Saturday, December 18, 2010

Porting to Mobile Platforms (via Adobe AIR)

A port is in the work currently.  Android 2.2 tablet/phone and BlackBerry tablet are the first targets.  A prototype is running on both, but a few things are not working.  The GUI needs some changes to accommodate the various screen sizes and resolutions.  Looking for testers.  Please PM if interested.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Persistent Connection

Just updated the client to maintain the connections "forever".  If your internet connection disengages and reconnects at a later time, the client will reestablish the connections that you had previously, and streaming would continue as before.  With this, you can have permanent connections with family and friends.  When you are not conversing, just turn your microphone and webcam off.  The other side would do the same.  The network bandwidth and CPU usage is minimal in this mode, since there are no active media streams.  When you want to start a conversation, just turn on your microphone and call to them.  Hopefully, they are there and respond in kind :).

This usage is ideal for mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, netbooks), that can use multiple ways for internet connection (wi-fi, 3g, 4g, etc).  Switching between service providers should only cause momentary disruption.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Streaming Modes

Now you can select which of the three streaming modes to send your video & audio to others.  When you switch mode, the receiving side automatically follows you.  Note: the owner (publisher) of the webcam controls the streaming mode.  So while you elected to send your video via P2P, you may be receiving video from someone who is sending their video via the Server, P2P-Assist, or just P2P.  In other words, sending and receiving modes are independent of each other.

P2P Assist mode requires user confirmation in a dialog box.  This is because in this mode, you allow the software to receive video streams, AND possibly forward those streams to others that are interested in them as well.  Of course, it also means you may be the recipient of streams forwarded from another receiver, instead of from the sender directly.  Basically, the software determines what is the optimal path to send to each receiver, given it has access to each receiver's uplink bandwidth.

NOTE:  if you choose DENY in the dialog box, you will not be able to send or receive any stream via P2P Assist for the entire session.  The dialog box only appeared once per session.  To get the dialog box back, you must RESTART the session, and sign on again.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New feature: Peer-2-Peer (P2P) Streaming

This new version now supports both Client/Server and Peer-2-Peer (P2P) topologies.  You can mix and match them.  That is, user A, who has limited uplink bandwidth, can choose to send his webcam video to the Server, which will distribute it to user B and user C.  Meanwhile, user B, with unlimited uplink bandwidth, can choose to send his webcam video directly to user A and user C (using P2P), bypassing the Server.  In this case, user B doubles his uplink bandwidth usage, but his stream gets to user A and user C faster.

If you are in a 2-party conversation, P2P is the best option, because it will be faster and your bandwidth usage is the same as Client/Server mode.  If there are more than 2, you would need to consider your uplink bandwidth before choosing P2P.

The third option, Peer-Assisted Streaming, is currently in the works.  This mode allows user A to send his webcam video stream directly to user B, who has unlimited uplink bandwidth, would forward user A's video stream to user C.  The Server is not used, and user A didn't double his uplink bandwidth usage.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Echo Cancellation

If you are hearing echo of yourself, it means the other end is using a speaker/microphone set that doesn't have echo cancellation built-in the hardware or software driver.  There are a couple of ways to avoid this:

1)  Use a headset instead of speakers
2)  Use a microphone that has Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC)

The following devices support AEC, and had been confirmed to work with ReelPortal:

- Asus EEE 1000HE netbook (using RealTek HD Audio driver).  Fortunately, many netbooks have this driver as well, or something else that's equivalent.

- LG MSB-100 Bluetooth Speakerphone (~$20 on ebay).  Other bluetooth speakerphones should also work (check for Motorola EQ5, EQ7).

- Logitech EasyCall desktop speakerphone (must use with Logitech driver).

- Logitech QuickCam Deluxe for Notebook, using Logitech QuickCam 10.xx software (for Windows 2000).  Do NOT use the latest Logitech driver/software (for XP, Win 7), as they crippled it so that AEC only works with their Vid software.  UpdateAcoustic echo cancellation ("AEC") is no longer available with versions 11.7 and higher of the Logitech® QuickCam® software. AEC is available from most leading video-calling applications (link).  In other words, new Logitech webcams do not have AEC in the drivers!

- Logitech QuickCall Speakerphone (available on ebay for ~15 USD) is another great product with AEC.

NOTE: Logitech AEC may introduce some delay in the audio playback on slow systems.

Please report other devices with AEC confirmed working with ReelPortal.  Thank you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Introduction (BETA) is a Flash-based video conference software.  Thus, using a web browser with Flash 10 plugin, users of different Operating Systems (Linux, Windows, OSX) can talk to each other without installing any software.  The software is free to use for anyone.  No registrations necessary.

As with any beta software, you may encounter bugs.  Please report it here in the comment section.  Also, do bring up features that you'd like to see implemented.

Thank you.  Enjoy.

Short intro clip: