GStreamer is a powerful multimedia library for playing, creating, and manipulating sound, video, and other media. You can use GStreamer to provide sound and video playback, record input from multiple sources, and edit multimedia content. GStreamer supports encoding and decoding numerous formats by default, and support for additional formats can be added with plug-ins.

GStreamer provides a flexible architecture wherein media is processed through a pipeline of elements. Each element may apply filters to the content, such as encoding or decoding, combining multiple sources, or transforming the multimedia content. This architecture allows for an arbitrary arrangement of elements, so that you can accomplish virtually any effect using GStreamer. Furthermore, GStreamer is designed to have low overhead, so it can be used in applications with high demands on latency.

While GStreamer provides a powerful API for manipulating multimedia, it also provides convenient routines for simple playback. GStreamer can automatically construct a pipeline to read and playback files in any supported format, allowing you to use sound and video in your application easily.

The GStreamer architecture allows plugins to add encoders, decoders, and all sorts of content filters. Third-party developers can provide GStreamer plugins which will be automatically available to other applications using GStreamer. Plugins can provide support for other multimedia formats or provide additional functionality and effects.

You should use GStreamer whenever you need to read or play multimedia content in your application, or if your application needs to manipulate sound or video. Using GStreamer makes your application development easy, and it provides you well-tested elements for many of your needs.