#streaming #mpd #dash #mpeg


Parse, serialize, download an MPD manifest for MPEG-DASH or WebM-DASH media streaming

38 releases (13 breaking)

0.14.5 Nov 28, 2023
0.14.2 Oct 15, 2023
0.12.0 Jul 16, 2023
0.7.2 Mar 19, 2023
0.1.0 Nov 28, 2021

#3 in Video

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Used in 5 crates

MIT license



A Rust library for parsing, serializing and downloading media content from a DASH MPD file, as used by video services such as on-demand replay of TV content and video streaming services like YouTube. Allows both parsing of a DASH manifest (XML format) to Rust structs (deserialization) and programmatic generation of an MPD manifest (serialization). The library also allows you to download media content from a streaming server.

Crates.io Released API docs CI Dependency status LICENSE

DASH (dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP), also called MPEG-DASH, is a technology used for media streaming over the web, commonly used for video on demand (VOD) services. The Media Presentation Description (MPD) is a description of the resources (manifest or “playlist”) forming a streaming service, that a DASH client uses to determine which assets to request in order to perform adaptive streaming of the content. DASH MPD manifests can be used both with content encoded as H.264/MPEG and as WebM, and with file segments using either MPEG-2 Transport Stream (M2TS) container format or fragmented MPEG-4 (also called CFF). There is a good explanation of adaptive bitrate video streaming at howvideo.works.

This library provides a serde-based parser (deserializer) and serializer for the DASH MPD format, as formally defined in ISO/IEC standard 23009-1:2019. XML schema files are available for no cost from ISO. The library also provides non-exhaustive support for certain DASH extensions such as the DVB-DASH and HbbTV (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV) profiles. When MPD files in practical use diverge from the formal standard(s), this library prefers to interoperate with existing practice.

If the library feature fetch is enabled (which it is by default), the library also provides support for downloading content (audio or video) described by an MPD manifest. This involves selecting the alternative with the most appropriate encoding (in terms of bitrate, codec, etc.), fetching segments of the content using HTTP or HTTPS requests (this functionality depends on the reqwest crate) and muxing audio and video segments together.

Muxing (merging audio and video streams, which are often published separately in DASH media streams) is implemented by calling an external commandline application, either mkvmerge (from the MkvToolnix suite), ffmpeg, vlc or MP4Box. The choice of external muxer depends on the filename extension of the path supplied to download_to() (will be .mp4 if you call download()):

  • .mkv: call mkvmerge first, then if that isn't installed or fails call ffmpeg, then try MP4Box
  • .mp4: call ffmpeg first, then if that fails call vlc, then try MP4Box
  • .webm: call vlc, then if that fails ffmpeg
  • other: try ffmpeg, which supports many container formats, then try MP4Box

You can specify a different order of preference for muxing applications using the with_muxer_preference method on DashDownloader. For example, with_muxer_preference("avi", "vlc,ffmpeg") means that for an AVI media container the external muxer vlc will be tried first, then ffmpeg in case of failure. This method option can be used multiple times to specify options for different container types.

If the library feature libav is enabled, muxing is implemented using ffmpeg’s libav library, via the ac_ffmpeg crate. This allows the library to work with fewer runtime dependencies. However, these commandline applications implement a number of checks and workarounds to fix invalid input streams that tend to exist in the wild. Some of these workarounds are implemented here when using libav as a library, but not all of them, so download support tends to be more robust with the default configuration (using an external application as a subprocess).

DASH features supported

  • Multi-period content. The media in the different streams will be saved in a single media container if the formats are compatible (same resolution, codecs, bitrate and so on) and concatenate_periods(false) has not been called on DashDownloader, and otherwise in separate media containers.

  • XLink elements (only with actuate=onLoad semantics), including resolve-to-zero.

  • All forms of segment index info: SegmentBase@indexRange, SegmentTimeline, SegmentTemplate@duration, SegmentTemplate@index, SegmentList.

  • Media containers of types supported by mkvmerge, ffmpeg, VLC or MP4Box (this includes Matroska, ISO-BMFF / CMAF / MP4, WebM, MPEG-2 TS), and all codecs supported by these applications.

  • WebVTT/wvtt, TTML, STPP, SRT, tx3g and SMIL subtitles, either provided as a single media stream or as a fragmented MP4 stream. Subtitles that are distributed as a single media stream will be saved to a file with the same base name as the requested output file, but with an extension corresponding to the subtitle type (e.g. ".srt", ".vtt"). Subtitles distributed in WebVTT/wvtt format (either as a single media stream or a fragmented MP4 stream) will be converted to the more standard SRT format using the MP4Box commandline utility (from the GPAC project), if it is installed. STPP subtitles (which according to the DASH specifications should be formatted as EBU-TT) will be muxed into the output media container as a "subt:stpp" stream using MP4Box. Note that common media players such as mplayer and VLC don't currently support this subtitle type; you can try using the GPAC media player (available with "gpac -gui").

  • Support for decrypting media streams that use MPEG Common Encryption (cenc) ContentProtection. This requires either the mp4decrypt commandline application from the Bento4 suite to be installed (binaries are available for common platforms), or the Shaka packager application (binaries for common platforms are available as GitHub releases). See the add_decryption_key function on DashDownloader, the with_decryptor_preference function on DashDownloader, and the decrypt.rs example.

Limitations / unsupported features

  • We can’t really download content from dynamic MPD manifests, that are used for live streaming/OTT TV. This is because we don't implement the clock functionality needed to know when new media segments become available nor the bandwidth management functionality that allows adaptive streaming. Note however that some OTT providers public dynamic manifests for content that is not live (i.e. all media segments are already available), and which we can download in dumb “fast-as-possible” mode. You can use the method allow_live_streams() on DashDownloader to attempt to download from these “pseudo-live” streams. It may also be useful to specify force_duration(secs) and to use sleep_between_requests() to ensure downloading is not faster than real time.

