Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games
VLC media player was one of the first open source platforms that managed to seamlessly integrate with the Linux/UNIX operating systems, although it started out as an academic project back in 1996.
Just as any open source platform, VLC doesn’t have a developing team of its own (or at least not in a traditional manner); instead, groups of people devoted to this media player are continuously coming up with new ideas, improvements, and proposals. Just as it happens, one of them had the brilliant idea of morphing VLC into a streaming platform for torrents. In other words, if the bounty offered by them ($10.000) for the person that can write such a code proves to be successful, you will soon be able to download and stream torrent files through the media player.
The project was made public on Elance.com just last week, and here’s what the announcement reads:
“The developer should submit a working patch for VLC that lets a user open a torrent file or ‘magnet link’ in VLC, and start watching any media files within VLC after a minimal delay.”
Jean-Baptiste Kempf, one of the most devoted coders for VLC (he’s been working on the project right from the beginning), told TorrentFreak that the thought of merging BitTorrent technology with the video player wasn’t really new. The problem, however, is that no one could come up with the right code.
“So far, all BitTorrent related modules for VLC have been of low code quality and have not been merged. We really care about code quality and maintenance, since we are not many in the VLC project,” he told TF.
“A BitTorrent module for VLC could be a fun idea, but it would need to match and behave correctly in our VLC architecture.”
Arvid Norberg, also a brilliant mind working with BitTorrent’s library (libtorrent), was drawn by this challenge and is willing to offer his full support:
“The main reason I’m interested in being in touch with whoever does it is because the streaming support in libtorrent is not all that well polished, and this seems like a good opportunity to be able to get some real testing of it,” he said.
“I think it’s pretty exciting, and parts of it could be somewhat challenging as well, such as tuning the streaming logic and user interface in a way to make it a solid user experience. Especially the case where the download capacity is close to or less than the bitrate of the media being streamed.”
If you think you can give a helping hand, don’t be shy and submit your ideas here.
Are you looking for YouTube, Hulu or other popular online video streaming services alternatives? Then this is the place to be, because we are going to offer you a list of some of the best we’ve found. Whether you just want to see your band’s favourite video(s) or want to stream yourself, they’re all here. Enjoy!
The list is going to offer you, at first, some of the most popular services of this kind, including YouTube, Hulu, Veoh and some other names. Compiling this list took a lot of effort and research, and by all means, we thank the guys at TechSupportAlert for contributing to it. With that said, let’s get to it!
YouTube is probably the most popular video streaming service out there. They offer excellent content that covers documentaries, TV shows, comedy, video logs, clips, and even entire movies. You can basically find anything of importance on YouTube. For example, when I first cleaned my laptop, I found some very useful tips on how to handle the delicate wiring, plus an entire step-by-step tutorial. And there are plenty of other useful stuff you can find here.
Metacafe is a comprehensive database of streaming videos, covering many popular categories, including movies, games, music, and comedy. You can also find useful topics such as sport events, entertainment, pets & animals, science and technology, and even a 18+ dedicated section.
Vimeo is that kind of service which sets itself apart from others. Why? First of all, it started out as an “underground” service, directed to a specific category of people, specifically designers and artists. Here I found plenty of extremely interesting and entertaining videos from talented graphic designers. As a basic user, you are limited to upload a maximum of 500 MB a week. However, if you want more, you can upgrade to a paid account, which comes with certain benefits, such as ad free content, and so on. Uploading a video on Vimeo is as simple as it gets. Their categories include Animation and Motion Graphics, Art, Comedy, Education, and much more. Vimeo supports both full HD streaming and widescreen format.
Although available only for U.S. citizens, Hulu is a completely legitimate service that offers various TV shows (The Simpsons, Bones, The Office, etc). However, due to some contractual issues with Fox, NBC (founder of the website) had to ask Hulu’s users to pay for some of these shows. Besides TV series, you can also find popular movie names, including Spy Game, Liar Liar, Ghostbusters, and more.
Next in our list is yet another established website, Veoh. When it comes to entertainment, this one is an excellent choice, as it covers different areas – movies, music, TV shows, anime, and so on. By signing up with them (you can use your Facebook account if you wish to), you can build a profile, have you favourites shows neatly organized, create playlists, and even have an e-mail-based feature. Their music section covers a wide range of tastes – from pop to metal, r&b to latin, folk and classical music, and so on. Veoh’s interface is amazingly easy to use, as it organizes everything by videos, movies, channels, and groups.
