GStreamer vs FFmpeg Pros And Cons At A Glance

Posted By : Anirudh Bhardwaj | 17-Jan-2017

Gstreamer vs FFmpeg

Video processing tools and frameworks have become increasingly popular these days as OTT services have reached mainstream audiences. There are several tools available on the internet that enable developers to effortlessly perform a variety of media-handling tasks such as encoding/decoding, muxing/demuxing, and audio/video conversions. Developers can perform these tasks in real-time and deploy them in various applications for seamless content delivery across devices.  


Unlike the function libraries, these media handling tools provide a powerful run-time environment for managing media processing tasks. Besides, they provide intuitive APIs for building video streaming apps, video on demand (VoD) software, and applications. This blog post sheds light on the two extensively used multimedia frameworks i.e GStreamer and FFmpeg.


Also read 8 Useful FFmpeg Commands For Beginners



GStreamer is a pipelined framework used for handling complex multimedia tasks. It combines several media processing systems to effortlessly perform complex operations in relatively less time. It packs together a unique set of components such as audio/video playback systems to accomplish multimedia tasks like recording, streaming, transcoding, and conversions. 


Gstreamer is fully compatible with all the major operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, OpenSolaris, and Linux based operating systems like Ubuntu. Above all, it is available under an open-source license, and thus, is cost-effective.



  • Compatible with modern-day applications
  • Supports all major 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



  • It occupies more storage space as compared to other frameworks.
  • It doesn’t support Qt bindings.



FFmpeg is an open-source tool provides 360-degree multimedia handling and web hosting capabilities to developers, broadcasters, and content providers. The strength of FFmpeg lies in its extensive list of supported codecs and filters. It renders active support for almost all essential codecs including lossless FFV1, lossy snow codec, WebM, FFVP8, VP9, HEVC, AAC, and FAAC. 


It supports popular media libraries such as libavcodec and libavformat. Libavcodec which is a library of programming functions acts as an integral part of FFmpeg. The library contains all the native audio/video transcoders pertaining to the use of FFmpeg. On the other hand, Libavformat is a library of audio/video muxers and demuxers that enables FFmpeg to carry out muxing/demuxing tasks quickly and more efficiently. Some other libraries supported by FFmpeg are:


  • Libavresample: A library that contains audio resampling routines
  • Libavutil: This library includes hash functions, ciphers, LZO decompressor, and Base64 transcoder
  • Libavfilter: Helps in analyzing 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
  • Supports a wide range of codecs and filters
  • Supports all major audio/video formats
  • Supports a large number of encoders and decoders
  • Provides video streaming and web hosting capabilities



  • It’s not easy for 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

About Author

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Anirudh Bhardwaj

Anirudh is a Content Strategist and Marketing Specialist who possess strong analytical skills and problem solving capabilities to tackle complex project tasks. Having considerable experience in the technology industry, he produces and proofreads insightful content on next-gen technologies like AI, blockchain, ERP, big data, IoT, and immersive AR/VR technologies. In addition to formulating content strategies for successful project execution, he has got ample experience in handling WordPress/PHP-based projects (delivering from scratch with UI/UX design, content, SEO, and quality assurance). Anirudh is proficient at using popular website tools like GTmetrix, Pagespeed Insights, ahrefs, GA3/GA4, Google Search Console, ChatGPT, Jira, Trello, Postman (API testing), and many more. Talking about the professional experience, he has worked on a range of projects including Wethio Blockchain, BlocEdu, NowCast, IT Savanna, Canine Concepts UK, and more.

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