Thursday, April 16, 2009

Live TV on G1 Phone via Stickam Viewer


Introduction:
Some times it is all about the TV. I watch TV on the old iMac G4 Flat Panel more than the big set with all the channels Comcast (Comcast.net) can deliver and I wish to pay for. Why? The simple answer is Twit Live. Created by Leo Laporte it is a buffet of  tech and not so tech that streams 24 hours day. A niche that Big Content Providers let slide from their grasp to benefit of us viewers. So, how does one get the show when away from the desk bound computer? One way is the trusty laptop. Maybe that is not possible because you are 2nd seat in the car or you just standing on the corner waiting for a ride.

The mobile phone is always with you, with luck or planning it is a G1 phone (or iPhone/iPod or Nokia). Until now the lack of Adobe Flash on the G1 left us users without a way to watch TWiT Live although the audio track could be heard via  StreamFurious. Thankfully Stickam has done the heavy lifting and supplied a viewer for G1 users. It works quite well and I am happy to show a few rough examples of the viewer running.

Setup and Video of G1 Running Stickam Viewer:
Just so there is no misunderstanding; I have never tried to record the G1 playing video. It is trickier than I thought because the touch screen and LCD display interference pattern. See Moire' and DSLR Auto Focus at Komar for more on that. I used the HP ps 733 3.2 MP that has AVI recording as a the recorder. Set the G1 on a tripod using a Frankenstien's monster looking setup of straps, forceps, popsicle sticks and Duct Tape (A.K.A. gaffers or duck). On the 2nd tripod (OSN MX2000) the camera with quick release platform was positioned so there was little moire' pattern cluttering up the shot.  As you can see it is not pretty but it works; the Bandaid (tm) does not leave goo on the phone like duck tape will. 



Video Attempts:
This first attempt at recording. Focus? Forgot the half press on button to focus it! Also, and this applies to all video here; audio is from phone adapter to Altec Lansing AVS300 or FX 3020 SoundBar I use as monitors. Some audio got +0.5 dB boost in post processing with MPEG StreamClip. The audio track even at full phone volume is too low. That it a source problem and I heard it is at the top of Leo's FixIt list.

video

Color looks good but thegizwiz looks odd. .. The blink while playing is buffering. I believe that is Stickam's doing because my WiFi connection through an Airport Extreme is plenty fast and my internet connection averages 6 to 8 Mbits/sec down.

NOTE: This try at recording is better but the audio needed a boost therefore the hiss.
video

I kept this test run for two reasons. Number one; that blink seems to sync audio with video as well as buffering. It is a bit hard to see here in this compress-for-web but the uncompressed source (230MBytes) shows it. Just a theory. Number two; it is a nice reality check speech on windows/Intel by Mr. Gibson. I spent my time writing assembler for both consumer products and process control -- I agree and have felt the pain generated by VB monkeys.

Conclusion and Opinion
I think Stickam did a good job. I am a little confused about the blink while playing even when a high speed connection is used. Stickam Viewer needs to work on Edge, 3G and WiFi so I will wait and see how much better the viewer will get.

What was a major headache getting this done? Top of the list is batteries. The  AC to DC power adapter was missing in action.  The count of discharged AA = 22.  Second to that is the lack of experience using the HP 733 in AVI mode. However, obi one Maxwell, you are my savior because of the show on moire reminded me about angles and patterns.  Or was that a dream.

I am done here. Thanks Mr. Laporte and Stckam for everything.
Dutch

Update:
Links to TWiT Live casts used here.



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