Webcast video help needed

Lazyweb, I need:

1: A replacement for Justin.tv that isn't Streamup.com.

2: A cheap SDI Frame Synchronizer.

Can you help?


  1. Since Justin.tv shut down, Streamup is the only replacement site that I've found for our webcast video that meets the following specifications:

    1. Accepts RTMP video streams 24/7;
    2. Has a web-page-embeddable player;
    3. Does not spam my viewers with ads;
    4. Is free to both me and my viewers.

    However, they fail to meet the implicit specification, "actually works."

    Their embedded Flash player sometimes makes all three browsers just go catatonic-hypnowheel for minutes at a time; on one of my machines it will just never load at all, but on another it will, in the same browser; and since they made some "improvements" recently, FMLECmd won't connect to their server at all if the input source is digital instead of analog. Though the FMLE GUI will connect. Which is a whole lot of WTF.

    I've tried to contact them via their support email and Twitter and a couple of times with no response. After my last blog post, I got a glad-handing response from a marketing guy, but after I replied with, "Yes, here are my very specific technical problems"... crickets.

    So, FMLECmd is junk, but it used to work with Justin, and it worked with Streamup as of just-before-their-upgrade. Presumably there's a way to do RTMP streaming on MacOS with ffmpeg, but I don't know it.

  2. A Frame Synchronizer takes an SDI HD stream that has inconsistent, variable sync and outputs a single, stable SDI or HDMI stream. I would like to spend closer to a hundred bucks on this than two grand, which seems to be what these things retail for. We found a cheap Hotronic AY86 on eBay which sounded like it would do the trick, but it arrived DOA. Any suggestions?

    We need this because our new SDI video cameras are not genlocked, so when our SDI matrix switcher changes inputs, the sync changes. This causes downstream HDMI devices, like the TVs in the restaurant, to go blank for 8-10 seconds and renegotiate, like they do when you un-plug the cable, every time the switcher switches. Because HDMI is awesome.

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22 Responses:

  1. Is staying with RTMP really, truly a requirement? I see a lot of ways to run your own server and to play the format, but it doesn't seem like any of the stream aggregation sites (other than those you mention) actually support it. (I'm ignorant of any other standard. Looks like everybody's just presuming you'll be happy to write something to talk to their API, which is cute, in that 1995 kinda way.)

    I recognize that you've got a lot of stuff that would have to rebuilt internally if you've moved away from RealTime, but it seems like sites like Twitch and YouTube won't ever support it because of the faint whiff of patent, and the explicit clause that prevents "intercept[ing] streaming video, audio and/or data content for storage in any device or medium".

    • jwz says:

      Everybody supports RTMP. That's what FMLE (Flash Media Live Encoder) does.

      If you think I can move away from "real time" video then I think you don't know what my business does.

      • Oh, sorry! Then I'm more ignorant than I thought, which isn't a shock. (I got confused by the several changes of hands, but now that you point it out: yeah, duh, that's all Macromedia.)

        What prevents streaming through YouTube or Twitch, then? Is it that the ad spam thing or do they actually charge for the service? (Or is it the "content analysis" would flag RIAA etc violations for DJ and even live shows?)

        I honestly don't understand: it seems like this should be a super-simple service to provide, and then make money off providing cloud storage for video replay to a subset of the customers (like, eg, CrashPlan does for backups). I recognize that I'm now just saying, "Gee, that thing you were looking for sure seems like it should already exist."

        • jwz says:

          I haven't tried using the Youtube "live streaming" thing because their documentation is incomprehensible, it's not clear if their API allows continuous streams or only discreet "events", and also, yes I strongly suspect that they'd content-ID my shit, black it out, and then I wouldn't be able to find an actual human to talk to who would believe that yes indeedy I pay license fees on this shit.

          It's still on my list, but for those reasons, as close to the bottom as I can push it.

          • Huh. It's seems weird that there's a vacuum here, but maybe part of the problem is that any service that was capable of doing this obvious thing would be immediately flooded with porn, the policing of which would demolish any profit incentive. Boo!

