Streaming over the network

Sunday, May 15th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

For a while I have been occasionally trying out UPNP media servers so I can play videos from my Linux server directly on my television. This is to avoid the WDTV Live that annoyingly doesn’t allow you to skip/jump forward/backward.

I haven’t actually tried that many, but today I think I have found one I like: PS3 Media Server.

This is a UPNP media server written in Java, originally for the PS3, but since then extended to work as a generic UPNP media server. It works quite well with my television, crucially allowing me to skip forward and backward through the video. I can even hold down the button to skip at larger increments. Yay!

But that was the good news.

As with everything there is a downside. While the player worked fine streaming .avi files, at first I couldn’t play an .mkv as it wanted to transcode it before streaming it over the network. At first I thought I had surpassed that issue by installing the mencoder package, until I discovered that the act of transcoding the video messed up the ability to skip forward or backward. It would skip, but it would take over a minute to resume playback. Not good.

Because I knew the television could play .mkv files from USB storage, on a hunch I renamed one of them to .avi to see if that would trick PS3 Media Server into not transcoding and if the television would play it. Success.

However, I am not prepared to permanently rename all .mkv files to .avi. I wonder, is there anything that can mount a filesystem, but let me translate filenames on the fly… there are FUSE modules for perl…

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One Response to “Streaming over the network”

  1. My recommendation is just fork out for a Mac mini to hang off the TV. You’ll never have to worry about wheher this or that will play, skip fast forward etc.

    I’ve had one on our TV for about three years now. It has a USB twin tuner as well so is in charge or TV’s movies, catchup TV online, music whatever and it all just works.

    Wes - June 25th, 2011 at 11:22 pm