FreeBSD was (and mainly still is) developed with server use in mind. Due to this and the fact that FreeBSD has only a relatively small market share, there’s a lack of multimedia device drivers for this operating system. This is unfortunate for projects such as PC-BSD and DesktopBSD that focus on desktop use.

The Video4Linux (V4L) project has produced a large number of device drivers available for multimedia cards, digital cameras, and USB devices. FreeBSD doesn’t support V4L, so much work will have to be repeated in re-writing new hardware drivers to make them run on FreeBSD. Most hardware which just ‘plugs-n-plays’ on Linux will never work on FreeBSD.

On 10 July 2008 the Video for BSD project was created on SourceForge. This project will implement a V4L compatible API and device drivers for the BSD systems, enabling FreeBSD users to run Linux video applications. The project’s goal is to provide an emulation layer that would let you recompile the Linux source code on FreeBSD, and provide a sufficiently complete emulation of the Linux kernel APIs so that device drivers can be used without significant modifications to their source code.

Similar to the Video for BSD project is the FreeBSD HDTV project.

More information on the Video for BSD project page or the SourceForge page