Streaming Media, and File Sharing

Discussion in 'Android Hacks and Help' started by Kurtdroid, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. Kurtdroid

    Kurtdroid New Member

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    Hello, I was wondering if there is any way to remotely connect a Moto Droid to a computer.

    I have a Server (Windows XP Pro, not really a server but works for what I need) at my house that has all our Pictures, Music, Videos, and files on it for use through out my house. I was wondering if there is an App or some way for me to access them from my phone. I would really like to be able to stream Video and Music to my phone from my house for my kids and myself.

    I have looked through out the Forums, and I have downloaded a few apps, but haven't had any luck streaming over the 3G network. All the programs that I have tried, I have to be at home, and on my WiFi network. That defeats the purpose of being able to stream media to my Droid.

    I have a Server at home on a network (192.168.xxx.xxx) and that is behind a cable modem (24.xxx.xxx.xxx) I have been able to set up PrintShare, and successfully print things to my house from anywhere in the US. I have also been able to set up PAW server, and be able to control my Droid from anywhere. So I don't see why this is so hard.

    I am not that computer savvy, but I know my way around. I have tried to set up a VPN on my server, and I also tried UltraVNC. I could not get them to work with the Droid. I could be doing it wrong, I don't know. I also downloaded and used Gmote... But once again, have to be on my WiFi network... That doesn't help when I'm on the road.

    If there is any one that can help me out (I might need step by step instructions because I feel like an idiot), or if this is something that isn't in development yet, but people want it, let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

    Kurt.
     
  2. Kurtdroid

    Kurtdroid New Member

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    BTW... I have head that I can FTP into my server, and go from there. I have also heard that it's not the most secure way to do it.

    any thoughts?

    Thanks again.
    Kurt
     
  3. SwordOfWar

    SwordOfWar Member

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    There are different ways you can get this done.

    One thing you have to consider is do you want videos converted "on-the-fly/real time" on the pc before being streamed to the droid, or do you want to manually convert your media so all you need to do is stream it?

    If you want "on-the-fly" conversion (pc converts the file as it is accessed for streaming) you will need some special converting+streaming software on the computer.

    An example is something like TVersity. PS3 Media Server is a similar solution for streaming to a ps3 or xbox (if you have one, thought you might like to try it).

    If you already have the files converted to work on the droid, you just need access to them for streaming.

    You can install some type of server or file transfer software to get that done. You could use a FTP server if you want. I think Verizon blocks certain ports over 3g, so if you are having problems connecting via 3G, try setting your FTP server software to a different port number.

    There are some limitations and issues with getting this to work over 3G. I'll try to explain some of them.

    - Home networks generally have very low upload speeds. Your home network's upload speed will be the max download speed you can get through 3G on your phone, when streaming it from your home network's computer. So if you can only upload at 30KB/s at home, you won't be able to download any faster than 30KB/s on your phone via 3G.

    This is not a problem when you are streaming directly from devices on the same network (if your phone and computer is on the same wifi network).

    - If you have a dynamic ip (meaning your internet ip address changes when your modem resets, or after your old one expires) you will need a way to get a static address. If you don't do this, your ip is always going to change and you won't be able to connect to your server without knowing the current address.

    A (free) solution to this is to setup an account on No-IP - Dynamic DNS, Static DNS for Your Dynamic IP and download their updater program on the pc that has your media server. This will allow the updater to update your ip address to a domain name like MyServerForDroid.no-ip.org instead of typing in your address. It can take up to a day or so for the no-ip.org domain to start working, so don't be alarmed if it doesn't work right away.

    You need to also understand that your computer has 2 different IP addresses. One is your "internal/local" address. This is the address you will need to use when your at home to connect to your server. The other address is your "external/WAN/internet" ip address, which is the address people see you as when your on the internet (or when you need to stream using 3G).

    To get your external address you can visit a site like showmyip.com - geospoofing your cyber presence or similar. Once you visit such a site, it will display your address somewhere on the page, and that is what you need to input on your phone to connect to the server over 3G (remember you can also just use the no-ip.org name if you created one).

    If you are testing your server from the same computer that the server is installed on, you will just use 127.0.0.1 as the ip. This only works on the same pc as the server is installed on though.

    But to be honest, high quality videos are going to be extremely slow unless you have a pretty darn good upload connection at home.

    So unless you have a really good upload connection, its a lot easier (and less hassle) to just transfer the files to your SDCard for on-demand viewing.

    Now if you reduce the quality, you can probably get some decent streaming, but it won't look really clear like high quality youtube videos and such.

    So, its very possible to do what you want, but due to upload limitations it may not be as great as you hoped via 3G (or from the internet, period).

