As I have mentioned before here, I have set up a TVU Channel (#60752) Commons.TV. The concept of TVU is simple enough, I share video content off of a server and the TVU application, which you install on your Windows box, then negotiates a peer to peer connection with all other people watching the same stream. I only have to put out one stream but may people can watch the stream. This is sort of the Mbone dream without the intelligence built into the network. In this case the intelligence is in the peer client, or better stated, the edge of the network.
Sounds sort of simple, right? Well, TVU streams need transcoding into Windows formats. As I have come to figure out over the last 8 years or so, when you are doing any transcoding (changing one video format to another), “simple” rarely enters the picture especially when you have to transcode video “X” into Microsoft proprietary video formats.
Welcome to the brain drain.
So what amounts to 2 steps, which I will lay out in a moment, took me about 4 weeks to come upon. I tried every possible way to use VLC to do on the fly transcoding, as mentioned in the TVU forums, but this did not work. Don’t get me wrong, VLC is an amazing program, jut not in this application.
That leaves me with pre-transcoding. TVU demands WMV for video, WMA for audio (though mp3 works fine) in an ASF format which was more illusive and proved to be a pain to get to. Again VLC could almost do it, but the video became too crunchy and the audio would turn to inaudible mush on some transcodes. I needed something that would work harder on the videos to optimize the quality.
Here is where this is all going…
Step one: use ErightSoft’s “Super” to transcode. This absolute gem can accept anything as long as you have the codecs to play it and encode it. It adeptly re-sized my video, changed frame rate, reencoded the audio to a lower bitrate as cleanly as possible. And I am using some really crappy bitrates. 128 kbs WMV (320×240, Media 8) for the video and 32 kbs mono (mp3) for the audio. The program can put out the ASF format – which is all perfectly compatible with the TVU server application.
Step 2: R-solve Software’s “AsfBin” to combine. This program does a fantastic job of combining many video streams together. The streams have to be EXACTLY alike, but, once you use “Super” to do the transcode, this step can give you the ability to string together many files.
Load up AsfBin’s output into TVU’s streaming server and off you go.