Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Posted by Ed Hansberry in "ARTICLE" @ 07:00 AM
Pocket PC Thoughts would like to give a big Thanks! to Leon for putting this together and selecting us to publish it. Here you go!
Watching TV on your Pocket PC
I have always wanted to be able to watch the 8 o’clock news on my iPAQ while sitting in the garden, so I was intrigued by the post of That_Kid in Andy’s What to do with wirelessly connected Pocket PCs @ home. That_Kid basically described he was streaming everything everywhere using, among other things, Windows Media Encoder and Windows Media Server. I remembered having seen Windows Media Encoder on Windowsmedia.com so I thought it was time to learn in what way WME and WMS could benefit me.<!>
I decided to have a read at various documents on MSDN which is always a good start when checking out Microsoft technology (See the MSDN library, then from the menu Graphics and Multimedia | Audio and Video | Technical Articles).
In the end I decided to start with Windows Media Encoder (about 4 MB), so I downloaded, installed and started it. As I would soon find out, it was the only program I would need. Wow! I can’t remember having been up and running so quickly ever before (using rather advanced technology) - in no time I was watching TV streaming from my desktop PC to my wireless iPAQ. Interested? OK, here’s how:
The things that you need:
•A wired or wireless network. Here I will take a wireless Pocket PC as a client.
•Something you want to stream, e.g. your TV card (sound and video). You could also stream sound only, e.g. from your favorite MP3 player. In this example I will use my TV card.
•Windows Media Encoder
First, start your TV application on your desktop PC. Then open Windows Media Encoder. As soon as you start WME, a Session Wizard pops up:
(For me, selecting the TV card driver itself didn’t work - the TV image would freeze and there would be no sound. So I selected Screen Capture)
Choose Configure. You will see a drop down list with all currently running programs. Select your TV application and click OK.
Remember the URL that is given here. You will need it later to connect to the stream. Don’t change the port unless you have a good reason to. Click Next
Select a streaming profile. There are several available and you probably will have to experiment a little, depending on your network bandwidth, preferred screen size, number of frames per second and percentage of CPU usage you are willing to sacrifice. Although MSDN says WM8 is not optimized and not recommended for streaming using Pocket PCs, I actually got terrific results with the selection shown in the picture below. I can watch a soccer game on my iPAQ and, not unimportantly, even see where the ball is.
Note: you can also click "Edit" to fine-tune your selection.
Click Next. Actually, you can click Finish here but the first time you may want to fill in the Display Information.
Click Finish if you haven’t done so before.
That’s it. Now, open Windows Media Player on your wireless Pocket PC or another PC on your network. Select Tools | Open URL on the Pocket PC or File | Open URL on a PC and enter the URL you remembered from earlier on.
Tap OK and enjoy!
Remember: you can stream any window. That includes your webcam (video) or your favorite web radio (audio). Tip: there are web radios out there that have a special HTML interface with ActiveX or Java enabled Play buttons that won’t work on a Pocket PC. Using this setup you can start that radio on your desktop PC and then stream it once more to your Pocket PC.
If you connect a digital video camera, for example through a firewire cable, XP will recognize it immediately and you will be able to stream the video image directly choosing Capture audio or video from attached devices or computer screen in the Session Wizard.
You can even open port 8080 on your firewall and watch TV from e.g. your PC at work using the IP address you got from your ISP instead of that internal (192.168.x.y) IP address. The possibilities are endless. You can’t change channels remotely but you could use Terminal Services or Windows XP’s Remote functions for that. But that goes beyond the scope of this story…
Conclusion: Windows Media Encoder is all you need to add an extra dimension to your Pocket PC. It’s a free download and no Windows Media Server required! You will need to experiment a little with the various options to get the best results but when that’s done you can save your settings for future use. Likewise, you can save your streaming URL as a Favorite (Tools | Add Web Favorite) in Windows Media Player, so you don’t have to type in that URL all the time.
Note: sometimes, after changing the streaming profiles, you'll hear sound on your Pocket PC but there will be no image, or nothing will happen at all. Don’t think immediately that you tried a useless setting. Let WMP try to reconnect, rather than just tapping the Play button and it will probably work.