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Posted 25 Jul 2002


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DirectShow MediaPlayer in C#

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4.69/5 (99 votes)
16 Dec 20036 min read
This article shows how to play a Media File in a C# Windows Application.

Sample Image


Since this is my first article on The Code Project, I would like to apologize for my bad English. It is based only on some "school english" and a few words which I snapped during my leisure job as a Ski Instructor and a Rafting Guide during my education.

I hope everyone can understand this article. Still if questions should exist, I will gladly answer these. And if someone should find some errors, please send me the correct version of the wrong text - thanks for the help when improving my English knowledge spoke ;-).

So, let's start...

This small sample program shows, how simple it is to play a video or an audio track with DirectShow and C#.

The program uses the following controls: MainMenu, ToolBar, StatusBar, Panel, ImageList, and a Timer.

Many of the properties are set using the designer, so I would suggest that you download the project, unless of course you are not a beginner.

On the other side, the sample program includes the DirectShow Interface to play videos or audio tracks.

The program demonstrates the following

  • How to select a media file on the disk, using the OpenFileDialog instance class.
  • How to enable or disable the buttons of the ToolBar Control.
  • How to change the text in the StatusBar Control.
  • How to use a basic Timer.
  • How to use the Events of the Timer Control.
  • How to use the Events of the MainMenu Control.
  • How to use the Events of the ToolBar Control.
  • How to use the Events of the Windows Form.
  • How to play a media file with DirectShow.
  • How to determine, if the media file were finished played.
  • ...

The user interface

Beside the 3 buttons to play and stop a video or an audio track, there are also a menu option to select the desired media file. So, before you can play the desired media file you have to open this file with the "File -> Open..." Command in the MainMenu Control. If the file was duly loaded, it can be played now with the "Play" Button in the ToolBar Control. During playing the video or the audio track, the application shows the current position and the duration of the media file in the StatusBar Control. If the media file were finished played, you can restart playing the media file with the "Play" Button. To select another media file, you can use the "File -> Open..." Command of the MainMenu Control.

The user interface - ToolBar Image 3

With the "Info" Command of the MainMenu Control the Info-Dialog of the application will be displayed.

The Info Dialog

The DirectShow Interface:

To play videos or audio files we use the DirectShow Component of the DirectX Package. With the DirectShow Interface it is very simple to play a video or an audio file, most of the work is doing the Interface for you. You only have to setting up the Interface and calling the Interface methods with the correct parameters.

DirectShow Overview

Unfortunately .NET and C# is not an officially supported platform for DirectX development and will not be until DirectX 9 is released at the end of the year. However we can use DirectX with C# in the meantime by using the Visual Basic type library's that come with version 7 and 8 of the API. This article demonstrate how to use the DirectX VB Type Lib in C#.

Before we can begin a .NET DirectShow application we need to create a reference to the DirectShow COM DLL. So, copy the "Interop.QuartzTypeLib.dll" DLL into your project folder and add a reference to this DLL. In Visual Studio.NET this is done by choosing Add Reference from the project menu. As next choose the "Browse..." Button of the Add reference Dialog and select the DirectShow COM DLL.

The Add Reference Dialog

So, after the reference to the DirectShow COM DLL is created add the following code line to your project, to make the DirectShow Interface Classes visible.

using QuartzTypeLib;

The Code

How to select the media file and create the DirectShow Interface?

After the user pressed the "File -> Open..." Command of the MainMenu Control, a "Open File" Dialog is shown and the user can select the desired media file. In C# this is done by creating a instance of the OpenFileDialog class and call the ShowDialog() function.

OpenFileDialog openFileDialog = new OpenFileDialog();

openFileDialog.Filter = "Media Files|*.mpg;*.avi;*.wma;*.mov;" + 
                        "*.wav;*.mp2;*.mp3|All Files|*.*";

if (DialogResult.OK == openFileDialog.ShowDialog())

After the user terminated the dialog with OK, we begin to create the DirectShow Interface and to render the selected media file.

