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Thread: Streaming Video to Android with DropBox

  1. dvdcatalyst
    dvdcatalyst's Avatar

    Lightbulb Streaming Video to Android with DropBox

    A couple of months ago, I released a free "MP4 Streaming Server" application because a couple of people asking for an easy way to stream their videos to their Droid. Originally designed for use at home, many people are interested in streaming their video collection when they are on the go.

    Yesterday, tallnerd1985 wrote a guide on how to accomplish this with Picasa here:


    but there is another way that was brought to my attention, DropBox.

    DropBox is an online service that provides you web-access to a folder on your computer. Whenever you add files to this folder, a small client application syncs the files to the website, enabling you to access the content by simply logging into the website with your username and password.

    You can access the documents, songs and video files you put on there, as long as the device you use to access them has support for those formats build-in.

    Here is how to set it up:

    Step 1: Visit the DropBox website to create an account and download the client application

    Dropbox - Home - Online backup, file sync and sharing made easy.

    Step 2: After downloading and installing the client application you have to add video files to the DropBox folder (by default this is called “My Dropbox” and is located in your My Documents folder)

    For test/sample files, visit our Movie Trailer thread:


    (rightclick on one or more of the MP4 links, then select "Save as.." to download the file.)

    Step 3: The DropBox program will upload the files you added to the folder to the website. This can take a while, depending on your upload speed.

    Step 4: Once all the files are uploaded, you can visit the DropBox website on your Android Phone using the web browser, log in using the account information you provided, and start watching your videos.

    Just like with Picasa (or most other free online services) there are some limitations. DropBox does not have a maximum size-limit, however, your free service comes with only 2GB of space. While you can extend this for free to 8GB by "inviting" other people (1/4th of a GB per invite) using a special link, if you encode your movies at the highest quality, you can still only fit 5-6 movies on it, so you might want to use a lower quality setting for your online videos. Using a lower quality setting will also result in better playback experience in general, now with 3G losing it's consistency.

    In the Picasa thread I posted some information about quality:

    Quote Originally Posted by dvdcatalyst View Post

    For streaming, I would suggest that besides a lower bitrate, to lower the screen resolution as well though. Encoding a file with a width of 800 at 400Kbps will not look as good as a file encoded with a width of 480 at 400Kbps, even when the lower-resolution video gets scaled upwards on the Droid.

    I uploaded a trailer converted twice to give you an idea.

    800x432 @ 400Kbps

    480x256 @ 400Kbps

    (Files are streamable, so visit the links on your Droid for best results, otherwise, rightclick on the link and select "Save as" to download)

    While not an exact rule, but it works pretty good.

    with h264 video format, if you go for low-bitrate files, use a screen width of about the same as the bitrate for a good quality.

    Very important: Your video files need to have a streaming flag enabled, otherwise the files will download completely to your Android device before it starts playing the video.

    This setting is officially called "Quicktime FastStart" and is unfortunately not available in all video conversion tools.

    DVD Catalyst Free for Droid enables this flag automatically,

    In DVD Catalyst 3, you can enable this setting in Global Settings > Conversion (enable the "Enable streaming.." checkmark)

    Otherwise, you can enable this setting on your existing files with our free MP4 Streaming Server application. Just add your existing files to the program, select them, and tap on the orange "lightning bolt" button)

    While your files are protected by your username and password, if you rather not use an online service for your video files, you can use programs like




    MP4 Streaming Server
    How to stream movies to your phone for free | Tools4Movies, the official home of DVD Catalyst
  2. Droid
    ShadowDroid's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Galaxy Nexus
    Well I have a question in which I might start my own thread for but since I used DVD Catalyst I thought I might ask here first.....how do you change the way Gallery on Droid X organizes your video files because I have two movies in which it appears via dates not titles?
  3. dvdcatalyst
    dvdcatalyst's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDroid View Post
    Well I have a question in which I might start my own thread for but since I used DVD Catalyst I thought I might ask here first.....how do you change the way Gallery on Droid X organizes your video files because I have two movies in which it appears via dates not titles?
    Hi Shadow,

    Gallery is quite limited in that it does not display file-names for anything. It uses thumbnails.
    Unfortunately, unlike Apple devices, it does not use an "Album Art" image, it creates its own screenshot from the video between the 5 - 20 second mark of a video, random. With the recently released DVD Catalyst Free for Droid, I implemented a work-around for this by having an option to burn-in the filename into the video (like subtitles), which works, however, when you watch the video, it will of course have this filename in the video for 15 seconds, which can be annoying.

    Sample: http://www.tools4movies.com/Droid/Piranha3D.mp4

    (If you rightclick on the file and select save as, and copy it to your Droid, it should display the filename in Gallery. If you click on the link directly, you will see the burned in filename at the beginning.)

    Unfortunately, to display names in Gallery, there is no other solution to accomplish this. I spent a long time trying to pinpoint the time-spot used for the thumbnail, and even on the same video, it changed, which is why the title is displayed for 15 seconds.

    Most people just use a different video player such as Act1, which does display the filenames, or use a filemanager like Astro to browse the files manually, and then play them from there.


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