Founded in 2006, Viddler is a simple, yet professional solution for online video streaming. As for encoding, storing, and delivering videos online, you need not to worry, because Viddler is taking care of it all by contributing with a comprehensive platform that focuses on your needs. If you have a small or developing business plan, this is the place to be. The streaming service includes two plans, each with its own benefits – the Pro Account is $42 a month and allows you to upload a maximum of 100GB/month (amongst other benefits), while the Business Account is $84 a month, with a storage limit of 200GB per month.
Next in the list has become the choice of millions in just a matter of time. According to their claim, USTREAM has more than 50 million unique visitors a month. You can find categories which include spotlight videos, political concerns, entertainment, sports, animals and wildlife, technology, music, games, educational content, and much more.
Netflix is all about watching TV shows and movies, anytime, anywhere. Although only available in certain areas, Netflix is one of the established names, offering you the possibility to watch TV series and movies on basically any device possible (for a small fee), and that includes your PS3, Wii, Xbox, PC, MAC, mobile phone, tablet, etc. Their user-base is impressive, gathering more than 30 million unique accounts from across the world (US, Canada, Latin America, UK, Ireland, etc).
Our next three additions are quite special, in the sense that they allow you to video stream directly from your smartphone, tablet or other similar device.
With Qik you can easily capture your life’s moments and share them (live or not) with your family or on popular social networking platforms. A list of supported phones can be found here. With a Qik Premium account ($4.99/month) you benefit from a desktop application that automatically syncs and manages your mobile device with your desktop, unlimited video storage, HD and 3D video recording, and much more. Also, Qik offers you the opportunity to not only live stream, but also store your content on their servers, while also allowing you to create a YouTube-like profile page. Videos can be embedded, people can comment on your uploads, and there’s even a simple, yet useful, live chat window.
Having a deal with the popular Verizon, Livecast aims to get on top of the premium streaming services. You can live stream from basically any device (phone, tablet, laptop, or even a security cam) and hold conferences from one device to the other. This service also provides with a desktop application, so you can easily manage your files. It supports Global Positioning System (GPS) and is compatible with Google Maps. Furthermore, you can create a list of contacts so that they receive notifications every time you start streaming. There are a whole lot of features to discover with Livecast, but we’re going to let you do it. A list of compatible devices can be found here.
Although this last addition is not yet for everyone’s smartphone, they did develop an application that’s compatible with Symbian (Nokia) devices.
“Anyone with a camera and an internet connection can instantly broadcast LIVE to the world from a computer or mobile device. Whether you want to videochat live with friends or broadcast a show live to thousands of fans, Stickam provides the tools — and the audience,” reads their website.
Currently, Stickam has over 10 million users and growing.
A second part of this topic is soon to come. Stay tuned, and if you have any tips regarding worthy video streaming services contact us or leave a comment in the section below.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Movies, MP3, Digital Audio & Games, Tops
Music streaming services have quickly become popular among those who enjoy listening to their favourite tracks at demand. There are a couple of established names when it comes to this market share, including AOL Radio, Grooveshark, Last.fm, Pandora or Spotify, but also new ones that are worth mentioning. Here we go…
AOL Radio is amongst the most popular names when you talk about music streaming. In order to improve the listening experience, the company decided to introduce Slacker Radio, an idea which started from iPad’s Slacker app. Besides enabling a brand new interface with plenty of new features, AOL Radio also modified some of its core services. For example, you can no longer listen to music without creating an AOL account. There are also three plans to choose from. The free one lets you skip a maximum of six songs in an hour, while also promoting advertisements.
Also available for iPhone, iPad and Android-based devices, Jango sets itself apart by offering three important features: unlimited skips, artist promotion, and social networking. Moreover, the streaming service is coming with a complex interface (although not comparable to AOL’s) that incorporates social networking, categorized music, and a set of other useful features, including seeing what people are listening to, adding friends and sending them messages, and so on. With Jango, you get access to 15 different radio stations, covering all music tastes, from Rock to Pop, Country to Reggae, Rap to HipHop, and so on, and so forth. Yes, it’s free, but video ads can be a bit aggressive as they cover a hefty portion of your screen. Leaving that aside, the music experience is uncanny.