This is done in three steps:

DirectShow Overview

  1. Create the filter graph manager (FGM)
  2. Create the filter graph (through FGM)
  3. Run the graph and respond to event

In the following code you see how to create the filter graph manager and the filter graph:


m_objFilterGraph = new FilgraphManager();

m_objBasicAudio = m_objFilterGraph as IBasicAudio;

	m_objVideoWindow = m_objFilterGraph as IVideoWindow;
	m_objVideoWindow.Owner = (int) panel1.Handle;
	m_objVideoWindow.WindowStyle = WS_CHILD | WS_CLIPCHILDREN;
catch (Exception ex)
	m_objVideoWindow = null;

m_objMediaEvent = m_objFilterGraph as IMediaEvent;

m_objMediaEventEx = m_objFilterGraph as IMediaEventEx;
m_objMediaEventEx.SetNotifyWindow((int) this.Handle, WM_GRAPHNOTIFY, 0);

m_objMediaPosition = m_objFilterGraph as IMediaPosition;

m_objMediaControl = m_objFilterGraph as IMediaControl;

With the CleanUp() method we try to delete the old interfaces, if someone exists. Before we can start to render the file we have to create an new instance of the FilterGraphManager with the new method. The RenderFile() method builds a filter graph that renders the specified file. The IBasicAudio Interface is to set the volume and the balance of the sound. With the IVideoWindow Interface you can set the window style, the owner window and the position of video window. This functions are enclosed by a try because, if you render a audio file and you try to set the owner window the method throws an exception. So, to play a audio track we don't need the IVideoWindow Interface and we set the m_objVideoWindow member to null. The IMediaEvent and the IMediaEventEx Interface serves for interception of message, which sends DirectShow to the parent window. With the IMediaPosition Interface the current position of the file can be determined. To start and stop the video or the audio track we use the IMediaControl Interface.

For more information about the Interface read the DirectShow documentation on MSDN.

How to play a media file?

The Play Button

To start a video or an audio track use the Run() method of the IMediaControl Interface.


How to break the media file?

The Pause Button

If you want to break the playing video or audio track just use the Pause() method of the IMediaControl Interface.


How to stop the media file?

The Stop Button

To stop the video or the audio track use the Stop() method of the IMediaControl Interface.


How to get the position and the duration of the media file?

The StatusBar

While the media file is played, we indicate the current position and the length of the file in the StatusBar Control. In addition we read all 100ms the CurrentPosition member of the IMediaPosition Interface over a timer and represent its value in the statusbar. To get the length of the file we read the Duration member of the IMediaPosition Interface.

private void timer1_Tick(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
    if (m_CurrentStatus == MediaStatus.Running)

The timer function calls every 100ms the UpdateStatusBar() method, who is displaying the current position and and the duration of the media files in the panels of the statusbar.

private void UpdateStatusBar()
    switch (m_CurrentStatus)
        case MediaStatus.None   : statusBarPanel1.Text = "Stopped"; break;
        case MediaStatus.Paused : statusBarPanel1.Text = "Paused "; break;
        case MediaStatus.Running: statusBarPanel1.Text = "Running"; break;
        case MediaStatus.Stopped: statusBarPanel1.Text = "Stopped"; break;

    if (m_objMediaPosition != null)
        int s = (int) m_objMediaPosition.Duration;
        int h = s / 3600;
        int m = (s  - (h * 3600)) / 60;
        s = s - (h * 3600 + m * 60);

        statusBarPanel2.Text = String.Format("{0:D2}:{1:D2}:{2:D2}", h, m, s);

        s = (int) m_objMediaPosition.CurrentPosition;
        h = s / 3600;
        m = (s  - (h * 3600)) / 60;
        s = s - (h * 3600 + m * 60);

        statusBarPanel3.Text = String.Format("{0:D2}:{1:D2}:{2:D2}", h, m, s);
        statusBarPanel2.Text = "00:00:00";
        statusBarPanel3.Text = "00:00:00";

When is the end of the file reached?

