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Remote Viewing

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The Human Potential Movement that arose out the the late 1960’s was a catalysing force investigating the phenomenon of remote viewing.  The Stargate Project was an attempt to determine the military applications of psychic phenomena such as remote viewing.

 

But this article is absolutely nothing to do with that – this is about the ability to remotely view video’s on the various TV’s throughout the bunker.

For the interested there are 2 TV devices in the bunker – A device is located in the main habitation area, and in a secondary device is located in the main barracks.  A mobile server containing media files is available within the confines of the network – this device is a legacy system running on a legacy windows server.  The challenge was therefore twofold  :

  1. Improve network bandwidth to the barracks area to facilitate the streaming of media from the windows server.
  2. A mechanism for streaming media from the windows server to the barracks
  3. A mechanism for streaming media from the windows server to the main habitation area

 

Challenge 1 – Streaming Media from the Windows Server

Some research was undertaken and a streaming service solution was identified, and implemented.  Serviio is a Free DLNA server for streaming media throughout the network. Installation was so incredibly easy – and I was able to set the server up in literally a few minutes.  So that was easy to resolve.

 

Challenge 2 – Receiving streaming media in the habitation area

The Xbox 360 in the habitation area is already hooked up to the TV and network there.  The Xbox 360 connects directly via a hardline to a switch and router, allowing the Xbox to see internal and external network resources.  Running the System Video player on the Xbox 360 revealed the Serviio server, and I was able to steam video resources from the windows server to the xbox.

 

Challenge 3 – Increasing the network bandwidth to the barracks

The WiFi available in the barracks – while suitable for email and general browsing wouldn’t really stretch to allow streaming video – therefore a larger level of bandwidth was needed.  The main development offices have a 200mbps network connection via an Ethernet over Power plug.  The main bunker infrastructure was built in the 1930’s and laying new cable would be impractical.  Therefore I decided to add a second Power over Ethernet plug in the Barracks.  I was able to test the network speed using the Acer Aspire netbook.

 

Challenge 4 – Streaming the video footage to the Barracks TV

What was needed was a low power quiet machine that would interface between the network and the TV – and enter stage right : the raspberry pi I bought last year!  I downloaded a copy of RaspiBMC and was able to start streaming straight away.  To add the Serviio server, I had to add the server through the XBMC

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 Bonus Challenge – Controlling XBMC remotely

Controlling the playback of XBMC could be problematic – after all the Raspberry pi is currently configured to run from a keyboard and mouse – this doesn’t really build on the remote control interface that we have grown used to over the years of TV consumption.  Luckily there is a remote control application available on the Android store – the official XBMC remote Control application.  Setting up the remote control is relatively straight forward :

On the XBMC (Raspberry Pi) –

  • In XBMC, go to SettingsNetwork. Under Servers, you’ll need to enable the webserver. Note the port or in doubt set it to 8080.
  • If you don’t set a password, you can leave the username as it is. In this case you’ll have clear the user/password option in the Andriod XBMC Remote app.
  • Switch to Event Server and make sure it is enabled, as well as the option Allow other computers to connect:
  • In case you don’t know the IP address of XBMC, you can display it by pressing “S” with the skin PM3.HD and the choose System Info:
  • Full instructions can be found on the wiki page here.

On the Remote Control

Interestingly the xbmc seemingly allows for duelling remotes – so we have been able to ‘fight’ for control of the XBMC machine – now if I could somehow lag the network traffic on port 8080 for Rachel’s Galaxy S4 then I’d always win.

 

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