            (It's obviously insane to suggest that you go pay for a bunch of "cloud" servers and just host this yourself, given that you get, at best, marginal value in renown out of that, which doesn't make DNA relevantly more business. But it's weird that there aren't enough people who want to do this same thing yet. Cf, "where's my flying car?)

            • Chris D. says:

              There's not a void--Fastly did a seamless job of live-streaming RICON 2012, though I don't know the details of their solution (e.g. what player they used). There are others. Antiquated though it sometimes seems, they charge money for a service.

              It would not surprise me if there's a lack of people doing it for free.

          • LafinJack says:

            ...and then I wouldn't be able to find an actual human to talk to...

            I'm becoming increasingly convinced that Google and it's various tentacle-services don't have any support staff at all, just user forums as a customer rage release valve with the rest handled by automation.

            • jwz says:

              If I was the owner of a Chinese company whose primary export was tiny electronic components made of the bone marrow of children and executed prisoners, "Rage Release Valve" would be my best seller.

  2. James says:

    - free
    - doesn't spam my viewers with ads
    - actually works

    I'm pretty sure you can only have two of these things.

    • jwz says:

      I had all three of those things with Justin.tv for seven years.

      But hey, your comment is super helpful and witty, please keep it up.

  3. dinatural says:

    Hmmmm not seeing my comment pop up, so I'm resubmitting...

    The 24h streams I was watching on Justin have moved to a site called vaughnlive dot tv

    They seem to support RTMP too

    • jwz says:

      Well, that site seems to work a lot better than Streamup does, but they play a 60 second video ad before you can watch anything, which sucks.

  4. Phil Nelson says:

    Honestly it might be worth some DIY. What're you up to this week? How many streamers do DNA events typically get?

  5. a_0001 says:

    You won't find an HD-SDI frame sync as a stand-alone device at the price you want to pay. I couldn't even buy and assemble the parts for one--an FPGA, SerDes, DRAM, a custom board good to 1.5 Gb/s, connectors, enclosure, and power supply--for that, much less hope to cover the fixed costs of design, firmware, prototypes, and EMC testing.

    Even if you were to put a frame sync downstream of the switcher, it might not do what you expect. You will trade the artifacts the TVs make after HDMI switches for the artifacts the frame sync makes after SDI switches. Depending on the quality of the frame sync, the latter might be less objectionable, but there is still likely to be a visible glitch of some kind--black, green, frozen video, noise, whatever--after every switch, as the frame sync's input circuit locks to the new incoming signal. (Frame syncs are meant to fix time base and relative timing errors in a stable signal, not to conceal switching transients.)

    The usual solution to this problem is to genlock as many of the cameras and other sources as possible, and then to install a separate frame sync at each input of the switcher that is fed from a non-genlocked source, so the switcher--assuming it's designed to wait for the start of a frame--can switch cleanly among them. Since it sounds like you already have a switcher, you'd probably rather not hear this, but there are now relatively inexpensive production switchers, like the Blackmagic Design ATEM series (the 8-input model is $1,700) that have built-in frame syncs on every input.

  6. David says:


    I realize this is quite backwards, but have you considered using something to get the signal into a computer (after the matrix switcher) and then route the signal to the displays?

    Something like this:



    It seems a bit mad to use a coputer for this kind of signal conditioning, but a computer in the signal chain might actually be cheaper and more versatile?


  7. Andrew Stern says:

    Here's a frame sync/delay/embed/de-embed from Roland for $750. That's going to be the bottom of the barrel as far as pricing goes for an FS.


    Otherwise you might consider a switcher with sync on input, much like the aforementioned Blackmagic

    • Andrew Stern says:

      If you want to stay free, just try to get Youtube working, it'll be the least scummy option.


      Also, without paying, you're stuck with junk streaming services that just might shut down one day with zero warning. Like Jtv eventually did when the money ran out.

      • jwz says:

        The problem with YouTube is Content ID: their robots are going to black out our stream the first time a dj plays, well, anything, because there is (so far as I know) no way to declare to them that we've paid ASCAP etc already.

        And Justin.TV did not shut down when the money ran out, they shut down when the money rolled in after they got acquired.

        I did get 7 years out of them first.

  8. JWZ -- we can help. Ping me. https://www.cine.io/