My iPhone video streaming experience (HINT: it's bad)

So I have a test video file. It’s a 273MB video file. The video is 21 minutes long an .mpg (MPEG 2) file, 480x480 resolution (yeah, thats how it was given to me). The video is sitting on the HDD of the TVersity server. I am accessing it via a Windows laptop over the local network, or my iPhone, both via WiFi.

So I try to view it first via IE on a windows box on my local network.

  • When I set to NEVER transcode the video freezes up every few seconds and starts back up (IOW, stuttering video)
  • When I set to transcode as needed, I seem to get better results. The video is ready to stream pretty much immediately, even though it has to be transcoded.
  • If I simply access the video via the SMB share (completely leaving TVersity out of it) using VLC, I can stream the video and playback is smooth and w/o problem (same w/ my old Xbox running XBMC)

When I try to view it from my iphone, it starts by transcoding the file. It converts it from I guess MPEG2 to MPEG4. What was a 273MB, 480x480 file is now a 443MB 320x480 file. So it’s almost twice the size now, and it takes about 6 seconds to transcode 1MB of video. IOW it took ~45 minutes to transcode a 21 minute video.

MPEG2 => MPEG4
480x480 => 320x480
273MB => 443MB
21 minute file => 45 minutes to transcode

And after all that, guess what I get? You guessed it, the play icon with the circle around it and line through it. The No Play icon. I’m SO SO GLAD I waited 45 minutes for that!

Yes, I tried the suggested solutions here (freeing up space, clearing out temp, etc.) No help.

TVersity streams audio (at least single files - I haven’t tried multiples or playlists) just fine.

Pre-converting all of my video to MPEG4 isn’t something that I really want to do. I simply don’t have the time nor desire to do so right now. I was really hoping that this would work and be reasonable for video as well as audio. Anyone know if ORB or Simplify Media work better? I really don’t like the idea of signing up for and using a 3rd party intermediary site such as Orb’s MyCast and Simplify Media’s site, but that may be the only option at this point.

It seems like TVersity has been having these problems for years now and they seem to remain largely unaddressed. I see posts dating back close to 2 years mentioning adding a simple status bar for the iPhone transcoding status. That still is vaporware. It doesn’t leave me at all confident that these video issues will ever get resolved, unfortunately.

If anyone has real solutions (other than pre-converting my video files, I’m open. If anyone has opinions on Orb or Simplify Media, I’m interested. If anyone knows of any other way to stream media to the iPhone from a home server (Windows or Linux server apps) I’d love to hear about it (most streaming apps like ampache and Jinzora download to you an m3u file which the iPhone can’t properly deal with).

Thanks,

Brain21

I have used Orb, and although it plays videos instantly, the quality is terrible compared to TVersity (think low quality YouTube video). Also you have to pay for the Orb app, which is another down-side.

Your pretty negative considering you didn’t pay a damn thing for the software.

Nobody can stream video to iPhone instantaneously unless they install a dedicated app on it. TVersity streams to the iPhone browser and the built in video player (i.e. no app) and these cannot take on the fly video transcode and play it, they require the entire video. Therefore you have to wait till the video is complete. When it is complete, refresh the page and the video will play.

I agree that a progress bar is needed and it has been absent for too long, no excuse just lack of enough time and resources.

Regarding instantaneous playback of transcoded media and live media, while we could build an iPhone app like some have done, we prefer to wait for iPhone 3.0 in which streaming to the iPhone video player will become possible without an app. At that point we plan to support it, so the iPhone UI will be improved this year to benefit from 3.0 and it will fix many of the issues people are complaining about.

Sounds sweet. Can’t wait.

Buy a faster PC, it’ll encode quicker…TVersity is free.

Even the fastest computers will take at least several minutes to encode most videos. To me, at least, there is a big difference between having to wait 3 seconds for a stream to start playing, and having to plan ahead by 5-15 minutes on when to start watching a video.

That’s all you can do to ensure instant playback. Theres no one to blame for this, thats how all reencoding/transcoding has been since the beginning of digitally captured pictures. Also, it doesn’t take much time at all to convert large # of videos all at once with 3rd party apps, you drag and drop them in, and select an output folder, I don’t get how it’s so time consuming or difficult for you. I’ve converted over 300+ episodes of tv series, movies etc all sitting on my 500gb hdd, streaming to my 8gb ipod touch and couldn’t be happier. Set it to reencode overnight and have 60 episodes done when you wake up. Orb sucks, big time, it uses your external network to stream the files so if you have cable (comcast or others that limit bandwidth) don’t plan on watching tons of videos.

That’s all you can do to ensure instant playback. Theres no one to blame for this, thats how all reencoding/transcoding has been since the beginning of digitally captured pictures. Also, it doesn’t take much time at all to convert large # of videos all at once with 3rd party apps, you drag and drop them in, and select an output folder, I don’t get how it’s so time consuming or difficult for you. I’ve converted over 300+ episodes of tv series, movies etc all sitting on my 500gb hdd, streaming to my 8gb ipod touch and couldn’t be happier. Set it to reencode overnight and have 60 episodes done when you wake up. Orb sucks, big time, it uses your external network to stream the files so if you have cable (comcast or others that limit bandwidth) don’t plan on watching tons of videos.[/quote]

Yeah, but why can Orb start streaming a non-MP4 video to the iPhone almost instantly and TVersity can’t?

