ffplay Documentation

Table of Contents

1 Synopsis

ffplay [options] [input_url]

2 Description

FFplay is a very simple and portable media player using the FFmpeg libraries and the SDL library. It is mostly used as a testbed for the various FFmpeg APIs.

3 Options

All the numerical options, if not specified otherwise, accept a string representing a number as input, which may be followed by one of the SI unit prefixes, for example: ’K’, ’M’, or ’G’.

If ’i’ is appended to the SI unit prefix, the complete prefix will be interpreted as a unit prefix for binary multiples, which are based on powers of 1024 instead of powers of 1000. Appending ’B’ to the SI unit prefix multiplies the value by 8. This allows using, for example: ’KB’, ’MiB’, ’G’ and ’B’ as number suffixes.

Options which do not take arguments are boolean options, and set the corresponding value to true. They can be set to false by prefixing the option name with "no". For example using "-nofoo" will set the boolean option with name "foo" to false.

3.1 Stream specifiers

Some options are applied per-stream, e.g. bitrate or codec. Stream specifiers are used to precisely specify which stream(s) a given option belongs to.

A stream specifier is a string generally appended to the option name and separated from it by a colon. E.g. -codec:a:1 ac3 contains the a:1 stream specifier, which matches the second audio stream. Therefore, it would select the ac3 codec for the second audio stream.

A stream specifier can match several streams, so that the option is applied to all of them. E.g. the stream specifier in -b:a 128k matches all audio streams.

An empty stream specifier matches all streams. For example, -codec copy or -codec: copy would copy all the streams without reencoding.

Possible forms of stream specifiers are:


Matches the stream with this index. E.g. -threads:1 4 would set the thread count for the second stream to 4. If stream_index is used as an additional stream specifier (see below), then it selects stream number stream_index from the matching streams. Stream numbering is based on the order of the streams as detected by libavformat except when a program ID is also specified. In this case it is based on the ordering of the streams in the program.


stream_type is one of following: ’v’ or ’V’ for video, ’a’ for audio, ’s’ for subtitle, ’d’ for data, and ’t’ for attachments. ’v’ matches all video streams, ’V’ only matches video streams which are not attached pictures, video thumbnails or cover arts. If additional_stream_specifier is used, then it matches streams which both have this type and match the additional_stream_specifier. Otherwise, it matches all streams of the specified type.


Matches streams which are in the program with the id program_id. If additional_stream_specifier is used, then it matches streams which both are part of the program and match the additional_stream_specifier.

#stream_id or i:stream_id

Match the stream by stream id (e.g. PID in MPEG-TS container).


Matches streams with the metadata tag key having the specified value. If value is not given, matches streams that contain the given tag with any value.


Matches streams with usable configuration, the codec must be defined and the essential information such as video dimension or audio sample rate must be present.

Note that in ffmpeg, matching by metadata will only work properly for input files.

3.2 Generic options

These options are shared amongst the ff* tools.


Show license.

-h, -?, -help, --help [arg]

Show help. An optional parameter may be specified to print help about a specific item. If no argument is specified, only basic (non advanced) tool options are shown.

Possible values of arg are:


Print advanced tool options in addition to the basic tool options.


Print complete list of options, including shared and private options for encoders, decoders, demuxers, muxers, filters, etc.


Print detailed information about the decoder named decoder_name. Use the -decoders option to get a list of all decoders.


Print detailed information about the encoder named encoder_name. Use the -encoders option to get a list of all encoders.


Print detailed information about the demuxer named demuxer_name. Use the -formats option to get a list of all demuxers and muxers.


Print detailed information about the muxer named muxer_name. Use the -formats option to get a list of all muxers and demuxers.


Print detailed information about the filter name filter_name. Use the -filters option to get a list of all filters.


Print detailed information about the bitstream filter name bitstream_filter_name. Use the -bsfs option to get a list of all bitstream filters.


Show version.


Show available formats (including devices).


Show available demuxers.


Show available muxers.


Show available devices.


Show all codecs known to libavcodec.

Note that the term ’codec’ is used throughout this documentation as a shortcut for what is more correctly called a media bitstream format.


Show available decoders.


Show all available encoders.


Show available bitstream filters.