Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Using Quicktime Broadcaster to stream live video across your home network




This video is quite self explanatory, but here are a few additional comments to consider if you want to try it out:

All the required software is free (see below for links). Both Quicktime Player and VLC Movie Player work equally well in playing the live streams.

Probably the most common mistake when trying to setup a live video connection is not correctly configuring the ‘network’ tab within Quicktime Broadcaster. For the ‘manual unicast’ option you must input the IP address of the computer that you want the data stream sent to (NOT the address of the computer that is sending the data). Note that if you have a home network, this IP address is likely NOT the ip address that shows up if you go to those ‘what’s my UP address’ websites. Those websites only see the IP address of whatever device is connecting your home network to the internet (probably your Cable or DSL modem). The address you need is the local address on your home network, which probably is in the format of 192.168.X.X .

To find your local IP address on a Windows machine, open up a command prompt (from the accessories menu) and enter the command “ipconfig” at the prompt. On a Mac, you can find your IP address under the ‘Network’ panel within system preferences… it’s generally listed there on the main screen where it will say something like “Airport is currently active and has the IP address X.X.X.X.”

Apart from that, it should be quire straightforward to get up and running. You can play around with compression algorithims (but H.264 is almost always the best) and the bandwidth used for transmission (1000 kbps is good enough for most medium quality streams).

Finally, you’ll notice that the video that plays on the receiving computer is not ‘live’ but perhaps 4-5 seconds delayed. This is totally normal and is a common effect seen on all digital video streams, including the video on your digital TV. There are a number of factors contributing to this delay including the time required for the raw video to be compressed / encoded and then the data buffer on the receiving computer used to ensure smooth playback.

That’s it… so give it a go and see what you can use it for.

Software links:
Quicktime Broadcaster: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/broadcaster/
Quicktime Player: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
VLC Movie Player: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

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One Comment on “Using Quicktime Broadcaster to stream live video across your home network”

  1. jacob

    Hi i saw your video on Quicktime Broadcaster to stream live video across your home network. I was wondering if their is a way to broadcast on a website so whoever logs on can view it thanks

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