alanwilliamson

VideoLAN ... bringing couples together remotely

Let me say right from the start that VideoLAN is a seriously cool piece of technology. For those of you unfamiliar with VideoLAN, its a cross platform multimedia player, that not only plays nearly every format under the sun, but also streams content.

For example, I have VideoLAN installed on my Linux Fedora desktop here, playing a DVD and at the same time, streaming it using UDP multicast to my network here, where by my wife is happily listening in on the stream with no visible reduction in quality using Windows XP. All using free, open source software. There are so many features that come with VideoLAN out of the box that I simply couldn't do it justice in just one blog entry. The ease at which you can stream is just a matter of clicking a checkbox when you load up the file to play it. It also listens to ShoutCast streams, which can then be rebroadcast to your internal network. So instead of everyone using up bandwidth listening to the same radio station, stream it in once and then republish it internally. A thing of beauty.

One thing I will note though, installing it on Fedora wasn't easy, infact I thought I was going to end up in dependency hell until I discovered http://rpm.livna.org/ site, that offers additions for the yum utility to find all the necessary packages that sit outside of the official Fedora distribution. You need to make a couple of additions to your /etc/yum.conf file, which is just a simple cut and paste from the following pages:

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Extras/UsingExtras
http://rpm.livna.org/configuration.html

After doing this, yum sprung into action, downloading and installing all the dependencies with no errors. It works beautifully, including playing DVD's without having to worry about the region. Very nice touch.

The only thing that is stopping me from ditching WinAMP completely is VideoLAN's relatively poor playlist feature, but I suspect that's just a matter of time before that comes to the standard that I have now come to expect from this great piece of engineering.

 

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