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Streaming video on new G4 VG-series panels

I've been wanting to play with streaming video. The new Modero 1200VG, 1500VG and 1700VG touch panels support MPEG2 video streams. After talking with AMX and learning that they support MPEG2 transport streams I decided to play around with it a little bit. After much (very much) trial and error I finally came up with something that works and it actually works very well. Creating the video content was the hardest part. It can be a little tricky and frustrating until you figure out the recipe. I used the libraries from www.live.com and wrote a Windows wrapper program around it. It's not the most feature rich streaming server in the world but it does do a very good job and seems to work well with the touch panels. It's pretty cool because I learned by playing around that the touch panels will scale the video to fit the video button you create. And it does a decent job of scaling.

I am attaching the program I wrote as a zip file. There are two files in the zip: the actual, stand-alone program and a readme. The readme just explains what the options in the program actually do and how to use it.

Lesson learned #1: don't stream on a busy network. I first tried this on our office network and the video content, while fair, had a lot of dropped packets. Plus I had to reboot our router a couple times (it's a cheap one) and everyone wasn't too happy about that! When I moved the server to a local switch and off the office network the results improved dramatically. Very impressive. There are still a few bugs on the panel side (at least I think they are in the panel firmware) but after talking with AMX they said there are still a few lingering issues and a firmware release in the near future (June?) will make it work much better.
Lesson learned #2: the video file you stream must be a transport stream with MPEG2 video and MPEG1 layer 1,2,or 3 audio. This took me some time to figure out. The file I kept trying to stream (unsuccessfully) was a program stream. If you don't know the difference you might want to read up on streaming video and get familiar with it. There is quite a bit to learn but once you figure it out it's actually pretty easy. AMX marketing said there will be a white paper forthcoming on how to actually do all of this and how to create the content.

Feel free to give this a try. I thought I'd donate it to the community since I've "borrowed" ideas, modules, and other goodies off this forum and from others over the years.



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