Any Air Video alternative that streams 576p?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by nightfly13, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    #1
    If you're wondering, 576p is the 16:9 ratio that the iPad is capable of (1024x576). It's not really HD, but it's significantly better than DVD (58% higher res.).

    I like Air Video, and it works wonderfully on my iPhones, and even on the iPad for SD content, but on occasion I want to stream HD content (720p MKVs) and I can really tell the difference. I know my network (G/N) can handle the bandwidth with ease, and I'd guess my Mac Pro can handle the 'on the fly' conversion.

    I was mid-way through watching a 720p rip of the NBA finals and needed to be elsewhere in the house to supervise my kids, so I decided to just stream it with Air Video. It was watchable, but it seems very choppy/blurry, as in basketball a lot of the screen information is changing with great regularity and it's constantly zooming/panning. I'm sure converting a file to 720p and copying it over would yield better results, playing natively, but I'm hopeful for some other option.

    I know Air Video kindly made their app 'universal' so it plays on big and small iP* devices, but I do wish the iPad had better resolution support. Any idea if that's coming?
     
  2. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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  3. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

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    #3
  4. hazmatzak macrumors regular

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    #4
    More commonly, 576p is simply progressive SD-resolution PAL, 720x576. Kinda like NTSC's 480p, which is 720x480. (Neither use square pixels.) So your new usage, while technically valid, can be confusing.

    As to your question: if you have both the network bandwidth and CPU horsepower (why "guess" if you can check?) to do live converts of 720p, and the iPad can clearly play high-quality 720p (even while streaming -- ABC and Netflix look pretty good), then any quality issues are due to the app doing the conversion, or the way the receiver app is handling the incoming stream. Perhaps some hiccup is making the apparent bandwidth seem lower, and the converter app is throttling the bitrate down to match. Unfortunately I cannot suggest any alternatives.
     
  5. citi macrumors 65816

    citi

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    #5
    Side topic, how did you stream video from your TV/DVR to Air Video?
     
  6. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    #6
    You can't. The only option would be to run a PC/Mac-based DVR and try to send that 'live-ish' feed to air video, as the file is being created. No idea if this'd work.
     
  7. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    #7
    Sorry if I confused you with the discussion of 576p. My usage is quite common in home theatre forums (especially 2-3 years ago when XGA projectors were often used for HT) but you're right, the PAL SD resolution is the most common usage.

    I honestly don't know how I'd 'check' that my Mac Pro can do the live 576p transcoding if there's no software existing to attempt it, but based on processor use doing the 640x480 or whatever the highest setting is on Air Video, that's not a bottleneck.

    Seems for now, if I want high quality video, I need to use visualhub (using the slightly overkill Apple TV 720p setting) and otherwise just be content with mediocre streaming resolution for 'unplanned' video watching.
     
  8. zafar9999 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 8, 2010
    #8
    Use Plex Media Server on your Mac Pro and purchase the Plex App on your iPhone/iPad. It will transcode and stream 720p to your iPad (and iPhone 4) and it works superbly.
     
  9. thedoctor9 macrumors member

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    Apr 13, 2010
    #9
    try zumocast. streams music as well and it's free!
     
  10. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #10
    Air Video is more than capable of streaming 720p (or less) flawlessly over a Wifi network.

    There are circumstances where it's not great. I tried streaming a movie from my server in England, to my iPad in Florida - where it was connected to a big TV.

    The results were less than perfect.

    But in your case you should see flawless playback.
    Some questions:

    Is the file in MP4? Can you just play it - or are you doing live conversion?
    Is the machine serving the file on Wifi?
    Is your network 5Ghz 802.11n?

    C.
     
  11. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    #11
    Hmm the reason I said I can't stream higher bitrates (like 576p) because the highest side of the setting slider used to only show SD maximum resolution - but checking the 'Global Settings' again now I see that it can do 1024x768, so I'll give it a try right now.

