Streaming video

 Sometimes watching a live stream in a web-browser is an awful experience, with extra advertising and flash plugins, hogging RAM and slowing everything down.

There are alternatives for playing just the video content for many sites (including Youtube)

:star: Both “Media Player Classic – Home Cinema” and “Media Player Classic – Black Edition” are excellent streaming and capturing programs, and Black Edition will recognise Youtube links, and can even play Youtube playlists :yes: 
MPC-HC http://mpc-hc.org
MPC-BE http://mpcbe.sourceforge.net

For live streams things get a little messy, but I intend to make it simpler :doh:
The CLI program Livestreamer Can stream data from many sites including;
* Dailymotion
* Livestream
* Twitch/Justin.tv
* YouTube Live
* UStream

For the full list, visit this link
http://livestreamer.tanuki.se/en/latest/plugin_matrix.html#plugin-matrix

Livestreamer fetches the data, and hands it to a player capable of streaming from “STDIN”
VLC is the main choice, and the config is preconfigured with VLC options.

However Windows XP users still have the same problem of most software only using DX10 functionality for hardware GPU decoding. VLC is too slow for XP, unless you are watching a low quality stream.
The Media Player Classic series can all decode using DX9 functions, so you will need to add a new line to the Livestreamer config when it opens.

1) Download and install at least version 1.7 of “MPC-Home Cinema” (Black Edition currently does not support Livestreamer) http://mpc-hc.org
2) Download and install the latest “Livestreamer” http://livestreamer.tanuki.se
At the end of the install, it will ask you if you want to edit the config. Say yes (it is a pain to find).
Notepad should open with the current config. Adjust for the location and software you use.
eg. player=”C:Program Files\Media Player Classic – Home Cinema\mpc-hc.exe”
This is a copy of my config, so you see how I have it set;

# Format is option=value. Lines starting with a # is considered comments
# and are ignored.

# By default livestreamer will attempt to locate VLC on your system
# and use that, but you can also specify the location of a player
# yourself.

# Important: You must use a quoted path if there are spaces in the path. This
# is because the player command is parsed like a shell command to allow
# parameters to be passed to the player.

# Here is a few examples of players:

# VLC
#player="C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe"
#player="D:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe"
# Using --file-caching is recommended, but is only supported in VLC 2.0+
#player="C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" --file-caching=5000
#player="D:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe" --file-caching=5000

# MPC-HC, must be at least version 1.7 to be used
#player="C:\Program Files (x86)\MPC-HC\mpc-hc.exe"
player="D:\Program Files\MPC-HC\mpc-hc64.exe"

# MPlayer2
#player=C:\mplayer2\mplayer2.exe -cache 4096

Adding or removing a # switches a line off or on.
If you need to find it later, look in “C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\livestreamer”

3) Playing the streams and saving favourites is best done by making batch files for each channel, and saving them somewhere convenient.
For my example, I will make a batch file to watch Sp00ney at Twitch.tv

First we need to know what streams are available, so we use Livestreamer to find them.
It runs from the “Command Line Interface” (DOS/CLI), so first you have to open a DOS-box by typing “CMD” in the “Run” box on the start menu.
In the DOS window that now opens, typing “livestreamer http://twitch.tv/sp00ney” (without the quotes) will report the current streams available.
Add your choice of stream to the address and try again.
eg. “livestreamer http://twitch.tv/sp00ney mobile_chunked”
“livestreamer http://twitch.tv/unrealengine worst”
If everything works fine, you should now be watching the live stream.

To make it quick and easy to watch a channel with my settings, I now save that line in a plain txt file as “sp00ney.bat” etc.
This can now be simply double-clicked to open the channel.

Ageing techno-hippy armed with a radio show and not afraid to use it.

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