Geek Project: Flash Video Streaming!

If you have ever looked into adding flash video streaming to your own web site, you know that it can be an expensive proposition! Streaming Video Server software can run as high as $1000.00 per server! I figured that there HAD to be a cheaper, or Open Source, solution. Surely SOMEBODY had come up with a way. Well, they did. It is called PHP Flash Streaming. PHP, of course, is a server side scripting language that is free (Open Source) and works well with either Apache, or Internet Information Server. PHP Streaming is great, and, best of all, it is FREE! I like free, it is in my price range.

For an actual example of PHP Video Streaming of my Spirit of Faith Netcast, click HERE. Notice, when you do, that you can click on the Flash Player’s “time line” at the bottom of the player at any point, and the video will “pick up” at that point immediately. Very cool!

So, how does it work? Well, the “trick” is that there is a tool that can inject metadata into the FLV flash video file that works like a “time mark” for video frames within the file. Then, the PHP code “dribbles out” the video while “keeping up” with the location of the frame “markers” in the file as it does. Neat, huh? So, what you have to do is download the free flvmdi tool to “tag” your FLV file with these internal metatags… that is available here:

http://www.buraks.com/flvmdi/

Also, there is a GUI for this package as well (flvmdi is a command line tool for Windows.) The GUI for flvmdi is available at the same web site as above.

Just download and follow the instructions for encoding! Here’s a shot of my settings in the GUI:

flvmdi gui

Then, set up your web page. Download the “PHPstreamer.zip” Zip file of the code, available here:

http://www.dircaster.org/PHPstreamer.zip

Then, read the ReadMe.1st file, and look at my “netcast.html” code for an example for your site. (You can change the HTML to your taste, as I did.) Just be sure that all the accompanying “support files” are in the same directory as the “netcast.html” file. Obviously, the more bandwidth that you can throw at your web site is good! Good luck with that!

Thanks to the FlashComGuru for his article:

http://www.flashcomguru.com/index.cfm/2005/11/2/Streaming-flv-video-via-PHP-take-two

So, look over the examples, read the “ReadMe.1st” files in a text editor, and happy Flash Video Streaming!

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