If you want to read this in German go here Note that my edits to the english text below are not included in the german translation !
If you own a iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and also use a Dreambox, Dbox2 or any other receiver running Enigma or Neutrino then "Air Video" is a must have.
If you don't own a Dreambox or Dbox look here if you want to stream IPTV, DVDs and a lot more. It describes the VLC extensions to my Air Video Mod.
What is it?
Air Video can stream videos to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Besides the app you must run the free of charge server for Windows or Mac. That is very nice for playing your recorded videos. But I'm sure you will like my Air Video server mod even more. I've modified latest Air Video server so that it enables you to select and play live video streams from your set top boxes (e.g. Dreambox or Dbox). A TV channel can be selected from a channel list (a list with channel logo thumbnails). Air Video server then sends a zap (channel change) command to the set top box and the stream can be played on the iPhone using live conversion. This works perfect and you can view your favorite TV channels live and in good quality wherever I am via wifi and 3G. Years ago I developed the PMP VLC player for the Sony PSP which is quite similar to Air Video and when I found Air Video I knew it is the killer app for the iPhone and iPod Touch
First install Air Video on your iPhone or iPod Touch, then install the latest server on your Windows PC or on your Mac. Details can be found on the official Air Video site http://www.inmethod.com
Links to older versions can be found in the support forum here:
To install my mod perform following steps:
- download and unpack my Air Video modpack from the attachment (10MB)
- replace the ffmpeg program by the one in my modpack. On your PC replace ffmpeg.exe in the directory where you installed the Air Video server (e.g. C:\Program Files\AirVideoServer). On a Mac replace ffmpeg in directory "/Applications/Air Video Server Beta9.app/Contents/Resources/" and make sure ffmpeg has execute permissions
- copy channels.ini to your PC in the directory where you installed the Air Video server (e.g. C:\Program Files\AirVideoServer) and if you use a Mac copy it to the root directory (in "/";)
- copy the LiveTV directory to your PC and add it to the shared folders in Air Video server. This directory contains the channel logo thumbnails (these are in fact 1 second duration mpeg4 files). Included are about 50 German Astra 19.2 channels
- edit channels.ini and replace the IP address 192.168.1.96 by the IP of your Dreambox or Dbox2
- (for client versions before v2.1.3): add a preset "LiveTV" in the Air Video client on the iPhone: width 480, height 272, quality e.g 70% (the quality heavily determines the average bitrate and for Internet access (3G or wifi) it should not be more than your upload speed! Via 3G I have good results when quality is set to 50%. Experiment with it and look up in the server log what actual bitrates you achieve
- (for client v2.1.3 and later): click conversion settings and then click Global Conversion Settings. The live TV stream quality depends only on the Max. Resolution settings and Quality for Offline Conversion slider. I recommend to keep the Max. Resolution settings on Automatic and only use the Quality for Offline Conversion slider to set stream quality.
- if you installed everything correctly and the server is running you can start Air Video on your iPhone, add the server and open the LiveTV - German TV folder. Select a channel from the thumnail list and press "Play with Live Conversion" and then press play from "The Beginning". If after 6-7 seconds you see a warning message press "Continue". In total after pressing "Play with Live Conversion" it takes about 25 sec before you see the picture.
- streaming sd channels works perfect for most of the sd (standard definition) channels. Some channels do not correctly multiplex the elementary streams into a ts stream and won't play, CNBC Europe is an example. Unfortunately the Ffmpeg encoder can not correctly demux hd channels and therefore hd channels only play a few seconds.
- if you stream from a Dbox2 you must first switch off "Playback" and "Sectionsd". You can do that in the Control menu via the dbox yWeb interface.
- you can get a near perfect picture quality if you select the highest quality preset in Conversion Settings.
- IMPORTANT: to ensure uninterrupted streaming make sure your set top box and the PC running Air Video Server are connected to your wlan router by ethernet cable. If you connect them by wifi or powerlink there is a high probability the stream stops playing after a few seconds.
On the server the file called channels.ini must be added with 3 lines for each channel: thumbnail movie filename, zap url, stream url. The zap url is sent to the set top box once the user starts live playback and the stream url is the stream which is being transcoded by Air Video server.
