FFserver runs in daemon mode by default; that is, it puts itself in the background and detaches from its TTY, unless it is launched in debug mode or a NoDaemon option is specified in the configuration file.
This documentation covers only the streaming aspects of ffserver / ffmpeg. All questions about parameters for ffmpeg, codec questions, etc. are not covered here. Read ffmpeg-doc.html for more information.
An ffserver instance will listen on some port as specified in the configuration file. You can launch one or more instances of ffmpeg and send one or more FFM streams to the port where ffserver is expecting to receive them. Alternately, you can make ffserver launch such ffmpeg instances at startup.
Input streams are called feeds, and each one is specified by a <Feed> section in the configuration file.
For each feed you can have different output streams in various formats, each one specified by a <Stream> section in the configuration file.
Simply point your browser to the address of the special status stream specified in the configuration file.
For example if you have:
<Stream status.html> Format status # Only allow local people to get the status ACL allow localhost ACL allow 192.168.0.0 192.168.255.255 </Stream>
then the server will post a page with the status information when the special stream status.html is requested.
It can also stream from files, though that is currently broken. Very often, a web server can be used to serve up the files just as well.
It can stream prerecorded video from .ffm files, though it is somewhat tricky to make it work correctly.
I understand that FreeBSD systems work just fine as well.
LAME is important as it allows for streaming audio to Windows Media Player. Don't ask why the other audio types do not work.
As a simple test, just run the following two command lines where INPUTFILE is some file which you can decode with ffmpeg:
./ffserver -f doc/ffserver.conf & ./ffmpeg -i INPUTFILE http://localhost:8090/feed1.ffm
At this point you should be able to go to your Windows machine and fire up Windows Media Player (WMP). Go to Open URL and enter
You should (after a short delay) see video and hear audio.
WARNING: trying to stream test1.mpg doesn't work with WMP as it tries to transfer the entire file before starting to play. The same is true of AVI files.
Maybe you didn't install LAME, or got your ./configure statement wrong. Check the ffmpeg output to see if a line referring to MP3 is present. If not, then your configuration was incorrect. If it is, then maybe your wiring is not set up correctly. Maybe the sound card is not getting data from the right input source. Maybe you have a really awful audio interface (like I do) that only captures in stereo and also requires that one channel be flipped. If you are one of these people, then export 'AUDIO_FLIP_LEFT=1' before starting ffmpeg.
The audio and video loose sync after a while.
Yes, they do.
After a long while, the video update rate goes way down in WMP.
Yes, it does. Who knows why?
WMP 6.4 behaves differently to WMP 7.
Yes, it does. Any thoughts on this would be gratefully received. These differences extend to embedding WMP into a web page. [There are two object IDs that you can use: The old one, which does not play well, and the new one, which does (both tested on the same system). However, I suspect that the new one is not available unless you have installed WMP 7].
You can fiddle with many of the codec choices and encoding parameters, and there are a bunch more parameters that you cannot control. Post a message to the mailing list if there are some 'must have' parameters. Look in ffserver.conf for a list of the currently available controls.
It will automatically generate the ASX or RAM files that are often used in browsers. These files are actually redirections to the underlying ASF or RM file. The reason for this is that the browser often fetches the entire file before starting up the external viewer. The redirection files are very small and can be transferred quickly. [The stream itself is often 'infinite' and thus the browser tries to download it and never finishes.]
You can also add a 'Preroll 15' statement into the ffserver.conf that will add the 15 second prebuffering on all requests that do not otherwise specify a time. In addition, ffserver will skip frames until a key_frame is found. This further reduces the startup delay by not transferring data that will be discarded.
* You may want to adjust the MaxBandwidth in the ffserver.conf to limit the amount of bandwidth consumed by live streams.
Fixing this requires a change in the internals of how timestamps are handled.
The format of the "?date=xxxxxx" is fairly flexible. You should use one of the following formats (the 'T' is literal):
* YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS (localtime) * YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SSZ (UTC)
You can omit the YYYY-MM-DD, and then it refers to the current day. However note that ?date=16:00:00 refers to 16:00 on the current day --- this may be in the future and so is unlikely to be useful.
You use this by adding the ?date= to the end of the URL for the stream. For example: http://localhost:8080/test.asf?date=2002-07-26T23:05:00.
The fields preceding the format names have the following meanings:
The fields preceding the codec names have the following meanings: