h a l f b a k e r y
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A website where you enter the URL of a Real of Windows
Media Player stream and after a few minutes you can
download it as a MPG or MOV to view locally, even off-line.
A lot of bandwith is wasted by streaming media formats that
require you to connect to a certain site where it is served.
can't save it, if you want to listen to it or see it again
you have to reconnect to that site and all the data is
pumped through the internet, often transatlantic. What a
criminal waste of bandwith!
Wouldn't it be much more economical if the media stream
becomes a downloadable file that you can save locally. You
can then listen to it whenever you want, burn it on a CD to
it and share it with other users who don't need to connect
that site themselves anymore.
When listening to a live radiobroadcast (on the internet)
and you hear something you want to record, you can do it
through this website also for example.
Remember that the internet is founded as a filesharing
network, not a broadcasting network! There is just so little
content we absolutely need to see or hear live (through
the internet). Let alone that we massively want to see or
hear the same. Even with just minutes of difference, we do
The website could be a paid service and still it would be
attractive. After all, such a service requires a lot of
computing power and datatransfer someone has to pay for.
But once one person has paid to
convert a stream to a file, it can be put on some filesharing
network and people can share it with each other
Makes much more sense network topology wise.
Legally there might be a problem or more, but I am only
interested in this from a user perspective and with a
responsability to prevent abuse of the network structure of
the internet I have learned to love the past decade.
[IvanIdea, Jun 04 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]
Progressive Layered Media
One possibility. [bristolz, Jun 04 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]
KeepVid does exactly that for some months now. Check it out :-) [RonnyO, Apr 05 2006]
||Hmmm. I'm pretty sure all my media players cache their data. Does anyone know if that's not the case?
||I'm not that familiar with the state of the art but I think that *streaming* media (as opposed to view-as-you-download stuff; it's a pretty fine distinction, I grant) generally isn't cached; they're trying to reinvent television.
||[rrr], I see two ideas here: one, the format conversion (which I am all in favor of, since I'm always running across streams in wacky formats/codecs my players don't support); and two, the caching aspect. I think they're separable.
||Streaming media caches could also provide multicast-style functionality, as well as adding a bunch of buffering (minutes, hours, days of buffering) to allow the asynchrony that we all love.
If done right, then no matter how many people in Australia are watching the stream from the UK, only one copy of the stream would have to go across the undersea cables. I'm beginning to suspect that wide-area IP-level multicast is a flawed design anyway.
||I'd bet that this kind of thing hasn't been done already because it's easier for a single company to buy a bigger central server than to design and deploy a cache network. Akamai is an exception, since they're in the business of supplying this functionality to other companies. I don't know if Akamai does streaming media, but if not it would be an obvious extension to their business.
||Both programs I use for streaming media - QuickTime and RealPlayer - buffer the stream to accomodate lag. Both begin playing a few seconds after the stream begins and both allow me to save streamed files. I assume most, if not all, streaming media players work like that, but I could be wrong.
||I guess the next question is: Who pays for this service? The downloader? Ads? The content source? What are the legalities involved in converting someones content to another format?
||Point 1: Why does it have to be a website? I would prefer this as something on my computer. A simple utility which connects to media streams and saves them in any format I want. Would also convert files to other formats, as it wouldn't be much extra work really.
||Point 2: Legally, as far as the converting goes, its perfectly fine. Think about it, you can Zip up your downloaded videos if you want and there is nothing wrong with that.
||Point 3: Legally, as far as saving them goes, VCRs and Tivos are legal. Thats how I see it. God, I love my Tivo.
||For streaming mp3, this is quite possible -- I've done it
myself, in fact. Just connect to the mp3 server and save
the bytes it sends you. For commercial formats like
RealPlayer and Windows Media, the fact that they don't
allow to you to save streams is considered a *feature* ...
the companies that produce these streams don't want
you to be able to save them, they want you to have to
come to their web site (and view their ads) every time
you view the stream. Yet another reason why
proprietary formats are evil!
||You can use a program called streambox for this. I have posted the download address as a link.
You just enter the url of the streaming media and it downloads and saves it for you. It works great for Real media as well as microsoft media formats.
||There are legal problems, but instead of dressing up our sensitivities in fine notions lets just admit that we don't give a stuff.
||wiml: the distinction you make is a good one. If the
caching could be done on the harddisk of your neighbour
this would prevent a lot of data being pumped across the
net. Practically, it would be the easiest if people would
start sharing these sound & video files with the known
||The other part, format conversion, is also the reason why
I want it to be a website. The 'Streambox' software
doesn't run on my OS. A website is compatible with all
OS's. And I don't really want three different mediaplayers
on my system, I just want one good one. Furthermore, it
requires computingtime and know-how to use this
software. It is easier to just type the URL of the stream
you want to convert and to select the type of format you
want as output.
||Legally, on the other hand, a solution like Streambox on
your computer, is the most reliable. Once the software is
'out there' nothing can be done against it. Streambox is
already illegal I just read. Real is behind that. But it can
still be used. A website would end up in all kinds of legal
battles, no matter how legal in the long run (like Tivo and
VCRs). Such a site would use a store and forward
principle and might infringe on copyrights or something...
||In the end, the most convenient would probably be some
server software anyone could install (secretly) on some
unknown portnumber. If you want a stream to be
converted you enter the IP-address + port number + URL
of stream. The converted file can then be found in some
FTP dir (and share it also with the popular peer to peer
filesharing systems). For a webmaster it is also fun to run
this software because you end up with all kinds of movies
and sounds on your server without doing anything for it.
||If it takes too much traffic or clogs your server's capacity
or when you end up in legal trouble you just close it
down or move it to another portnumber. This also
answers phoenix' question "who pays?" It's a free service
to fellow netizens you know. If it becomes too popular
you close it/move it/rename it.
||Three years have passed and this idea is
still not baked unfortunately.
||Meanwhile we have BitTorrent technology.
It would be obvious that such a streaming
media converter would turn out BitTorrent
files for all the obvious reasons.
||It only just neads someone to do the
||RonnyO, KeepVid is a stand alone local application, not an online solution where you just drop the URL of a stream you want to capture.
||If they do it like that they will probably end up in legal battles the moment someone wants to capture material from some big media mogul. The site will be sued out of existence the next day. When end users run this software it is difficult for broadcasters to react legally.