Another popular name that often made the news on our website is Grooveshark. The service’s interface is basically a music player (similar to Spotify), featuring a couple of needed areas – content, playback, and a sidebar showing what you’ve uploaded, playlists, and stations. The service is free, but you can also pay a minimum of $6 a month for Grooveshark Plus or $9 a month for Grooveshark Anywhere. Both are ads free, but the latter also allows you to take your music experience anywhere (on your mobile device), hence the name. Furthermore, for both of these plans users also get access to the Adobe Air-powered Grooveshark desktop application, Video Mode – that lets you watch YouTube videos for songs that you queued, Visualizers, Power Hour Mode – a feature that automatically skips between songs every 60 seconds, crossfade, share songs via popular social networks, and out of the oven skins. You can browse for songs, artists, or album. And you won’t be disappointed by the search engine – results are shown as you type. Grooveshark’s audio quality is excellent on both desktop computers and mobile devices. Last but not least, Grooveshark’s intuitive Music Recommendation feature may come in handy at points when you’re tired of your own collection.
Being accountable for millions of unique accounts, Last.fm is by far one of the greatest free music streaming services around. If you’re a newcomer to the service, a dialogue box will greet you, asking that you type the name of your favourite artists. As you do so, recommendations are suggested. Unfortunately, this is a one-time opportunity, meaning that you’ll never be able to see that box again. After creating an account, you’d need to add songs and artists, one at a time – which can be a bit frustrating for those of you who lack patience. Last.fm also enables four important features. The first is called New to My Library – a section box that shows your latest additions. The second is Last.fm Recommendations – a self-explanatory feature. Events keeps you updated with the latest shows that are about to take place in your area, while Free Downloads is offering, from time to time, samples of free music. But what really made Last.fm popular was this: the music streaming service allows artists to create their own page, showing photos of the band, biography, and pretty much everything one would need to promote his or hers band.
Slacker’s interface is just as good as any of the aforementioned services, enabling the user with access to a tab area containing four important categories – Home, Now Playing, Create Your Own, and Devices. Each of these four’s functionality is pretty obvious. As for browsing, you can lookup a song, album or artist by simply typing the name in the search box. You can also rate your music experience by either choosing to ban a song or favourite it. With a free account you can skip a maximum of six songs an hour, and listen to audio ads (unless you decide to mute). There are two other packages – the Slacker Plus ($3.99 a month) and Slacker Premium ($9.99 a month). The first is ads free, and you can skip an unlimited number of songs. The premium package is quite popular, and not so expensive, given its features – you can cache and create stations, view artists’ pages, play anything on demand, and so on. Moreover, Slacker gives you access to ESPN, and ABC Radio’s Men’s Life and Women’s Life channels. For example, with ESPN you can listen to live streams from different cities, including Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and NYC. Sporting events are also popular, so you get access to that as well.
Due to some licensing issues, Songza is only available for those living in the United States or Canada. Moving on, the service is packing a strong punch. Since it’s free, you’ll notice a couple of visual ads, which is better than audio ones, right? You can join Songza by creating a dedicated account or by signing in with Facebook. Also, the interface comes with three core options: Music Concierge, Popular, and Browse All. Each of these has its own purpose, but we’re going to talk a little about Music Concierge. This unique feature presents music options based on the time of day. As an example, Monday Afternoon comes with Work or Study (without lyrics), Work or Study (with lyrics), Easing the Tension, An Energy Boost, and Popular Genres, while the Saturday Late Night includes A Nightcap, A Sweaty Dance Party, Getting High, Getting Lucky, and Bedtime. Any of these mentioned options leads to a music genre/playlist that best suits your mood. There are plenty of other features to discover with Songza, such as creating your own playlist, add comments on different songs, and even share them on Facebook and Twitter.
