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You'll need a video player. Once you've got one, open this URL:


WARNING: My ADSL connection will probably only support one viewer at once - I offer no guarantees regarding video quality!

How This Thing Works:

Lately, I have experimented with static image webcams and have had some good results. In this age of the moving image though, does anyone want to look at a frozen image? No. Thus, I've added an experimental MMS video stream which you can access at mms:// with Windows Media Player, MPlayer and probably quite a few others. Warning: sometimes the video stream gets glitchy; this is a fault with IVTV and I am hoping that they will fix it. (Simple workaround: ivtvctl -K 1 ; ivtvctl -K 0 - i.e. switch the video passthrough on and off)

Images are captured from two wireless remote cameras using a WinTV PVR-350 TV card and the IVTV driver and are encoded and served by VLC. The wireless camera receiver switches channels every five seconds. I am hoping to replace the wireless cameras with some permanently-wired ones, as the wireless cams make it impossible for me to use Wi-Fi.

The camera runs whenever Spatula - one of my many computers - is up and if I have remembered to start VLC.

Variations in picture quality might occur when I am messing with the driver parameters, and occasionally I might plug the video input into something other than the camera (my Amiga 500, for example). At present the image quality is not very good because of interference on the wireless camera channel (it runs on the overcrowded 2400 MHz ISM band - also used by cordless telephones, wireless data links and microwave ovens). The stability of the IVTV driver is also not so good, with the driver occasionally grinding to a halt and refusing to produce any more images.

The original version of the system used MPlayer to open the IVTV, get one frame and write it to PNG or JPG, then repeating that every few seconds. This is quite an inelegant way to do things as the IVTV is opened and closed a lot, causing it to get annoyed and eventually stop producing frames. Version 2 of the system runs MPlayer in the background with it reading commands in 'slave mode', where it reads from a pipe. Every few seconds, the webcam scripts send it a 'screenshot 0' command, taking a picture and outputting it to a file named 'shotNNNN.png', where 'NNNN' is typically the number of frames taken since MPlayer was started. I haven't yet figured out a way to get the screenshot file from MPlayer, although it writes it to stdout, so that should be a clue, eh? This is all irrelevant now, since I'm doing video streaming.

The current system just does something like:

vlc pvr:// --sout
   dst=std{access=mmsh,mux=asfh,dst=:12345}}" -v --noaudio
(thanks to Telscom)

You may email me at brooknet (at) imap (dot) cc.

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