How to use VLC Media player to stream multicast video

When testing networks and routing, it is sometimes useful to be able to send a number of multicast streams across the network. VLC media player can do this, but getting it working is not as trivial as I expected. Here’s how to do it:

  1. In the Media menu, choose “Stream”
  2. In the Open Media dialog file tab, click “add” and choose the file you want to stream  and click “Open”
  3. At the bottom, click the “Stream” button
  4. This opens the “Stream Output” dialog showing the source file you have chosen. Click Next to set destination.
  5. In “Destinations”, choose “RTP /MPEG Transport Stream” and click the “Add” button
  6. In the “Address” box, enter the required multicast address (eg 239.255.0.1) and set the port (or leave default at 5004)
  7. In transcoding options, choose the appropriate settings for your video and PC’s codecs. I chose “Video H.264 + MP3 (MP4)”. I had to set the options by clicking the options (screwdriver and spanner) button immediately to the right of the dropdown. In encapsulation, I chose MPEG-TS. In video codec, I set the bitrate to 4000kb/s
  8. Once the options are set, click “Save”. Then click Next for “Option Setup” and select “Stream all elementary streams” then click stream.

To view the stream, open another instance of VLC media player (try it on the same PC before trying it over the network)

  1. Choose Media/Open Network Stream
  2. In address, enter rtp://@239.255.0.1:5004 – choose the correct address and port you entered when setting up the stream. Don’t forget to enter the “@” symbol after “rtp://” and before the multicast ip address!
  3. Click “Play”

If you want to stream multiple videos, remember to choose an different multicast address and/or port

Cloning and IDE disk when all your computers now use SATA disk connectors

I’ve been recently asked to upgrade the system disk on someone’s PC. It’s an old IDE disk based computer, but has some old software on it that only works on XP and we don’t have the installation disks. An upgrade is out of the question. The only solution is to clone the system disk onto a larger drive.

I really didn’t want to do the cloning on the PC itself as I didn’t want any more risk of damaging anything in it than absolutely necessary. However, I did want to be able to use my laptop to do the job.

After a bit of searching, I found this device which is a simple IDE to USB adapter. It also comes with a power supply to the disk.

You simply plug it the correct connector on the adapter into the disc, plug in the usb to your computer and you have a new disk drive on your PC immediately.

The device is a lot better than a  hard disk enclosure as it works with 2.5 and 3.5 inch IDE/EIDE and SATA disks too.

The cloning itself is done using Macrium Reflect.

Cloning isn’t something I do regularly, but for £12.95, it was worth it for a one off. I’ve a feeling that it will be somnething I’m glad I’ve got some time in the future!