Streaming video (if that is the phrase I want)

  Christopher Lewis 17:08 19 Apr 2005
Locked

Hi
I'm a newbie as far this technology goes, so I hope I've got the right language. I have a camera in a bird box, and software that monitors it and creates JPEG stills, and .AVI movies. I plan to build a simple website, with links to these files so people can look at them.

Is there a simple way I can show the output from the camera live, as it happens? Am I right in thinking this is called 'streaming video'? There seem to be sites where I can download some software and so get the video hosted. Are these sites any good, trustworthy etc? I'd like a family friendly site if possible. Any suggestions?

Or are there better ways?

I have Windows XP Home and a broadband cable connection.

Hoping for some advice
Christopher

  number21online 18:31 21 Apr 2005

First of all, I like your idea. Have a look at other sites to see what they have done, some use Java others Windows media or Real players the choice is yours, click here animals page has a good selection of this type of site. I chose to use Windows media on my site but as I say the choice is yours but here is how I did it.

Go to microsoft.com and download free Windows Media Encoder 9 Series. This is the software that will allow you to stream from your webcam to your web page at a suitable bit rate, it is fairly self explanatory and easy to use. I stream at 25 kb/s which is not too demanding, suitable for my requirements (my webcam is submerged in my garden pond) and probably suitable for the bird box but you can always increase the bit rate. Note that this software automatically detects your IP address for you to cut and paste onto your embedded Windows mediaplayer on your web page. Next go back to microsoft.com and type in the search box - html code embed media player - this should give you a page with the correct coding to embed mediaplayer onto your webpage. You can alter the player to show or not show controls, autostart, window size etc.

There are limitations of course, a limited number of viewers can connect to your web site at any one time but on the other hand they can stay connected for as long as you are streaming. Viewers connect to the stream directly from your computer rather than the server but I have had no complaints from my ISP about using this method to stream my webcam.

I hope this has been of some help, no doubt there will be the usual mob shouting rubbish and giving a hundred reasons for doing it another way. Suffice to say that my underwater pondcam has been streaming eight hours a day for a year with no problems. When you do get it up and running register your webcam on webcam sites as it does bring in the visitors.

  Christopher Lewis 16:10 22 Apr 2005

An underwater webcam - cool! What is the URL?

  number21online 16:36 22 Apr 2005

Oops! sorry, it's not that cool the fish seem to know when the camera is streaming and of course hide, but they are usually there at feeding time in the afternoon. click here click on webcam at the top of the page and allow plenty time for the streaming to start usually between 20 seconds to a minute, its the same for all streaming cams they always take a few moments to load the buffer.

  Christopher Lewis 17:21 22 Apr 2005

The fish must know! A couple swam into view almost as soon as the video stream started, rapidly followed by the feeding ring.
The technical section was interesting as I also want to put a camera near the birdfeeders. I've been thinking about a tupperware & clingfilm solution to the weather proofing solution, but modifiying a garden light could be a better way! So if you see someone wandering around the DIY shops carrying a webcam, you'll know why!

Thanks
Christopher

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