Video utilities

This chapter always seems to be the favorite chapter. It's probably because there is a lot of satisfaction in playing your first video when you have spent so much time getting to that point. All those libraries, all the configurations and your reward is that you finally get to watch a movie. Not to worry though, there is always one more CODEC to install.


Introduction to FFmpeg

FFmpeg is a solution to record, convert and stream audio and video. Due to heavy development, not all of these functions will work.

Package information

FFmpeg dependencies

Installation of FFmpeg

Install FFmpeg by running the following commands:



The package maintainers recommend compiling without any optimizations.

./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-shared &&
make &&
make install

Command explanations

--enable-shared: This switch is needed to build libavcodec and libavformat shared libraries.

--enable-mp3lame: Link against libmp3lame.

--enable-vorbis: Link against libvorbis.

--disable-ffplay: Only installs the server part. ffplay requires X for building.

Configuring FFmpeg

Config files


You'll find a sample ffserver configuration file at


The FFmpeg package contains ffmpeg , ffserver, ffplay, libavcodec and libavformat.



ffmpeg is a command-line tool to convert video files, network streams and input from a TV card to several video formats.


ffserver is a streaming server for everything that ffmpeg could use as input (files, streams, TV card input, webcam, etc.).


ffplay is a very simple and portable media player using the ffmpeg libraries and the SDL library.


libavcodec and libavformats are libraries for encoding/decoding video streams and putting them into files or network packets. Since they're well documented, you can easily include them in your software, like some other packages already do.