In order to determine, when the file was finished played, we overwrite the WndProc method, to intercept the EC_COMPLETE message, which sends DirectShow to the parent window, when the end of the file is reached.

protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
    if (m.Msg == WM_GRAPHNOTIFY)
        int lEventCode;
        int lParam1, lParam2;

        while (true)
                m_objMediaEventEx.GetEvent(out lEventCode,
                    out lParam1,
                    out lParam2,

                m_objMediaEventEx.FreeEventParams(lEventCode, lParam1, lParam2);

                if (lEventCode == EC_COMPLETE)
                    m_objMediaPosition.CurrentPosition = 0;
                    m_CurrentStatus = MediaStatus.Stopped;
            catch (Exception)

    base.WndProc(ref m);


  • 19.07.2002 - posted (first version)
  • 26.07.2002 - some changes in design and code


Bugs and comments

If you have any comments or find some bugs, I would love to hear about it and make it better.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionSuggested Code Change... Pin
Destiny77730-Nov-17 11:29
MemberDestiny77730-Nov-17 11:29 
QuestionEC_COMPLETE is always zero Pin
Member 579111614-Apr-16 21:36
MemberMember 579111614-Apr-16 21:36 
AnswerRe: EC_COMPLETE is always zero Pin
Member 1353315722-Nov-17 0:11
MemberMember 1353315722-Nov-17 0:11 
Questionthank Pin
Rahim Lotfi9-Jan-16 10:36
MemberRahim Lotfi9-Jan-16 10:36 
QuestionVideo image capture problem Pin
Member 108291122-Jul-14 4:04
MemberMember 108291122-Jul-14 4:04 
Questiononly play waav file Pin
Member 1082815928-Jun-14 23:32
MemberMember 1082815928-Jun-14 23:32 
QuestionError Pin
Member 107116211-Apr-14 21:18
MemberMember 107116211-Apr-14 21:18 
QuestionCapture Video as Image Pin
monikaBhati1-Oct-13 20:17
MembermonikaBhati1-Oct-13 20:17 
GeneralMy vote of 2 Pin
Member 96701128-Jul-13 6:18
MemberMember 96701128-Jul-13 6:18 
QuestionPlay Video on a picturebox without ActiveMovieWindow Pin
morandeira24-Feb-13 21:21
Membermorandeira24-Feb-13 21:21 
QuestionRe: Play Video on a picturebox without ActiveMovieWindow Pin
Jyothisaakash2-Jun-13 21:32
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Michael Haephrati20-Feb-13 4:01
mvaMichael Haephrati20-Feb-13 4:01 
QuestionDirectShow problem Pin
Member 848774525-Apr-12 0:12
MemberMember 848774525-Apr-12 0:12 
QuestionVIDEO Pin
vabhs0011-Apr-12 2:57
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Questioncan i get specific timeframe video from directshow Pin
krishna varma I25-Mar-12 23:18
professionalkrishna varma I25-Mar-12 23:18 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
cool_kp24-Mar-12 7:31
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Questionhow creat playlist in Directshow media player Pin
cool_kp24-Mar-12 7:21
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Squall8313-Feb-12 1:52
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BugFrame 0 is not being displayed Pin
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QuestionDemo project works fine but compiled source throws 0x80040266 Pin
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MemberMember 420253517-Nov-11 3:40 
AnswerRe: Demo project works fine but compiled source throws 0x80040266 Pin
babalao24-Nov-13 3:23
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AnswerRe: Demo project works fine but compiled source throws 0x80040266 Pin
pluto66121-May-20 17:18
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
mr__rany13-Nov-11 23:32
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Questionhow to change cursor image inside the player Pin
ssyuvaraja10-Nov-11 4:36
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Questionsubtitles Pin
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