    To answer your other questions, most of my source files are 720p MKVs, the host machine is connected over gigE to an airport extreme - but it's not the dual band variant, so if 'G' devices are on the network it dumbs the whole wireless down to G. That being said, I haven't tried since I updated the software...

    and now it works. Not lusciously (there's a good bit of macroblocking in the backgroun) but definitely better than before. Hard to quantify but there's a lot more compression noise than the original file on my Mac Pro, but it's quite a bit more watchable than before.

    Incidentally my Mac Pro is an old one, 2.66ghz 2x dual-core Xeons (first gen) with 9GB ram. Without streaming (but plenty of stuff going on) my 4 cores average 10-12% (menumeters) and while doing live conversion they're running average 70% across all 4.

    Finally, I have to admit my embarassment that I've never gotten PLEX to work well in OS X (or any other OS, but I haven't tried) and while I know it's supposed to be great and (unlike my beloved VLC) uses more than 1 core, the interface is so clunky for me (I want to use just a mouse and keyboard) so I haven't been using it. Somehow there's an issue where I have some frame dropping on my 4th display (a 720p projector) so I need to investigate that, but I don't think it's a processor constraint.

    Thanks guys for resurrecting this thread, lo and behold Air Video is better than in June and thanks for helping me realize that!
     
  12. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #12
    If you want flawless performance.
    1) Transcode the video to MP4 - Airvideo will play it without the need for conversion. But your Mac Pro is the same as mine. So it should be plenty fast enough to do conversion on the fly.
    2) Run ethernet cable between your Mac Pro server and the Airport base station. This will double the amount of data you can send. 802.11G is a bit slow for HD video.

    or

    3) Go to 802.11n - which should be fast enough over wireless.


    Cheers

    C.
     
  13. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

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    #13
    In fact gigE (gigabit ethernet) is well over 2x faster than wireless. It's more like 20x faster than the rated (and theoretical) 54mbps of 'G' wifi. And I often get speeds faster than 1000mbits (like 20% faster) in purely wired transfers.

    I'm pretty happy with the performance of Air Video for the time being.
     
  14. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #14
    You mis-understood me.

    I am saying that if the server has a wired connection to the WiFi base station - then this will double the speed that wireless clients will get their data. It reduces the number of WiFI "hops".


    [Server] ) ) ) [Base Station] ) ) ) [Client]

    Gets half the speed of:

    [Server]<--eth--->[Base Station] ) ) ) [Client]



    C.
     
  15. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #15
    ^^ the OP mentioned the MP was connected to the AE via a cable. And that's not technically correct. Wireless bandwidth is shared. If one device is using 10mbps, then there is only 44 left on 802.11g. If air video is streaming at 1.5mbps (doesn't go much higher than that), then the AE only has 52.5mbps left over for any other connection.

    It could very be your network, apparently Air Video is outperforming the current first version Plex Media Server. I've got a vastly slower machine (2.33 C2D) and it can live stream a 1080p mkv without a problem to my iPhone 4 on 802.11g.

    Does it stutter on other types of video?
     
  16. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #16
    I missed that.

    802.11g is quoted as 54mb - Which means 27mb in one direction. (Or 3 megabytes per second in optimal conditions). Best I have seen in real life is 2.5MB/s. But a lot of wireless networks only deliver a fraction of this.

    The greater bandwidth of 802.11n certainly makes streaming HD video a lot more reliable.

    C.
     
  17. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #17
    I don't see anywhere where it says that the 54mbit is split evenly between up and downloads, but the typical throughput is about 25mbit. Plenty of headroom for anything Air Video can throw out.
     
  18. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #18
    The quoted 54 megabits refers to total bi-directional throughput. You only get half of that in one direction.

    In theory 802.11g should be plenty fast enough for any HD stream.
    In practice you get some dropped frames in less than ideal circumstances.

    C.
     
  19. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #19
    Ah, I see where I misread now, cheers.

    You will get dropped frames in high quality HD streams, however Air Video is capped at 2560kbps, which seems pretty low actually. Maybe there is a dead spot around the house?
     

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