In the last few years, the definition of a good interactive website has completely changed. Today, most websites are found to be streaming videos, or offering provisions for uploading and sharing videos to its viewers. There are certain software libraries available over the Internet that converts the user-uploaded video, which could be encoded in any form, into a single format, which is viewable from the hosted site, and also embeddable to a third party website. One such software library that is mostly used in websites is the FFmpeg and its usage in websites is termed as FFmpeg hosting.
FFmpeg is written in C programming language and is under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which allows its users to use, distribute, modify the software and redistribute the modified software without any fear of copyright issues. The software, which has been made under the Linux operating system, is actually a cross-platform software, meaning that it could be used in most operating systems like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS besides Linux. It also supports different computer architectures like x86, SPARC, ARM, PPC and MIPS.
The FFmpeg project has several components, being continuously developed by FFmpeg developers, and the latest version to be released is version 0.5. The software contains a command line tool, named ffmpeg that actually converts videos of a format to another. Besides converting, it can also encode real-time videos from a TV card. The second component of FFmpeg is the ffserver, which is a HTTP multimedia-streaming server, and is basically used for live video broadcasts. It also supports time-shift live broadcasts. The project contains its own media player, named ffplay and is based on the ffmpeg libraries.
The most important component of the project is libavcodec, which is a compilation of the encoders and decoders of the FFmpeg audio/videos. A lot of codecs were developed completely the FFmpeg developers for better and enhanced performance.
There are other components too, such as the libavformat, containing the muxers and demuxers for different formats; other routines for video post-processing and image scaling and library of routines for different FFmpeg parts. Besides developing the software itself, which is used by a host of free media players, it has also developed two very important video codecs and a video container.
The video codecs are the lossy “Snow” codec, and the lossless “FFV1” codec, while the video container being actively developed is named as “NUT”. Other than the self-developed codecs, it implements external codecs like H.261, H.263, Windows Media Video codecs like WMV1, WMV2, MV3; Vorbis and many more. FFmpeg supports a lot of formats, including the famous AVI, ASF, FLV, MPEG to name a few; and protocols like HTTP, RTP, TCP, UDP etc.
FFmpeg is path-breaking software that is sure to find more and more use in the future, as more websites start using video streaming and uploading features.
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