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VideoLan

Posted by Parth Barot on March 8, 2006

As far as marketing goes I guess this article may one day bring me some hate for teaching some dumbass to build online infomercials, but I assure you my motives are far less industrious.

If you live outside North America, like me, you might think watching your favorite TV provider back home was impossible. In fact for years I figured I was just stuck with crap TV and limewire downloads. Trailerpark Boys, Battlestar Gallactica, and Family Guy had become pleasures I relied on friends to send me in the mail, years after they aired. Until now…

I have been fiddling with this all day and I will say VLC (www.videolan.org) is one of the coolest open source programs I have come across in some time. Platform support is universal from Win32, *Nix to even long dead BeOS. These are also the people behind Google Video if that is any indication. VLC allows you to stream video online, multicast, save incoming streams, and do all sorts of cool things only people with lots of money should be able to do – like open your own TV station. The quality is really amazing and of course endlessly tweakable. Oh and ya did I mention it is completely free? Ok I did, onwards…

I tested VLC by getting a friend to stream DISH Network to me from the US and it was VERY watchable. Keep in mind this was streaming from Seattle, WA to Bangkok, TH. 18 hops.

Streaming using a Video Capture Card

What you will need:

– Operating System
– 1 Video Capture Card
– Drivers for Video Capture card (go to driversguide.com to find software drivers for video capture cards)
– DirectX 9.0c
– VLC (please get the nightly CVS version, a lot of good folks work really hard on this software, and PLEASE donate to them if you can)
– A network connection
– Windows Media Player
– A WHOLE LOT of patience

Step 1

– Install Capture Card (I use all ATI Wonder Cards and have no problem)
– Install or Update your DirectX (windowsupdate.com)
– Install VLC

Step 2 FOR NAT(using DHCP for home networks)/DSL/CABLE Routers

– Go to your router and click on Port Forwarding
– Enter your VLC server’s IP address and the desired port for forwarding.
– Your router should accept the setting and tell you everything is ok

Step 3

– Fire up VLC
– Go to File > Open Captue Device > Video Device Name > Refresh.. (wait a moment) click on the default bar and then click on your capture device driver (the one that came with your card)
– Now click Stream/Save > Settings
– Click on Play Locally and MMSH. Insert YOUR LOCAL IP ADDRESS and DESIRED port (for folks using NAT thats 192.X.X.X that you forwarded on your router earlier)
– Click on Video Codec and select your Video Codec format (I use WMV since I am using WMP), then select a good bit rate like 192 or 128, then select the size of the picture in your player (1 – 2)
– Repeat the instructions above for audio
– One VERY IMPORTANT quality setting is TTL – Type 10 at a minimum. This tells VLC the number of routers your stream will probably go across.
– Click Ok and Click Ok again to start your stream

Step 4

– Open WMP and click on File > Open URL
– Type http://:9494
– Your video will take a bit to buffer but then you should see your pictures.

I would love to hear results from anyone else working with VLC. My next step is to setup a remote control with an external IRD box, so I can change channels – yes people ARE doing this! Check my official VideoLan Tutorial thread for updates on this project.

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