ffdshow is an open source 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 supporting numerous other video and audio formats as well. It runs on Windows and is implemented as a DirectShow decoding filter. The main developer of ffdshow is Milan Cutka and the first versions were published in April 2002.

After installation of ffdshow, compatible DirectShow media players such as Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic, Winamp, or Zoom Player will use the ffdshow decoder automatically, thus avoiding the need to install separate codecs for the various different formats supported by ffdshow. ffdshow can be configured separately from the media player, for instance to switch on subtitles, to remove logos, to enable or disable various built-in codecs, to grab screenshots, to enable keyboard control, in a home theater PC for enhancing media attributes such as the resolution and sharpness of DVD-Video, or to add any other of a rich set of postprocessing filters. The configuration window (shown to the right) can be accessed from Start/Programs/ffdshow.

ffdshow uses the libavcodec library and several other free software packages to decode movies in the following formats: MPEG-4 (including video encoded with XviD, DivX, 3ivx and MS MPEG-4), H.264 (including video encoded with x264), WMV, as well as numerous others. Some of the postprocessing code to improve image quality is borrowed from the MPlayer project. ffdshow also decodes the MP3, AAC, ac3, WMA and Vorbis audio formats and has the ability to manipulate audio by adding special effects to the music such as an equalizer, a Dolby decoder, Winamp plugins, and much more.

The post-processing video filters of ffdshow can be used in video editors such as VirtualDub or AviSynth. In these editors, ffdshow can also be used to encode MPEG-4 or MS MPEG-4 video compatible with the XviD, DivX ;-) 3, DivX 4, 5 and 6 or x264 codecs.

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