As technologies go, video streaming is still in its adolescent phase, at best. There are a lot of different standards and diverse environments to consider. TriCaster gives you the necessary tools, but there are still some teething problems you may encounter. This section will point you in the right direction to overcome them.
When it comes to using your TriCaster in a professional live production environment (i.e., your bread and butter depends on getting it right, and now - not tomorrow), failure to test beforehand is not merely unwise - it can be professional suicide.
You should already be aware of the need for redundancy in a professional environment (you didn’t bring just one camera, did you?) As reliable as any device may be, Murphy’s Law has not been repealed … so you plan for this, bringing the appropriate equipment, such as uninterruptable power supplies, backup recording devices (there’s no shame in having a VCR backing up your digital record – ‘low tech’ still has a place in the grand scheme.)
But you also need to perform onsite testing, to ensure your live stream is working well before ‘zero hour.’ No-one will thank you for excuses, no matter how brilliantly they point the finger at forces beyond your control.
- Set up and enable a test program stream from your TriCaster.
- You can use TriCaster’s integrated web browser, but you may want to confirm using an external system, too.
Success at this point does not necessarily mean you’re done. You may be able to see the stream locally, but can someone outside the local environment connect to it over the Internet? The best way to find out is to have someone at a remote location verify that your stream is streaming properly. If it is, great! Otherwise, keep reading…
Testing with Ping
Before your stream can be seen - whether on a local intranet or the Internet - client computers (or your service provider) need to be able to establish a network connection with your TriCaster.
Ping is a humble but effective tool to ensure the basic connection exists, thus it can help you with streaming, iVGA™ and LiveText™ connection issues, too (and it works just fine in a multi-platform environment!)
Ping sends a small set of data packets to the target host (IP number), then ‘listens’ for an echo response in return. Ping estimates the round-trip time in milliseconds, records any data losses, and displays a summary when finished.
Bottom line, if you can’t ‘ping’ your target, your connection has problems (the problem might be as simple as a bad cable connection). To issue a ping, you need know the IP number of the target computer.
Finding the target IP number
For Windows XP®
- Select Run from the Windows® Start Menu (look in the Settings sub-menu if it is not listed at the top level).
- Type “cmd” (without the quotation marks) into the dialog, and press Enter on the keyboard.
- In the command shell that opens, type “ipconfig” (without the quotation marks) and press Enter again.
- The IP Address for the system will be reported in the window, along with other data.
For Windows Vista® (or later)
- Type “run” (without the quotation marks) into the Search field, then press Enter on the keyboard.
- Type “cmd” (without the quotation marks) into the dialog, and press Enter on the keyboard.
- In the command shell that opens, type “ipconfig” (without the quotation marks) and press Enter
- The IP Address for the system will be reported in the window (listed next to “IPv4 Address”), along with other data.
To find the IP Address for a system running OS X®
- Click the Apple icon at upper left on the Desktop, and select About This Mac.
- Click More info … in the panel which opens.
- Click Network in the Contents column at left.
- The IP number for the system will be listed in the right hand pane.
Issuing a Ping
Ping is a command line program, and must be run from a command shell on the issuing computer. To open a command shell and send a ping, follow the procedure below that applies.
- Repeat the steps you performed above to re-open a command shell.
- Type “ping” (without quotes) followed by a space and the target IP number, as in the image below – then press Enter.
- Ping will go to work, and in a moment or two begin reporting results. A ping failure (indicating a network problem) will look like Figure 201. A success ping will display a report like Figure 202.
Apple OS X®
For a system running Apple’s OS X®:
- Double-click Terminal in the Applications\Utilities folder.
- Type the following command into the Terminal (without quotations) and then add the IP number, and press Enter:
“ping –c 4 ipnumber.”
(So, for example, you might type: ping –c 4 192.168.1.101)
The response will be similar to the Windows® example described above. Again, a ping failure indicates a problem with the network connection.
Pull Connection issues
Note that - if you are Pull streaming from ‘behind’ a router – the IP number shown in the TriCaster’s Location field will only be valid for other systems behind the router. You will need to derive the true external IP address to pass to your viewers (or service provider.)
Again, in this environment you may wish to consider Push streaming with the aid of a Content Delivery Network (a commercial service), as this is generally free of firewall and router woes that often require a friendly system administrator to resolve otherwise.
You will also need to enable “port forwarding” on the router, as discussed next.
If you are streaming from behind a router, to preserve a reasonable level of security while allowing outside computers to connect to your system you will need to ‘port forward’ your router.
Port forwarding permits a sort of ‘blind hand-off’ between external clients (your viewers) and a local transaction port which you manually specify. (The router will pass requests to view the stream through to the TriCaster, without exposing the internal IP routing.)
To enable port forwarding, you need three pieces of information:
- The login information for the router. Your router’s manual will have this information, which typically involves entering a specific IP number into your web browsers URL field, and perhaps also a password you have set previously.
- The specific IP local number that the router has assigned to your TriCaster. You can read this right from TriCaster’s Location It will comprise the entire string of punctuated numbers before the colon (the colon separates the port number you chose for your stream).
- The port number just mentioned (the part after the colon).
Although the steps vary a bit by brand and model, generally you would proceed as follows:
- Log into the router, so it shows its control panel in your web browser.
- Select the port forwarding page of the router controls. These options may be found in an obscure place, such as the router’s “Applications and Gaming” page (since online gaming often requires port forwarding).
- Enter an Application name, if required (this is for your own recognition purposes, so use anything you like).
- Enter the Start and End port values – you can use the same port number in both fields, but of course it must be the one you set in TriCaster’s Port
- If possible, select Both for Protocol (or select UDP).
- Enter the full (punctuated numeric) local IP address shown in the Location field of your TriCaster after you enable the stream.
Some routers may have other security settings that need to be modified for your Pull stream to be visible from the outside. For example, the Linksys® router shown above has a setting in the Security page named Block Anonymous Internet Requests. While this may be a great idea normally, it’s not going to help much when outside computers request that your system permit them to Pull the video stream, is it?
There are countless makes and models of routers – for information on various models, and a great deal of help on port forwarding generally, we can recommend the following site:
You may also run into software firewalls. Generally, these can be configured in similar to permit exceptions to the firewall policy, permitting specific ports or applications to be opened to the world. Information on exceptions in the Windows® Firewall can be found in its Help system.
Finding Your External IP number
Again, the numbers assigned behind your router only work locally. In a Pull scenario, you need to supply the true external IP number (and port) for your TriCaster to viewers outside the LAN (Local Area Network).
You can find this number in several ways. For example, your router will display it as its “IP Address” in its Status page. Or, you may want to use one of several handy websites that will quickly supply your current IP number (one such is http://www.whatismyip.com). Simply go to the website in your browser and read the IP number from the screen. Append a colon and the port number you are using to this number and you’ve got everything you need for your viewers to connect.
Are you sure your upload bandwidth is adequate to the bitrate you’ve set for your stream? Why not test and make sure. Again, a number of websites provide free speed testing. These will give you a basic idea of what your local bandwidth really is. One site which provides a list of online speed test resources is: http://www.dslreports.com/speedtest?more=1
SECTION 17.8 and 17.8.1
For more information please download the entire document at new.tk/rt-m