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How to Get AirVideo Features in Android for Free


AirVideo makes it possible for iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch users to stream any video format on their devices. If you’re an Android user, then you are in luck, because you can get AirVideo’s features for free with VLC-Share.

In today’s tutorial, we will start off by giving you an instruction on how to install VLC-Share, followed by configuring firewall and port forwarding, and we complete the tutorial with a walk through of VLC-Share features.

Wallpaper available from our Naruto Customization set.

Installing VLC-Share

To start off, grab a copy of VLC-Share and install the required packages

sudo apt-get install apache2 libapache2-mod-php5 php5 zend-framework zend-framework-bin vlc php5-sqlite php5-cli vlc

Install the FFMPEG, and the extra codecs for VLC.

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg; sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-52 libavcodec-unstripped-52

Enable the apache’s mod_rewrite

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Open the Zend framework config file : “/etc/php5/apache2/conf.d/zend-framework.ini”, and remove the semicolon from this line: “include_path=${include_path}:/usr/share/php/libzend-framework-php”

Open the Apache’s default site configuration “sudo gedit /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default”, and search for this line:

<Directory /var/www/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride None
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all
</Directory>

Change that line into:

<Directory /var/www/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride All
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all
</Directory>

Unpack vlc-shares package inside the /var/www/ directory, and change permissions and owner for vlc-shares directory:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/vlc-shares;sudo chmod a+rwx -R /var/www/vlc-shares/data

Once you are done configuring the apache, restart the server.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Open your browser and you should be able to VLC-Share’s dashboard. Make sure to check VLC-Share Linux installation instruction – or Windows, if you are running Windows – for any updates on the installation process.

image

You should not need to change any of the configurations, except for the Android streaming option. Open the configuration page, by clicking the “VLCShares Configure” button. You should ensure that the WiiMC Support is enabled, and go back to the home page.

Wiimc_configuration

Open the WiimcPlxRenderer configuration page and turn on the force rendering, and fancy templates, but not the “Show Raw” option.

image

That’s all the configurations that you should need to do. Up next, we’ll show you how to change your network settings so that you can stream your movies not only through WiFi, but also from the Internet.

Firewall and Port Forwarding

We install Firestarter to add extra security on our Linux box. If you’re a Firestarter user like us, add your Android phone IP address to it’s inbound policy rule.

firestarted

If you’re using windows, make sure to turn on your network discovery. Head to the control panel and open the “Network and Sharing Center” menu.

Go to the advanced settings.

And turn on the network discovery option.

Now, if you want to connect to VLC-Share remotely, you need to add a port forwarding rule in your router. A port forwarding means that you are opening up a port on your router firewall so that outsiders can connect to your VLC-Share server.

Different routers have their own administration page. Our router is a DLink model number: DSL-2730B, and this is what it looks like:

image

You need to know your computer IP address, and VLC-Share port – by default its port 80.

image

All the computers on your internal network have an IP address which looks something like 192.168.0.XXX.  Linux network tool will tell you your IP address.

image

If you are using windows, type ipconfig in the command prompt, and Windows will give you your IP Configuration. Take note of your IPv4 address, you’ll need this information for setting up your port forwarding.

image

Head to YouGetSignal.com, and click the check button to test that your port forwarding works.

yougetsignal

Port 80 should be open, if not, review your firewall configuration one more time.

Streaming from Android

So far we’ve learned how to install VLC-Share, configure your home network for local and remote video streaming, and now we’ll look into how to stream your movies from Android.

VLC-Share take care most of the heavy-duty work for us. All you need to do is make sure that you have a good video player in your Android. We recommend VPlayer, because it works best with vlc-share in our HTC Desire HD Phone, but if you prefer a cheaper alternative, you can install mVideo Player or Rock Player – both work reasonably well with VLC-share.

Open VLC-Share dashboard from your Android web browser by typing your computer IP address, followed by the full path to VLC-Share’s home page. For example, our VLC-Share server IP address is 192.168.1.2,  so the URL to access the dashboard is http://192.168.1.2/vlc-share/public/

Hit the browse button, and VLC-Share gives you options to watch movies from your hard drive, mega video, and some really cool anime channels on the net.

image

VLC-Share pulls each anime episode, and organize them for in an easy to navigate folder-like structure.

image

Setting Up a Shared Folder

When we’re not watching anime, we use VLC-Share to watch movie on our file server. Click the share new folder to add videos for VLC-Share.

