Specifying Stream Formats

Generally, DirectShow and kernel streaming share media format definitions and streaming conventions. This uniformity is somewhat obscured by the differences in naming conventions used by kernel-mode and user-mode components. Many media format and GUID definitions used in kernel mode have the prefix KS_ but are otherwise identical to their user-mode counterparts. For example, the Win32 user-mode version of the kernel-mode structure, KS_BITMAPINFOHEADER, is BITMAPINFOHEADER.

A video capture minidriver describes a specific stream format using a KSDATAFORMAT structure. However, a minidriver can also expose a large range of potential stream formats by specifying an array of KSDATARANGE structures. The KSDATARANGE structure describes image characteristics such as color format, bit depth, and cropping and scaling possibilities.

A single KSDATARANGE structure can describe thousands of potential KSDATAFORMAT structures. For example, a KSDATARANGE structure could specify a video stream of RGB24 samples with a minimum dimension of 160x120 pixels and a maximum dimension of 720x480 pixels, with granularity stepping size value of 1 in the x and y dimensions. From this, an application could request any of more than 200,000 possible output image dimensions through a unique KSDATAFORMAT structure.

DirectShow uses a structure similar to KSDATAFORMAT to define stream formats. For example:

typedef struct  _AMMediaType    {
    GUID majortype;            // Same as KSDATAFORMAT.MajorFormat
    GUID subtype;              // Same as KSDATAFORMAT.SubFormat
    BOOL bFixedSizeSamples;
    BOOL bTemporalCompression;
    ULONG lSampleSize;         // Same as KSDATAFORMAT.SampleSize
    GUID formattype;           // Same as KSDATAFORMAT.Specifier
    IUnknown __RPC_FAR *pUnk;
    ULONG cbFormat;
    BYTE *pbFormat;

Despite the differences in naming conventions, the GUIDs used in both the kernel-mode KSDATARANGE/KSDATAFORMAT and user-mode AM_MEDIA_TYPE structures are identical.

Note : The low-order four bytes of the SubFormat member of the KSDATAFORMAT structure (that is analogous to the subtype member of the AM_MEDIA_TYPE user-mode structure) should match the FOURCC values used in the biCompression member of the KS_BITMAPINFOHEADER structure. These bytes hold hexadecimal ASCII characters that describe a format, in reverse order.

For example, the following GUID corresponds to the YVU9 FOURCC video format:

      59 = 'Y'
    56 = 'V'
  55 = 'U'
39 = '9'

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