Spotify needs no introduction, but we are going to say that this cloud-based service is free and full of surprises. Spotify’s database gathers more than 15 million tracks from United States’ most prominent music labels – Sony Music, EMI, Warner Music, and Universal Music. If you’re looking for a better experience with full-pledged features, then you should consider Spotify’s Unlimited and Premium accounts. The first is only $4.99 a month and lets you sync your own music, while also removing ads. Having a Premium account ($9.99 a month), comes with some really cool features: you can listen to an album before it’s officially released, cache songs for offline listening, and a crystal-sharp audio clarity (320 Kbps). What may upset some people is that, in order to use Spotify, you need to install a Windows or MAC client, depending on what you’re running. However, Android and iOS versions are also available. As far as interface is concerned, Spotify resembles iTunes, in the sense that it offers a main library view, playlists and radio links, and album art. Each of these features has its own subfeatures. For example, by clicking an artist’s name you get additional songs, organized by albums, top hits, and playlists from different members. Simply put, everything is neatly organized for easy access and listening.
Pandora is also amongst those popular names, and this title has not been easily earned. The service’s development team has worked hard to improve the overall music experience. Two notable changes are the HTML-5 powered design, and the new unlimited listening feature. Besides its change of look, Pandora Radio enables a plethora of options, from rating to easy access to basically any song, artist or album you can think of. However, this service truly shines when it comes to customization and the so called Music Genome Project. As such, you can create stations based on your music preferences, while also getting suggestions on that genre. Furthermore, lyrics are now shown on the same page (in the past a new tab was opened). Hovering the album art opens a menu that explains why the station is playing a particular track; even better, you can move the track to another station, if you’ve already created it. Pretty neat! And speaking of that, you can customize your station as you see fit. Prior to its upgrades, with a free account you could listen to just 40 hours of free music a month (“thanks” to the service’s contract with the RIAA), but now you have 320 hours of music. However, you can opt for Pandora’s One package ($36 a year) and get unlimited number of skips*, choose from a variety of skins, download a desktop application, and enjoy 192 Kbps quality sound.
*you are however limited to a number of six skips per hour.
Last but not least, is Turntable – a streaming music service that enables themed listening rooms. Each room enables a DJ-like feature, meaning that up to five people can mix music. Amusingly enough, each listener and DJ is represented by a South Park-like avatar. You can, however, choose a different image by going to the Settings area. Unique, and customizable avatars are available for those who have a verified account. If you think you’re talented enough, look for an open spot and play music for others. Turntable also enables clear quality sound, even over Wi-Fi networks. What comes as a drawback is that you don’t have lyrics, and you can’t listen to full albums on demand. Furthermore, a DJ can’t scratch, mix, or crossfade. Leaving that aside, if you’re looking for a great opportunity to either learn or launch yourself as a DJ, this is definitely the place to be.
If you know other free or paid music streaming services that are worth mentioning, don’t be afraid to use the comment section below.
NPD Group’s latest report shows Netflix as the leader on the movie/TV streaming and downloads market with no less than 61 percent market share followed remotely by Comcast with 8 percent share, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Apple each with 4 percent.
These figures are part of VideoWatch Digital tracking service, which NPD launched at the beginning of the year.
From the report:
Sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs still drive most home-video revenue, but VOD and other digital options are now beginning to make inroads with consumers. Overwhelmingly digital movie buyers do not believe physical discs are out of fashion, but their digital transactions were motivated by the immediate access and ease of acquisition provided by streaming and downloading digital video files.
According to the company, the digital video currently accounts for “one quarter of all video volume in the home.” They don’t call it the digital age for nothing, do they?
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
The Fifth International Conference on P2P, Parallel, Grid, Cloud and Internet Computing will take place from 4 to 6 November 2010 in Fukuoka, Japan.
Peer to peer (P2P), grid, cloud and internet computing technologies have seen increased attention in the past few years. They have emerged as new ways of solving complex problems by enabling large-scale aggregation and sharing of computational, data and other geographically distributed computational resources.
Continuous research and development are making possible the development of large scale applications in many fields of science and engineering.
The aim of this conference is to present innovative research results, methods and development techniques from both theoretical and practical perspectives related to P2P, grid, cloud and internet computing.
A number of workshops will take place at the conference, covering the following topics:
- securing information in distributed environments and ubiquitous systems,
- simulation and modelling of emergent computational systems,
- data management for information explosion in wireless networks,
- streaming media delivery and management systems,
- middleware in large-scale distributed systems,
- new frontiers in service-oriented computing,
- business intelligence and distributed systems,
- multimedia, web and virtual reality technologies and applications – emerging data technologies for collective intelligence.
For further information on registration, please visit: http://www.lsi.upc.edu/~net4all/3PGCIC-2010/workshops.html