Specify the full path to your videos directory.

image

Once you have shared your folders, head back to the dashboard in your android phone. Tap the shared folder button, and you should be able to stream videos from your computer.

image

The files and folders are arranged as per what you will see from your computer.

image

Tap the file name, and you’ll be able to choose a suitable transcode profile and mode to watch your movie, but don’t worry VLC-Share automatically detects the best transcoding profile for the movie that you want to watch.

image

Now plug in your earphone, sit back, and enjoy your movies anytime, anywhere.

Feel free to share your experience with VLC-Share in the comments section with the other fellow readers.

Zainul spends his time trying to make technology more productive, whether it’s Microsoft Office applications, or learning to use web applications to save time.

  • Published 02/21/11

Comments (33)

  1. eleazar

    One of the most useful articles ever posted on this site! :) I have been dying to have AirVideo features on my Android phone ever since I switched from an iPhone last year.

    Quick and important question…Can I secure the share? Maybe I skipped over the part that covered this, but as it stands now, anyone with my IP address can now stream any video file I have shared, right?

    This will be the perfect streaming solution if I can get the security worked out. :) Even just simple password protection would be fine with me.

    Thanks for the article!

  2. Ximarx

    I’m the developer of VLCShares. Can I add a link to this tutorial in the vlc-shares’s wiki?

  3. md

    I guess the simplest thing to do would be to move the server from port 80 to one, only you know. Somewhere up in the 25000-30000 zone :]

  4. eleazar

    @md
    Yeah, that is a good idea. I guess I’m just paranoid. At least I’m not sharing directories containing tax documents or anything. ;)

    @Ximarx
    Thanks for this great app! This is going to be extremely convenient once I get it working properly. :)

    Has anyone gotten this working properly on a Samsung Galaxy S phone? (I have the Fascinate). Mine opens the video player but never actually loads (it just quits back to the browser after 30 seconds of “loading”). I provided the path to VLC.exe, ffmpeg and MediaInfo CLI.

    Also, how do we get the sweet skin you show in the first screenshot? (here: http://www.howtogeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/image69.png) That looks amazing. :D

  5. aleksy

    I did all steps but I haven’t any graphic in my browser
    only text link.
    Anybody know about this?

  6. Michael Vail

    I love howtogeek.com. I’ve been struggling with how to stream video with subtitles over the internet and lan. This does it perfectly and very configurable. Thank you very much!

  7. Josh Minear

    I’m using osx. I’m stuck on step one, installing the packages. Any help?

  8. j

    I also only have text in my android browser. also, the configuration did not look exactly like in the tutorial. i used 0.5.3 beta.

  9. aleksy

    I also have problem with sound.
    I hear something like noise

    Ubuntu 10.10 amd64

  10. Alvin B.

    Grr, I saw this had HTTP streaming and set it up for THAT purpose (for my ChromeOS CR48) only to find out it’s a raw HTTP stream with no client provided.. DAMMIT!

  11. Ximarx

    VlcShares 0.5.1 and later provides a special gui for android devices, so it’s better to set “Forced rendering” in “Wiimc Support” plugin to “No”. Doing this you will see the gui just like in picture 69.

    @aleksy: you can tweak the transcoding profile used by vlc inside the Profile plugin. Unfortunately i haven’t yet an android device for testing, so everything that I’ve done it’s just a bit “theorical”. For archive a better audio/video experience you have to change the profile used.

  12. Zainul Franciscus

    @ximarx thank you for answering our readers’ question; We really appreaciate it, and we will be really happy if you want to link our tutorial in your Wiki page.

    Best Wishes

  13. Ximarx

    @eleazar Auth and ACL aren’t supported by vlc-shares because i originally developed it
    for WiiMC and is a bit a problem to create an authorization procedure for
    WiiMC (lacks of SESSION, COOKIES… etc). If you want to secure your shares, you can tweak your apache configs
    and add an HTTP authorization to all vlc-shares’s location. For now it’s the best you can do. I don’t know in the future

  14. Conti

    Thanks for the step by step. Works.. but all the video i streamed , theres a 1-2 seconds delay on the audio/sound.

    And, typing the ip address will connect remotely, how to connect locally?

    Help please

  15. Ximarx

    @Conti
    typing the WAN ip address you will connect remotely, typing LAN ip address you will connect locally (if you are in the same LAN)
    VLC takes care of the transcoding. You should ask vlc’s team. Only thing i can tell you is that the transcoding process is heavy, so desynch, glitches can happens if your server hardware haven’t enough power for it. Switching to a lighter profile it can reduce or solve the problem. VLCShares provides two profiles for Android phones: the first one (HQ) converts video into H264/AAC, the second one (LQ) into mp4v/AAC. Convert videos into H264 should be harder than into H263, but I’m not sure of this. I’m not a guru. This is the best I can do without a device.

