snow codec, WebM, FFVP8, VP9, HEVC, AAC and FAAC. Besides, FFmpeg also provides video streaming and web hosting capabilities. It also supports popular media libraries such as libavcodec and libavformat. Libavcodec which is a library of programming functions acts as an integral part of FFmpeg. This library contains all the native audio/video transcoders pertaining to the FFmpeg. On contrary to this, Libavformat is a library of audio/video muxers and demuxers that enables it to carry out these operations. Some other libraries are:


  • Libavresample: A library that contains audio resampling routines.

  • Libavutil: This library includes hash functions, ciphers, LZO decompressor and Base64 transcoder.

  • Libavfilter: Helps in analysing and modifying audio/video content between decoder and encoder.

  • Libpostproc: It contains older video post-processing routines.

  • Libswscale: It contains incumbent conversion routines such as image spacing, colorspace and pixelformat.      




  • Excellent codec and filter support. It supports a wide range of codecs and filters.

  • Supports all major audio/video formats.

  • Also supports an extensively large number of encoders and decoders.

  • Also provides video streaming and web hosting capabilities.

  • Boasts one of the most powerful Streaming Engines available worldwide.




  • It’s not easy for the beginners to use and implement.

  • The official documentation is not clear and can be quite confusing.

  • It doesn’t provide audio/video I/O and so you need other SDKs for this purpose.

  • Cross-platform support is also limited.

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