That’s all you can do to ensure instant playback. Theres no one to blame for this, thats how all reencoding/transcoding has been since the beginning of digitally captured pictures. Also, it doesn’t take much time at all to convert large # of videos all at once with 3rd party apps, you drag and drop them in, and select an output folder, I don’t get how it’s so time consuming or difficult for you. I’ve converted over 300+ episodes of tv series, movies etc all sitting on my 500gb hdd, streaming to my 8gb ipod touch and couldn’t be happier. Set it to reencode overnight and have 60 episodes done when you wake up. Orb sucks, big time, it uses your external network to stream the files so if you have cable (comcast or others that limit bandwidth) don’t plan on watching tons of videos.[/quote]

What program allows you to do that? Convert multiple files at once into separate files right?

Thanks

[quote="SI51"]
What program allows you to do that? Convert multiple files at once into separate files right?

Thanks[/quote]

http://www.any-video-converter.com/prod ... ideo_free/

Iaza

I’d like to expand on my earlier post.

Some of you in this forum have really good knowledge of what the problem is, beyond what I understand now.

We are very capable iphone developers.

We all have the same goal, we want to use transcoding features of tversity with our iphone’s and android devices.

It appears that this can be done only with a native application.

I think we should work together to solve this issue.

My feeling is tvesity could blow the current leaders airvideo and plugplayer out of the water if the transcoding issue can be solved, and I am wiling to offer our time and resources.

Streams is already a very capable application, it works over wifi and 3g although we don’t know if apple will approve 3g. endorsing a free media server with transcoding capabilities would make it even more capable.

I was under the impression it should .

But I tried everything. There seems to be no way to send a request to tversity, and get a video stream back before the transaction times out.

If anyone has a suggestion why and a solution let me know. Streams is technically almost ready for submission, we are adding additional features, we need to clean up the jetty based java bridge that is our backend , We would dearly love to employ somekind of transcodeing, our approach is significantly different then plugplayer and airVideo. We do not feel there is a good upnp library for the iphone, and even if there was we do not want to be limited to running only on the local subnet.

If someone has a solution that we can incorporate into either our backend or the native app quickly we would be more than happy to listen.

Right now we are planning to include tversity in our list of tested servers but only for iphone supported files/
Tversity is free and that is its main feature.

The tested media servers are

elgato eyeconnect
TwonkyVision
Tversity

We are also not beyond writing our own transcoding server, or adding somekind of buffering to our bridge which is acting a a upnp control point, exxcept the iphone talks to the bridge via dns-sd (bonjouir) which talks to the server using dlna commands , then sends output via http.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Apple-Ta ... 9746.shtml include any new info?...

Something I’ve been wondering:

Why is Tversity not able to transcode media on the fly to the iPhone? It can stream mpeg-4 compressed content to all other devices…why not the iPhone?

There are a few DLNA/UPnP clients for the iPhone available already:

iMediasuite (works with TVersity, pictures display OK, mp3 works but videos do not work ["format not supported"])
MediaLinkPlayer (current version does not work with Tversity, requires DLNA certification. New version should be out later this autumn)

Any idea why TVersity does not transcode videos on the fly for the iPhone? It does work with the browser but it’s rather annoying to wait for the transcoding process to finish. But AFAIK transcoding should work on the fly as it does for the PS3.

Any thoughts?

I was really hoping to make this work, and I haven’t lost all hope just yet. But experience so far has not been stellar.

  1. Most of the mp4, m4v, mov content sometimes played and sometimes didn’t play with the browser interface.
  2. Transcodeing never seemed to work and hung the server at time.
  3. Using A native app and accessing the files through dlna , with mp4, m4v, mov Tversity performed at least as well as some of the other media servers tested, Of the group tvsity was the only free ones the other two ranged in price from a low of 20.00 to a high of 50.00 .
    Tvsity also proved to be completely dlna complient and our upnp client had no problem finding and parsing the cdContentDirectory structure. This is definitely a plus.

One caveat that the other servers did not seem to have, is that when the physical media library (on a networked device) was removed tvsity still displayed the directory structure as though it was still present. This could be a problem.

  1. Again transcodeing was hopeless
    Accessing the url either through a uiwebView or the nedia player framework ,started the streaming but timedout before reaching the transcodeing phase.

We tired acessing the server asyncronously hopeing that once enough data was recieved in the buffer it would trigger a didRecieveData message, unfortunately this delegate was hit as soon as we submitted the link.

It appears there is also no way to access transcodeing via a native dlna client application.

Again as a possible server for playing iphone complient content tversity is decent, However it falls very short for on the fly transcodeing.

I just ues leawo iphone converter, and choose the right output profile.
http://www.leawo.com/video-converter/free-iphoneconverter.html

I get great help my the following guide:

Convert TiVo/MKV/VOB/AVI to Top 5 Android Phones - Video to Android Phone Converter