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bper 01-03-2005 07:35 PM

Streaming Audio/Video
I'm interested in running a streaming audio/video server on linux. I'm running RedHat 9.0 on a P4 2.66, and I need to know what are the best options available.

I've heard of the Darwin Streaming Server, and Icecast and Shoutcast.

Does anyone have a recommendation? Is there a preferred linux distro and version that should be used?


MasterC 01-04-2005 02:13 AM

How streaming? To anyone, or other clients on your LAN, or your buddies across the street or what? The Video stream is the one that I'm most concerned/interested with, because of the bitrates involved, you'll need quite the bandwidth for streaming anything of length or quality if it's outside your LAN. If all this is inside your LAN, you could use something like or MythTV to stream either one of these media types.


bper 01-04-2005 04:25 AM

Thanks for responding!

I'd like to stream to anyone - anywhere. I'm new to this technology, so any links, doc, info, etc. that you could point me to would be extremely helpful. Especially concerning bandwith, hardware, size of file, commercial software, open source software.

Thanks a lot.

MasterC 01-04-2005 04:56 AM

Hardware, not much really... You could go as drastic as you'd like, or keep it as simple as a beefed up Desktop.

As for streaming video to 'anyone anywhere' that's going to certainly be your hardest feat to decide on. Quality will fight for the front seat with size. There are some great codecs available, but making them universally playable will be hard to package together with the compression codecs. DiVX seems to have taken off quite well and I'd imagine it's on most computers by now.

Streaming a video though will require gobs and gobs of bandwidth. You are far better off, yet still require a lot of bandwidth, to have downloadable videos, not streaming. Nonetheless, it's your option.

As mentioned before:
Has a streaming solution. It's not pretty, but it's free and open source. There are Linux and Windows versions of the VLC which is actually the all in solution despite the name.
Should certainly be mentioned. It's the best I've found to convert/compress video to something decent enough to put on a CD, serve up on a website and play universally on most computers. It's not a streaming solution though.
Is something else to look at. Although it's not a streaming application by itself, there are *Plenty* of applications written to include it's use.

And as mentioned above:
It works great for streaming on LAN's, and with a little crunching of mencoder/mplayer yourself, you could create videos small enough to stream over the net to another MythTV user. Not a pretty solution, but a working one nonetheless.

The audio it seems you've got, icecast is probably the way to go.


bper 01-04-2005 07:47 AM

Thanks for responding!

Thanks for your input. I will explore these options and do some testing.

Have you heard of the Darwin Server? If I asked folks to download the QT player would that be so bad?

What are the minimal bandwith/system requirements that I should look to have?

You're a great help. Thanks again.

MasterC 01-05-2005 03:52 AM

No I haven't, but I'll be sure to look into it. I don't think asking people to download a specific player is asking too much, depending on the content you are providing and to whom you are providing it. But generally, I think the QT player is pretty universal. You've got basically 3 anyway, QT, Real, and WMP.

Minimum bandwidth is variable. A 256Kb up would certainly not be sufficient for actual (constant not on-demand) streaming of any quality video. However, if you compress it enough, you could probably get away with that little of bandwidth to a few people, with OK quality (heavily pixelated at standard full screen resolutions).

Let me see if I can give you a real life example:

A 30 minutes episode of the Simpson's consumes about 400MB of HD space using MP4 compression. To stream this in real time to a single client would require about a 220Kb connection (steady, not peaked) TO the client. On a LAN this is a very small amount of bandwidth, however, via a WAN, that's nearly maxing out a good amount of a good upload connection. So I guess figure out how many clients you plan to have connecting at a given time, and multiply it out as I did above.

System requirements would vary somewhat, but not nearly as much as bandwidth. A couple of fat hard-drives, probably in a RAID+LVM setup, to allow for growth and integrity. 2x200GB should be enough to start with. You'd certainly need a decent CPU if you were planning on compressing/converting the video, and if you are planning on doing it on-the-fly (converting it as it's requested). An Athlon XP 2200+ or more should suffice for a bit, but look towards the future, and possibly go dual CPU. 512MB of good high quality RAM would probably be a good enough start. 2 or more NICs to allow for load balancing might be a good idea. Cool it and box it as you see fit.

For distro's I'd say Debian or Gentoo, this is after all going to be a server, a multimedia server, but a server no less. Debian is very well supported, even with the bleeding edge needs of some of the multimedia server applications you'll be trying out. Gentoo is also very well at keeping ebuilds up to date and ready to go in this area. It's really a toss up, but I prefer Gentoo simply because I got into it while it was still a pup and have seen it grow, where Debian was a mamoth before my time.

Good luck!


MasterC 01-05-2005 04:11 AM

Whoa, that project looks quite interesting, I might have to give it a go to see how well it actually works, thanks for the info!


bper 01-05-2005 07:38 AM


If you don't mind, since I'll be exploring this also, maybe we can share info on what we discover?

MasterC 01-06-2005 02:11 AM

Certainly, I'll update this thread as I begin testing (early next week).


tobrien 06-10-2005 06:04 PM

Have You Tried Darwin??
I was searching threads to see if there was anything on the Darwin Streaming server. I noticed that you both were thinking about trying this.

I have some interest in this. I am still relatively new to Linux as a whole and wanted to know if the project was managable?

Also have you been successful at this?

My goal is to put up some home grown video on a web site for friends to access (low amounts of traffic).

I know we use Darwin at work and thought that I might as well try it at home.

If you wouldn't mind letting me know what you have done and how it turned out that would be awesome!!

Also I am wondering if I started off with the right file (I plan on trying it on an extra machine I have)

From Apples Darwin Site
Site of Download
Binary Releases:
Streaming Server 5.0.1

* Mac OS X, v10.2.8 and later (server and proxy)
* Red Hat Linux 9 (server and proxy)
* Solaris 9 (server and proxy)
* Windows 2000 Server/Windows 2003 Server (server)

Thanks in Advance,

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