As more people are using PCs for distributing content around the home there is a need for distributing audio/video and television to multiple rooms for simultaneous playback and that is where SinCast comes in. I am going to be talking to the developers of SinCast on the podcast in few weeks in the mean time Tim Curtis from Sinderon (the developers) has put together a guest post explaining how it works:
SinCast 3 – AV/TV Distribution over IP
By: Tim Curtis, Sinderon, Inc.
August 28, 2009
The emergence of small, low cost ION-Atom based PC’s that support HD audio/video plus the installed base of residential Ethernet networks are key enablers for SinCast 3—an all-IP based solution for distributing audio/video and television to multiple rooms for simultaneous playback. Visit www.sinderon.com for formatted PDF version of this article.
SinCast 3 AV/TV Distribution Framework
Sinderon SinCast 3 provides a framework for AV/TV distribution that makes use of existing wired and wireless Ethernet networks, uses standard IP protocols and small PC’s connected to room AV/TV systems, and supports a broad range of source media types.
SinCast 3 and VLC media player
SinCast 3 functions as a front-end to VLC media player (www.videolan.org). VLC provides robust transcoding and streaming services, is multi-OS, uses standard IP protocols, and provides its own built in set of codecs. SinCast 3 enhances the usability of VLC and automates common streaming scenarios.
- Common streaming scenarios include “party-mode” where the same music, movie, or television program is played back simultaneously in multiple rooms.
- Usability enhancements for VLC streaming include automatic source media analysis, transcode setup and stream output chain generation, destination host wake up, and listener reset.
- User interface front-end enhancements include integrated File and TV Channel browsers, saved settings, most recently used (MRU) media, URL and DVB channel favorites, and a detachable Remote Control application (SinCast RC).
- SinCast 3 also provides a built in interface to HDHomeRun networked TV tuner devices. This interface performs tuner-in-use checking, tuner locking, and channel selection.
SinCast 3 Functional Modules
The following diagram shows key functional modules of SinCast 3. Note the User Interface module for SinCast 3 consists of both a Graphical User Interface and a Command Line Processor (CLP). The CLP allows SinCast 3 to be run from the command line with a set of input arguments and without its GUI being displayed.
SinCast 3 Network Protocol Flow
The following diagram shows basic IP protocol flow for both push-streaming (to destination PC’s) and pull-streaming from a PC running the HTTP server.
SinCast 3 achieves synchronization of multiple streams by simply taking advantage of the extremely low latency of UDP packet delivery. This approach works particularly well on Gigabit Ethernet LAN’s, but also works well over high performance wireless LAN’s.
Media Source Options
SinCast 3 supports media source types covering a broad range of today’s digital media.
Unique Media Streaming Features
SinCast 3 Wake on LAN (WOL) Module
SinCast 3 WOL is used to automatically wake destination hosts prior to starting a Simulcast. SinCast 3 WOL is based on a standard, Magic Packet broadcast frame that contains the WOL identifier string plus the destination host MAC address repeated 16 times.
The WOL module contains a MAC Address Grabber that is used to acquire and store the MAC address for all destination hosts. This is usually a one-time configuration step that is done prior to using WOL.
SinCast RC Remote Control Interface
SinCast RC is a detachable remote control application that provides playback and volume control to individual destinations or groups of destinations. SinCast RC uses a simple IP sockets interface to establish a two-way command and control channel to one or more destination VLC listeners.