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Unattended stream recording with MPlayer

Feb 03, 2011, 22:05 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Silas Brown)

"The Linux movie player program MPlayer has an option to record an Internet-broadcast video stream for playing later. The recording can be done from the command line. This is useful for two reasons: (1) you can record at a time when you are too busy to watch, (2) if your Internet connection is poor for realtime video but reasonable for non-realtime bandwidth (some low-end cable connections are like this), then you might get better results by using ssh to log into a well-connected remote box, record the broadcast from there, and then download the resulting file in non-realtime (assuming the broadcast is short, otherwise this might not be practical).

"However, many versions of MPlayer have trouble doing this unattended. Firstly, if the connection to the stream goes down for whatever reason, MPlayer makes no attempt to re-establish it, and secondly it's difficult to tell MPlayer when to stop recording (there are command-line timing options but they don't always work, and interrupt signals can be ignored).

"One workaround is to write a script in Python (or some other language) that runs MPlayer inside a "pseudo-terminal" and control it via this terminal. The script can then take responsibility of restarting MPlayer if necessary, and sending a keystroke to close it down at the end."

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