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April 19, 2006

IPTV and video streaming on the internet.

I’ve been doing some research on video streaming technologies on the internet. In my searches I’ve come up with some very interesting tools. There is a new open source media player called VLC Media Player created by Video Lan. Yet another player ? What’s so special about that? Well this is more than a player. It is a player, streaming server, and converter for MPEG1,2,4,DivX. It takes inputs from files, DVD, acquisition devices, hardware encoders, and satellite boxes.

Essentially this could be used to build you own video server. For those who really are ambitious you could build something like Slingbox. For those that don’t know Slingbox is an attachment to your TV/Cable connection that allows you to rebroadcast your home television back out to the internet. It essentially has 4 major functions:
1. Change the channel on your cable box or satellite tuner box. (Infrared or other control channel?)
2. Capture the video that would go to your television. (a video capture/tuner card)
3. Encode the video stream into some compressed format. (MPEG4)
4. Transmit the video stream out to the internet as a server.

The quality of your video will of course probably be limited to the upstream bandwidth of your home internet connection. For example even though my download speed is ~3Mb/sec my ability to serve (upload) a data stream is only ~300Kb/sec. This artificial upload speed limit is normally imposed on home users (by their providers) to prevent them from running any sort of comercial servers from home.

I recently attended the ‘IPTV Technology & Testing Seminar’ by Alan Way of Spirent Communications. Very interesting stuff. The syllabus was roughly:

* International Broadcasting Standards. (PAL,NTSC)
* What is MPEG. (I,B,P frames, Discrete Cosine Transform)
* Advanced Audio Codec (New codecs to replace MP3)
* Transmission errors and video quality. (How errors effect the encoding)
* Measuring video quality. (MOS, PESQ, V-Factor)
* MPEG Transport over IP controls. (IPv6,QoS,SIP,Mpeg2-TS)
* Forward Error Correction exploits. (Cop3)
* Multicasting (PIM & IGMP)

Filed under: Research — admin @ 9:38 am

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