Saturday, May 19, 2007

Placeshifting Over the Internet for BeyondTV is Here

I along with other BTV users have been testing a new user-modified version of the BeyondTV webadmin being developed by ccarlin - a Snapstream forum member who has done some great customizations with webadmin. The latest feature he is working on is Placeshifting content over the internet. Placeshifting is basically watching or listening to recorded or stored media on a remote device via the internet or over a data network.

ccarlins latest development for BTV Webadmin is to streaming recorded shows from Beyond TV over the internet by transcoding the video via VLC on the BTV server PC and streaming that transcoded (smaller) video over the internet onto the webadmin page. This is for recorded shows only and isn't configurable, but could be a great, new feature for BeyondTV users. I use Orb occasionally, but it is very CPU intensive and can cause problems on your BTV server PC so this would be a good alternative. Kudos to ccarlin for his work on this.

For now this alpha version works in Mozilla Firefox only (EDIT: it is now working with internet explorer also) and you must forward port 8120 on your router. To adjust the video quality of the streamed content, you need to go to BTV's webadmin and then select Settings-Advanced-StreamingServerSettings and adjust the settings from the various presets available there. I have mine set to Cable/DSL-Medium and it works well within my home network using wifi. Your experience may differ based on the CPU of your BTV server PC and your internet/network connection.

If you want to test his alpha of the new webadmin, go to this snapstream forum thread for the download and the latest instructions. I'm pretty excited about this new functionality to replace the need for Orb or even Slingbox someday.

Note: You will need to enable access to BTV webadmin from outside your home network. Here's how to access BTV across the web.

Future improvements I can think of include:
  • Compatibility with Internet Explorer (for those that use it) (EDIT: now working with Internet Explorer)
  • Streaming of LiveTV
  • Auto-detect connection speed and recommend a proper transcoding/streaming quality
  • A simple mobile-friendly webpage of the webadmin so you could stream easily to your mobile device.

If you try this out and have success, be sure and report back to ccarlin and also be sure to thank him for all of the work he has done on the webadmin. He continues to make a great Webadmin (created and continually improved by the guys at Snapstream) even better. I should note that you can still placeshift across the internet using BTV if you have a software-encoding tuner card (here's a post on how to do that), but most of us use hardware-encoding cards.