Serious Discussion FFmpeg 6.1 drops a Heaviside dose of codec magic


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Nov 10, 2017
New versions of this amazingly versatile tool, used in most streaming video services and devices, don't come along very often.

Although FFmpeg has been around since 2000, it only reached version 6 in February. Despite its modest point-one version number bump – and remarkably terse release notes – this is a major release. The announcement has rather more information, as does the changelog.

The release's codename is a tribute to the great 19th century mathematician Oliver Heaviside, the inventor of the coaxial cable along with several radical mathematical methods, which for instance enabled the performance of telegraph cables to be mathematically modeled for the first time. The other thing named after him is the Heaviside layer, the part of the ionosphere that long-distance radio signals reflect off to travel around the world (and not, in fact, where cats go to heaven.)

We can't better the project's own self-description:

FFmpeg is the leading multimedia framework, able to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter and play pretty much anything that humans and machines have created. It supports the most obscure ancient formats up to the cutting edge. No matter if they were designed by some standards committee, the community or a corporation.

If you own some gadget that can play digital video either off the internet or a network server or some storage device, the moving pictures you see were very probably encoded or decoded or translated by FFmpeg.

This version includes support for multi-threaded hardware-accelerated video decoding of H.264, HEVC, and AV1 video using the cross-platform Vulkan API, the next-gen replacement for OpenGL, which was added to the codebase in May.

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