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1) Introduction
---------------

ffmpeg is a hyper fast realtime audio/video encoder, a streaming
server and a generic audio and video file converter. 

It can grab from a standard Video4Linux video source and convert it
into several file formats based on DCT/motion compensation
encoding. Sound is compressed in MPEG audio layer 2 or using an AC3
compatible stream.

What makes ffmpeg interesting ?

- Innovative streaming technology : multiformat, real time encoding,
  simple configuration.

- Simple and efficient video encoder: outputs MPEG1, H263, Real
  Video(tm), MPEG4, DIVX and MJPEG compatible bitstreams using the
  same encoder core.

- Real time encoding (25 fps in 352x288 on a K6 500) using the
  video4linux API.

- Generates I and P frames, which means it is far better than a MJPEG
  encoder.

- Hyper fast MPEG audio layer 2 compression (50 times faster than
  realtime on a K6 500).

- Hyper fast AC3 compatible encoder.

- simple and very small portable C source code, easy to understand and
  to modify. It be may the smallest decent MPEG encoder :-)

- optional non real time higher quality encoding (different motion
  estimators available).

- Audio and Video decoders are in development.

ffmpeg is made of two programs:

* ffmpeg: soft VCR which encodes in real time to several formats. It
  can also encode from any supported input file format to any input
  supported format.

* ffserver: high performance live broadcast streaming server based on
  the ffmpeg core encoders.

2) Documentation
----------------

* Read doc/ffmpeg.txt and doc/ffserver.txt to learn the basic features.

* Read doc/TODO to know what are the know bugs and missing features.

* Read doc/README.dev if you want to contribute or use the codec or
  format libraries.

3) Licensing:
------------

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* See the file COPYING. ffmpeg and the associated library EXCEPT
  liba52 are licensed under the Lesser GNU General Public
  License. liba52 is distributed under the GNU General Public License.
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* This code should be patent free since it is very simple. I took care
  to use the same video encoder/decoder core for all formats to show
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  that they really are mostly the same.
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Fabrice Bellard.