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Old 12-10-2007, 12:06 PM   #1
Registered: Aug 2007
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 661

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x264 Streaming media server & client decompressing on server-side?


I need an advice about how to stream video files.
I have 2 PCs:
- one is small and has only a a 800Mhz CPU, a 200GB HD and is directly connected to my LCD-TV and my amplifier. I installed on it Freevo, Amarok and Lirc and I am currently using it to listen to music (is connected as well to a small touchscreen which I placed in the cupboard nearby the TV) and to watch divx/xvid movies I transferred to the local harddisk (it's a VIA Epia SP8000 motherboard, so with mpeg4 hrdw accelleration built-in).
- the other one is big, is located in my "office" room, has a powerful processor (Intel Core duo 2.13Ghz), has plenty of storage space and I am currently running on it multiple OSs by using Xen and I use it as a backup server, as a place where I develop my C++/Java programs, run Azureus, etc... .
Both machines are connected through a very long flat lan cable which provides about 10MB/s data throughput. I cannot get more out of it as the small machine has already with 10MB/s a 100% CPU usage while doing ftp transfers, so not encrypted.

The HD on the small machine is a 2.5'', so its storage capacity is rather limited. I cannot add more HDs. My idea would therefore be to use the big machine to store the files and stream them to the small machine. No problem here as I could use any kind of network filesystem - NFS, mount though SSH, mount through Fuse or whatever.
The wish for an "added value" by having both machines running while whatching videos would be to be able to play as well x264-encoded (eventually HD) movies/videos as the small machine is currently too weak to handle them (I currently get around 10 fps on non-HD material).
I would therefore like to know if there are streaming servers which do the decoding part on the server and send a (lightly lossless) compressed stream to the client which then has just to show the resulting stream on-screen (eventually after slightly decompressing it) . Perhaps I am telling rubbish and all the streaming servers already behave like that?

1/2 solution:
What I tried out now was to do a small test and connect from the small machine to the big one using "ssh -Y -C bigmachine" and play an avi-file. It works fine. But I have of course only the video part - I am missing the audio

- what would be the easiest method to decode a video file on the big machine and send the decoded video (& audio in any form - en/ or decoded) to the small machine?
- do you think a 10MB/s connection would be able to handle HD video?
- if you have a solution, would it work together with Lirc (which is running on the client / small PC)?

Thanks a lot...
Old 12-11-2007, 11:03 AM   #2
Registered: Aug 2007
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 661

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 71
I saw that VLC has support for streaming and apparently transcoding the stream on the fly before sending it to the client - I'm therefore trying out this now...
Old 12-12-2007, 11:04 AM   #3
Registered: Aug 2007
Location: Switzerland
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 661

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 71
Mmhhh, I'm not very happy with VLC - it does do what I wanted but 1) I cannot bring transcoding to x263 & x264 to work and 2) it sometimes does not work depending on the codec you select and the format (h & v pixels) of the video.


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