    As far as security goes, if it is something private like videos of your kids or something you really want to stay private at all costs, I don't recommend streaming that kind of stuff. I haven't used FTP that much, but if memory serves right, I think FTP servers transmit passwords in clear text, meaning if someone sniffed (captured) your traffic over the air, they could determine your password. Cell tower encryption helps prevent this though. I would not use an important password (such as one used for your online baking) as your FTP password, just to be safe.

    But if you are just worried about someone sucking up all the connection for your videos, I doubt that would ever be an issue even if it didn't have a password at all. The chances someone will want to access your media versus just downloading it form the internet (and at higher speeds) is rare.

    So to recap everything, setup a no-ip.org name and get some converting/streaming combination software like TVersity (or other similar alternatives) and you should be able to do what you want.

    EDIT: One other thing is that if you use software to convert a video as you stream it, you need a decent computer that can convert videos decently, as converting media uses a lot of CPU resources. This won't work very well on a slower computer.

    Hopefully this has answered some of your questions and some methods you can use to get media from your house to your Droid, over the internet.
     
    #3 SwordOfWar, Jan 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  4. 640k

    640k Silver Member

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    VLC has the ability to host and stream media content on a wide arrange of computers. You can setup Windows Media Server to do the same, although i've never been very successful at it.

    If you have shares on a network, you can browse them over WiFi with EStrong's File Manager.
     
  5. Kurtdroid

    Kurtdroid New Member

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    Thank you very much for the incite everyone. I guess this is going to be a little more involved then I thought it would be.

    Like I said before, I was able to set up "Printshare", and "PAW server" on my Droid, and the Server that I have at my house, which work flawlessly. I thought there was some software that lets me just stream files over the 3G to my phone. My kids are young and I was hoping to stream the cartoons that we record from our DVR to the phone when we are in the car and what-not. I was also thinking that it would be nice to stream audio from my server to the phone when I'm out and about working outside. I wouldn't mind putting the files on my phone, but with a large library of DVR and audio content that I have, I would be transferring files every week, and using up a lot of the Memory on the SD card.

    I'll defiantly look into FTP like you said SwordOfWar, I hope that it will work out to where I could at least look at the files on my server. as far as converting on the fly, I have a P4 Dual core 2.4ghz so I think it should be ok.

    As for VLC 640k, I have read posts about that program, and I have even seen a thread about people wanting this on the Droid. Although it seems that it isn't available yet. I hope that some time in the future it will be available.

    Once again thank you for your help.
     
  6. SwordOfWar

    SwordOfWar Member

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    Most conversion software like TVersity and Orb will automatically work with files as they are added in the folder it is set to look for the files in.

    Obviously the format your DVR uses probably won't work with your DROID, so you will certainly need to convert it first. If you want to automate the process, you need to find a way to automatically move the DVR files to your computer (such as a video folder, where TVersity can scan and automatically add it to the stream list).

    You could also find a way to let the PC see your DVR's hard drive, and do the same thing, if that is possible with your DVR.

    I don't recommend manually converting your media because like you said, that just adds more work to do. It seems much easier to use some software that automatically does the converting and streaming in one program (such as the ones I listed earlier, which I believe are free).

    Audio probably wouldn't be a big issue to put on your card, but videos will certainly take a large amount of space if you want more than a handful of movies.
     
  7. Kurtdroid

    Kurtdroid New Member

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    The DVR is a HTPC (Home Theatre PC) That I built. As the DVR records, it sends it to the server (1.5TB hdd) and puts it into a DVR folder. I am also in the process of taking all of our DVD's and converting them to files on the server (I haven't been able to decide how I want to do that), so I have folders set up, I guess I could just make a "Convert" folder and this should work.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. SwordOfWar

    SwordOfWar Member

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    When you use one of the mentioned streaming/converting programs, it should ask where your media is located, just select the folder where your DVR files are and you should be good to go then.

    And no problem man, glad to help out. Let us know if you run into any problems on your little streaming adventure :)
     
  9. kamileon

    kamileon Member

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    ORB is a good idea...in theory. But after installing the app on my Droid and streaming a video already converted for the Droid the quality of the video was horrible.
     
  10. SwordOfWar

    SwordOfWar Member

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    Maybe you can adjust the conversion settings? Also, you can expect lower quality if you already start with a file that is lower quality. In other words, let it convert from the high quality DVR files. Don't manually convert them and then let the software convert it again on-the-fly because its going to get downgraded even worse that way.

    But there should be some settings on the bitrates, format etc on how it does the conversion. Tweaking these settings should give you better output, at the expense of slower transfer (higher quality = longer to download/stream).
     
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