    An alternative technique is to use the XSLT stylesheet tests/fixtures/rewrite-drop-dynamic.xslt to change the dynamic attribute to static before downloading, which should allow you to download this type of content.

  • No support for XLink with actuate=onRequest semantics.


To parse (deserialize) the contents of an MPD manifest into Rust structs:

use std::time::Duration;
use dash_mpd::{MPD, parse};

fn main() {
    let client = reqwest::blocking::Client::builder()
        .timeout(Duration::new(30, 0))
        .expect("creating HTTP client");
    let xml = client.get("https://rdmedia.bbc.co.uk/testcard/vod/manifests/avc-ctv-stereo-en.mpd")
        .header("Accept", "application/dash+xml,video/vnd.mpeg.dash.mpd")
        .expect("requesting MPD content")
        .expect("fetching MPD content");
    let mpd: MPD = parse(&xml)
        .expect("parsing MPD");
    if let Some(pi) = mpd.ProgramInformation {
        if let Some(title) = pi.Title {
            println!("Title: {:?}", title.content);
        if let Some(source) = pi.Source {
            println!("Source: {:?}", source.content);
    for p in mpd.periods {
        if let Some(d) = p.duration {
            println!("Contains Period of duration {d:?}");

See example dash_stream_info.rs for more information.

To generate an MPD manifest programmatically:

use dash_mpd::{MPD, ProgramInformation, Title};

fn main() {
   let pi = ProgramInformation {
       Title: Some(Title { content: Some("My serialization example".into()) }),
       lang: Some("eng".into()),
       moreInformationURL: Some("https://github.com/emarsden/dash-mpd-rs".into()),
   let mpd = MPD {
       mpdtype: Some("static".into()),
       xmlns: Some("urn:mpeg:dash:schema:mpd:2011".into()),
       ProgramInformation: Some(pi),

   let xml = mpd.to_string();

See example serialize.rs for more detail.

To download content from an MPD manifest:

use dash_mpd::fetch::DashDownloader;

let url = "https://storage.googleapis.com/shaka-demo-assets/heliocentrism/heliocentrism.mpd";
match DashDownloader::new(url)
   Ok(path) => println!("Downloaded to {path:?}"),
   Err(e) => eprintln!("Download failed: {e:?}"),

See example download_bbc.rs for a little more detail.

An application that provides a convenient commandline interface for the download functionality is available separately in the dash-mpd-cli crate.


Add to your Cargo.toml file:

dash-mpd = "0.14.5"

If you don’t need the download functionality and wish to reduce code size, use:

dash-mpd = { version = "0.14.5", default-features = false }

We endeavour to use semantic versioning for this crate despite its 0.x version number: a major change which requires users of the library to change their code (such as a change in an attribute name or type) will be published in a major release. For a version number 0.y.z, a major release implies a change to y.

Optional features

The following additive Cargo features can be enabled:

  • fetch (enabled by default): enables support for downloading stream content. This accounts for most of the code size of the library, so disable it if you only need the struct definitions for serializing and deserializing MPDs.

  • socks (enabled by default): enables the socks feature on our reqwest dependency, which provides SOCKS5 proxy support for HTTP/HTTPS requests.

  • compression (enabled by default): enables the gzip feature on our reqwest dependency, to enable gzip compression and decompression of HTTP/HTTPS requests.

  • native-tls (enabled by default): enables the native-tls feature on our reqwest dependency, to enable HTTPS requests using the platform's default TLS implementation.

  • rustls-tls: enable the rustls-tls feature on our reqwest dependency (use rustls instead of system-native TLS). You may need to enable this (and build without native-tls) for static linking with the musl-libc target on Linux.

  • libav: enables linking to ffmpeg as a library for muxing support (instead of calling out to mkvmerge, ffmpeg or vlc as a subprocess), via the ac-ffmpeg crate.

  • trust-dns: enable the trust-dns feature on our reqwest dependency, to use the trust-dns DNS resolver library instead of the system resolver.

  • scte35 (enabled by default): enable support for XML elements corresponding to the SCTE-35 standard for insertion of alternate content (mostly used for dynamic insertion of advertising).

  • warn_ignored_elements: if this feature is enabled, a warning will be issued when an XML element present in the DASH manifest is not deserialized into a Rust struct, while parsing the manifest. The default behaviour is to ignore elements for which we have not defined serde deserialization instructions. This feature is implemented with the serde_ignored crate.


This crate is tested on the following platforms:

  • Linux, with default features (muxing using mkvmerge, ffmpeg, vlc or MP4Box as a subprocess) and libav support, on AMD64 and Aarch64 architectures

  • MacOS/Aarch64, without the libav feature (problems building the ac-ffmpeg crate against current ffmpeg)

  • Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 11, without the libav feature

  • Android 12 on Aarch64 via termux, without the libav feature (you'll need to install the rust, binutils and ffmpeg packages)

  • FreeBSD/AMD64 and OpenBSD/AMD64, without the libav feature. Note however that some of the external utility applications we use for muxing or decrypting media content are poorly supported on these platforms.


This library was developed to allow the author to watch a news programme produced by a public media broadcaster whilst at the gym. The programme is published as a DASH stream on the broadcaster’s “replay” service, but network service at the gym is sometimes poor. First world problems!

The author is not the morality police nor a lawyer, but please note that redistributing media content that you have not produced may, depending on the publication licence, be a breach of intellectual property laws. Also, circumventing DRM may be prohibited in some countries.


This project is licensed under the MIT license. For more information, see the LICENSE-MIT file.


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