in reply to
Get size and bitrate of video with perl and ffmpeg
Check out using ffprobe instead of ffmpeg. It doesn't try to play the video and you can pick an output format that suits you.
$ ffprobe -i http://bennugd-vlc.googlecode.com/files/sintel_trailer-48
+0p.mp4 -show_streams -print_format csv 2>/dev/null
stream,0,h264,H.264 / AVC / MPEG-4 AVC / MPEG-4 part 10,video,1/48,avc
stream,1,aac,Advanced Audio Coding,audio,1/48000,mp4a,0x6134706d,s16,4