    If someone can find better encoding profiles for android phones i will add them inside new version of vlc-shares. (For example, the HQ profile was made by a Galaxy S user: http://www.wiimc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=562&start=110#p3684 )

  16. Peter

    Can this setup work streaming to your laptop anywhere as well, or is it just for mobile devices?

  17. Matt Karnes

    I get all of the first part with the terminal but I don’t seem to have var/www/ directory. Anybody know why?

  18. bins

    how we can set in windows vista?

  19. Ximarx

    There is a wIndows installer of the 0.5 version in the download list. Install it and then use the updates package. (or wait a few hour and will be available a 0.5.3 stable installer)

  20. Derelicte

    I’m having problems streaming this as well. I’m not able to use any of the android profiles for my droid 2 but when I use the standard LQ, HQ and MQ I am able to get video on the screen. The only problem is with the audio, which isn’t coming over. When I try to change it to mp3 or AAC the video goes away and I’m left with a blank screen and a high-pitched audio sound.

    Any recommendations?

  21. Ximarx

    ” …When I try to change it to mp3 or AAC the video… ”

    Codec field in profile definition are used only to lock the profile to be used only with a specified type of codec. If you want to change the streaming codec you have to change vlc params… You have to read vlc documentation

  22. oic

    i’m getting the same problem as eleazar. the video gets stuck at loading and then goes back to the shared folders screen.

  23. Derelicte

    Ohhhh! That’s within the definition but only at the top, right? Do you have a link to the documentation?

  24. oic

    do we need ffmpeg? if so, how do i get it as an exe file to work with vlc shares?

  25. Ximarx

    @Derelicte http://www.videolan.org/doc/streaming-howto/en/ch03.html

    @oic
    Place it somewhere, then set the exe path in vlc-shares configs. Anyway it’s not mandatory but without it you will not get embedded subs. If you want more info: http://www.wiimc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1184

  26. Derelicte

    Thanks for the response Ximarx. I still haven’t been able to get it to work on my android. I am getting a constant “video can not be played” in mVideoPlayer. I have tried multiple combinations of venc’s and vcodec’s but to no avail. Here is the most recent one i’ve tried. If anyone else can give me some advice that’d be great!

    transcode{vcodec=mp1v,acodec=mpga,venc=ffmpeg,aenc=ffmpeg,vb=400,ab=128,channels=2}:std{mux=mpeg1}

  27. Ximarx
  28. tsontag

    VLC isn’t recognizing my phone as a phone, i get the same look as with my laptop’s browser… Then when i open the stream, no mater the player it won’t work. Should i try downloading a different web browser?

  29. belgianwaves

    You may also try Mirage
    (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bw.xplayer.ui&feature=search_result)
    Currently in beta, but supports Air Video natively

  30. Thomas

    Will this work with tablets as well? I have an Acer A500 and really have not some across a streaming solution that I am happy with.

  31. Victor

    Hello XIMARX and all you guys

    i have both Iphone 4 and Android Atrix 4G with IPAD2 running and idid a test on Air video using diffrent methods on these platforms however the Android is always loose the battle by far.

    What did i do for test: Windows 7 pro x64 with 12 tb of video files different format, H264, MKV, AVI, MOV etc running on N+ LAN wirelless network

    IPAD2 & IPHONE 4: was able to run easily through the network playing with live conversion and upscaling to 65″ 1080 display without a glitch “great”

    Motorola Atrix 4G, Samsung Nexus S, was a challenge after 48 hours of trouble shooting, ports opening, codex issue etc i was able to stream files to droid mobile but the result was not good, there is always delay in frame rates and audi sync is a challenge, i had almost 3fps almost not.

    I tried to share files through my PS3, i shared the files through PS3 and i tired the live conversion method through video server on the HTPC i was able to watch more movies this time and wider codex and solve the issue of the codec subtitles etc.

    Conclusion: if you are looking how to complicate your life and waist time trying to create and tweak the technology consider Android or just buy USD 2 application called Airvideo on Iphone and do live conversion and enjoy hassle free system.

    The VLC tutorial up is helpful but its like rocket since for non network engineers and you should not expect an average user to know how to do any of what you have mentioned above. plus the tutorial above does not talk about codec, bandwidth, wifi signals, and many other factors out of 5 i will rate VLC on android 2 for starting an idea but you need to develop a complete solution

  32. Rapsey
  33. sdf

    This is why apple is winning. some people seem almost too happy to go through this tiresome ordeal instead of paying, what, $3?

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