Live Streaming Media for Free

February 2, 2012 0 comments

We tell you about freely available tools to do live streaming of video for free

Imagine a situation where a CEO sitting at the corporate office in Delhi wants to break a news about a recent acquisition to different branch offices located across India. How do you make this happen efficiently and with minimum cost? One solution could be trying your hands with proprietary software like MS Media Server or Adobe Media server. Here, we introduce two free of cost solutions that need minimum setup time.

www.ustream.tv -live streaming for free

There are umpteen sites that allow you to broadcast your event live. One very handy tool we found is ‘ustream’ which allows you to stream live for free without any hassle. To use it, just go to above mentioned URL, register, create a channel and go live. To see live broadcast again, go to the same URL and search for channel (PCQuest, in our case) and you can see live audio and video. The media server being hosted somewhere else, the number of viewers to this stream can be in hundreds. Besides,this website also provides stream recording feature, whereby you can record stream for future broadcast. If you don’t have any issue with advertisement that would surround your stream you are better off with free version, otherwise you can go pro.

Red5 Open Source Streaming Server

Red5 provides video streaming and multi-user solution to the Adobe Flash Player. It is based on Java and includes support for the latest multi-user APIs including NetConnection, NetStream and SharedObject while providing a powerful RTMP / Servlet implementation. In addition to support for the RTMP protocol, the application server has an embedded Tomcat Servlet container for JEE Web applications. Application development is further benefitted from the Spring Framework and Scope based event driven services. By using the Open Source Red5 Media Server, you can develop a open and extensible platform that can be used in video conferences, multi-user gaming and enterprise application software. With Red5, you can stream audio/video (FLV and MP3), recording client streams (FLV only), and stream live (live h264 supported).


Installation

If your requirement is to have in house setup of media streaming server, then www.ustream.tv might not suite you. Instead for going for proprietary software that would cost you a lot, simply visit http://www.red5.org/ and download this open source media server. We would recommend you to download final version (0.9.1 Final) as latest version (1.0 RC1) is still having some issues. To be specific, we were not able to start Red5 service post installation on a Windows 7 machine. Size of download is around 32 MBs. We installed this package on Windows 7 Ultimate machine (64-bit), with 2 GB of RAM. One pre-requisite of Red5 is that you should have Java and Adobe Flash installed on your machines. Both these software can be downloaded from http://www.java.com/en/ and http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ respectively. Once you have hardware along with necessary packages ready, simply double click on ‘setup-Red5-0.9.1.exe’ file and start installation. Installation procedure would need only two interventions from you; first is IP address of the machine you are going to use as media server and the other is the port number which is 5080 by default. If you are installing Red 5 for test purpose on local machine then put ‘127.0.0.1’ in IP address field, otherwise give static IP address of machine. Once you have installed Red 5, you need to start Red5 service. Simply type ‘services.msc’ in Windows, then search and start the same.

Usage

To use Red5, you either have to create application of your own or there are some sample applications present in installation. If you want to develop application, there is Red5 plug for JEE distribution of Eclipse (version 3.x and later). This plug in can be downloaded from Red5 website. But there are few great applications bundled along with Red5, just visit IP address of Red5 (192.168.5.102:5080) and click on ‘Install’ link. From this page, select application you want to use and click on Install button. Once applications are installed, go back to home page of your Red5 server and click on ‘Demo’ link. Here, there are list of applications available to you from where you can use installed application. In our setup, we used ‘OFLA Demo’ and ‘Publication’ to show you strength of this media server. To show Red5 in action, simply go to ‘OFLA Demo’ and put ‘rtmp://192.168.5.102/oflaDemo’ in bar above and then click on ‘Connect’. The number ‘5’ would change to green meaning successful connection. From the sample list of files available, start playing any one by clicking on it. This would start streaming video. To view streamed video, we would use ‘Publication’ application. Visit Red5 Server > demo>View demo, click on the ‘View tab’ and then put ‘rtmp://192.168.5.102/oflaDemo’ in location. Click on Connect button; once connected, put name of stream as ‘avatar’ and click on Play. Besides watching streamed video, you can also stream web cam feed using this application. Simply click on Publish tab and put appropriate settings in video and audio tab. Once you have done this, give a name to stream and click on Publish button.

To view this feed, go back to View tab and put name of feed. Anyone sitting in network can publish or view video streams using this application.

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