Here is a snippet:
On a Dreambox you can easily find the number part (e.g. 1:0:1:6f6a:42c:1:c00000:0:0:0: ) in the User Bouquet files, e.g. userbouquet.dbe02.tv
For use with a Dbox2 with yWeb web interface the lines look like:
The zap link can directly be found on the yWeb web interface. The stream link of the channel currently playing can be found by opening http://192.168.1.92/control/exec?Y_Live&url in your browser, the result is [url=http://192.168.1.92:31339/0,0x002c,0x00a3,0x0068]http://192.168.1.92:31339/0,0x002c,0x00a3,0x0068[/url] if RTL is currently played.
You also need the thumbnail mpeg4 which must be created with an aspect ratio corresponding to the stream. The channel logos can be found here:
Windows users can use two batch files logo.bat and logowide.bat which can create the thumbnail videos in 4:3 and 16:9 respectively.
Download a channel logo from lyngsat and resize the canvas to 176 x 99 (from 133 x 99) if you want to produce a 16:9 thumbnail.
Rename it to z1.jpg and then run logo or logowide with the channelname as parameter (e.g. logowide 048-CNBC-Europe.mp4). Note: Make sure there are no blanks or tabs in the filename !!!
What to do if it doesn't work
EDIT: if your device is on iOS5 the stream will stop after a few seconds! This problem will hopefully be solved by Inmethod soon. On iOS4 everything works just fine.
You can perform following debugging steps:
- first try to get the original Airvideo to work. Once that works shutdown the Airvideo server and apply the mode (replace ffmpeg and add channels.ini)
- to check if zap link is okay open the link in a browser and see if your receiver or settop box zapped correctly
- to check if stream url is okay, zap to the channel and open stream url in VLC. If you the channel playing in VLC you're okay
- to check if air video server and ffmpeg are okay, check the log window in the air video server application. Thing to look for are the first line which should say how many channels were read from channels.ini and the ffmpeg section (below long list of configuration settings)
- make sure your server has at least a Core Duo cpu and sufficient ram. The so called "3-seconds problem" is usually caused by a too slow cpu
UPDATE: lokutus2000 released "Bouquet Editor Suite" which can automatically create thumbnails and the channels.ini file. You can find his tool here. The versions 1.07 and later support bith enigma1 and enigma2 channellists !!
UPDATE: If the URLs are password protected you can include them by formatting the URLs like this http://youruser:firstname.lastname@example.org/path/
If you need any odd letters in your user name or password, you should enter them URL encoded, as %XX where XX is a two-digit hexadecimal number.
You can also easily add live streams from capture boards, webcams, surveillance cams and many other set top boxes. Just add the URLs to channels.ini If you only have a stream URL, you should add a dummy zap URL. Your mileage may vary. Please post your results and feedback in this thread.
Major props to InMethod, makers of Air Video. It is the best app for iPhone and iPad.
I have a couple of ideas for a new version of my Air Video modpack,
- add selection of audio track (easy)
- support streaming of HD channels (hard, requires use of VLC instead of ffmpeg)
- support streaming of DVDs (hard, requires use of VLC instead of ffmpeg)
- support dvb subtitles (hard)
- Attached are ffmpeg versions which you should use with Air Video Server 2.2.5-beta2 and later. The ffmpeg in the original modpack is for server versions until 2.2.5-beta1
- Personally I use client version 2.1.0 on iPhone and 2.2.5-beta2 on server (I use bot Mac and Windows in parallel)
- Support for linux added, the attached ffmpeg runs fine on my ubuntu 9.10 box (32-bit)
- For configuration details see here
- Put ffmpeg and channels.ini in same directory as "AirVideoServerLinux.jar"
- Tip: for making sure correct version of Java is installed do a "sudo apt-get install eclipse"
- mfgeg wrote a nice tutorial for linux users here
Look here if you want to stream IPTV, DVDs and a lot more. It describes the VLC extensions to my Air Video Mod. If you don't own a satellite receiver like a Dreambox this can save your day
New ffmpeg mods attached for latest Air Video 2.4.5-beta6 (windows, mac and linux)