HQ Streaming With Picasa

Discussion in 'Android Audio and Video' started by tallnerd1985, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. tallnerd1985
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    tallnerd1985 New Member

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    Before I begin, I would like to thank Oliver84 for finding this awesome technique for streaming high quality movies without using a program like Orb or Tversity.

    Hello everyone,

    I am here to show you step by step on how to use Google's Picasa media storage services to stream HQ movies straight to your phone so that way you can save space on your phone. Now this technique can used by multiple users at once so if you have co-workers or family members that you want to share your movies with, this is the guide for you.

    Here Are Some Things You Will Need:

    1: Gmail Account (Either your personal one or create a new one if you plan to share your movies with others)

    2: Picasa Uploader 3.6 (Used for uploading your movie files to your Picasa account)

    3: Movie Converter Program (DVDcatalyst is my personal favorite and the easiest or some other good ones are Handbrake, meGUI or DIVX Converter that will work for this as well)

    4: 3D Gallery (If you dont have a Google Experience device like the Motorola Droid, then you will need to google "Android 3D Gallery APK" and install it via the guides it gives you for devices like the Incredible, X or any non Google Experience devices)

    Optional:Quicktime may be needed in order for Picasa to recognize certain file types.

    How This Works

    Picasa is Google's service that has been around for years. Its primary function is a place to store all your photos. Now recently they have made it so that you can upload home movies that you've taken with your digital camcorder for safekeeping. When you upload your movies thru Picasa Uploader, it converts the movie file to .FLV just like the same format that Youtube uses. The cool thing is during the encoding part, it keeps the same resolution and bitrate that you used when you encoded the movie. Now, the trick to this all is that the new native 3D Gallery program that comes with the Google Experience phones(Android phones that dont have a custom UI but stock look kind of like the Motorola Droid phone) with 2.1 OS or higher has the ability to stream those movies directly from your Picasa account to your phone.

    Encoding Movies For Optimal Streaming

    There are multiple guides on how to do this that I will list below but one thing you want to take into consideration is the Bitrate. Bitrate is kind of like the quality of video, if it is set too high, the video is cleaner but the file is huge but on the other hand, if it is set lower, the video might be pixilated but the file is a lot smaller. The trick is finding a good balance between Bitrate and filesize because Picasa does have a storage limit and also bigger movie files take longer to stream to your phone thru Gallery. My favorite Bitrate for streaming is 400 but you can experiment with your own depending how big your Picasa account is and your wallet.

    Here are two different guides to re-encode your movies, either one works for this technique but the DVDcatalyst is the easier way to go.

    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-faq/14858-how-convert-videos-use-droid.html

    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-audio-video/35019-streaming-hi-quality-video-android-tversity-nswplayer.html

    Uploading Your Movie Using Picasa Uploader 3.6

    I am not going to tell you how to setup Picasa but you need to direct it to your folder for where all your newly encoded movies are being stored at. Now you might run into a error if you encoded your movies using the guides above where the movies dont show up. To fix this, you must have Quicktime installed in order for Picasa to recognize these movie files that were encoded using their CODEC. After installing Quicktime, you must reboot your PC and once rebooted, in Picasa Uploader, go to Tools> Options> File Type and check off .mov as available files for Picasa to view.

    After setting up your folders in Picasa, go ahead and link Picasa Uploader to your either your personal gmail account or the community gmail account that you plan on using. From there, right-click on the movie file and select upload to Picasa Web Albums and it will put it into a queue to upload to Picasa. From here, either go smoke a pack of cigarettes or drink a 6-pack because it takes a few for it to upload to Picasa and when it gets there, it takes a couple hours for Google to re-encode the movie into an .FLV file for mobile playback. It will show up in Gallery but if you try to play the movie and it says something like "This Movie File Cannot Be Played" then it means that Google hasnt finished converting it yet.


    Playback Thru 3D Gallery

    After you are done uploading your movies to Picasa and waiting for Google to re-encode the movies, if you have added your Gmail account properly thru Accounts under settings incase its your primary account or secondary if you plan on sharing with others, then when you open Gallery, the movies you have uploaded should show up now. Depending on if you are using 3G or Wi-Fi and how big the movie files are, then it can take some time to start streaming. It takes anywhere from 10 secs to 1 minute to start streaming on 3G whereas on Wi-Fi, it only takes 2-5 secs to start.

    If the movies dont show up, trying taking a picture and uploading it to your Picasa account. Sometimes it requires you to do so in order to establish a link from Picasa to your phone.

    Anywho, thats about it. Let me know if you have any feedback or questions regarding this method of video streaming.
  2. dvdcatalyst
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    dvdcatalyst Guest

    Thank you for the great guide tallnerd1985,

    I'll have to play with it yet to see what I like better. I played with DropBox a few days ago myself to accomplish something similar.

    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
    http://www.tools4movies.com/Droid/800w.400Kbps.mp4

    480x256 @ 400Kbps

    http://www.tools4movies.com/Droid/480w.400Kbps.mp4
    (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.
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