Sunday 18 August 2013

Streaming video now enabled on Possum TV

I've decided to enable streaming video for the Possum TV box cameras.

My main reason for doing this is that Kiki has started bringing her baby into the nest boxes, and you really need full speed video to appreciate the little one leaping around.

To enable streaming mode, simply select it under "Update Rate" as follows:

You might need to refresh the page, or possibly restart your browser, the first time you do this. If you're using Internet Explorer, you need to answer "yes" if it asks you whether you want to run the "Cambozola" Java Applet. If Internet Explorer sits there like a dummy, displaying a white box with a red X in the corner, you might need to install Java, or re-enable it if it's installed but disabled - although a better solution would be to use a different browser.

There are a few limitations you'll have to bear in mind when using the streaming video:

The first thing is that a single user viewing a box camera takes perhaps 80% of my upload bandwidth. This means that if two people are looking at boxes simultaneously, one or both will start to get jerky and jumpy video. It's still likely to be better than the old system of one update per second, but it won't look as good as it could.

To make matters worse, I'm streaming using "multipart jpeg" format, which doesn't have sophisticated caching like you have on sites like YouTube. This means that network conditions anywhere on the Internet between your computer and the server might also make the video go jumpy.

If this happens to you, there's no much you can do except switch to a slower update rate or try again later.

The bandwidth problem should go away when we get the NBN here, but this is still 1-3 years away (or may never happen at all if Abbott gets in).  In the mean time we just have to do the best we can.

Nextly, I've set the server up to automatically stop streaming after 30 minutes of continuous viewing. This is to stop it chewing up bandwidth if you accidentally leave it running. Unfortunately, the system has no facility to pop up a message to inform you of this; the picture will either go blank, or simply freeze, which isn't always easy to notice. To get it running again after it's stopped, just refresh the page.

Also, bear in mind that this is all experimental and I've done very little testing so far. Please email me or post a message on this blog if you have any problems, comments or suggestions.


  1. I have had my heart in my mouth all day watching that joey. My God. Never still! Poor Kiki!

    Please reassure me that the joey can't get out the top of the nest box!

    1. Jeni,

      Thanks for letting me know the streaming video is working. It's lucky Kiki has chosen to use the box today so that we've got something to look at.

      Don't worry about the baby. The box they're in is the safest of all the boxes because it's located in the garage on top of a cupboard. If the little one got out, it could easily climb back in again without any danger. Also, I've seen the babies exploring the nest boxes before and, although they often climb up to the entrance hole, they never do more than stick their noses out.

  2. Great to know! We think you've done a lovely job with box 7 (for anyone else reading this, head over here for details: We've been sending people your way who are looking for nest box building ideas.

    1. Thanks for that. I'll also add that anyone who wants more information on possum boxes can email me directly.