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Streaming MP3s from Helix server to Flash player

Posted on 2004-04-26
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Basically, I have a Flash player that plays MP3s. I'd like to leverage the streaming capabilities of the Helix server to stream MP3s to this Flash player I've created.

My question is:

--Can Helix stream MP3s?
--Can this streamed MP3 be used sans RTSP or RAM file?
--If not, is there any suggestion for how to use a Flash MP3 player to connect to an MP3 without simply pointing to the URL? And if so will it still be using the streaming capabilities of the Helix server?
--And, finally, has there been any success using the RAM file pointed to by a Flash player?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Question by:stillmoretogain
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by:daluu
ID: 10925595
Interesting project you would like to do. Something work checking out for me.

However, I doubt you could do much interfacing Flash with the Helix server, I think. One thing for sure, RAM is not supported by Flash (unless you have it as a link that simply opens the RAM file in a browser). Only MP3 extensions are supported for embedding/streaming within Flash. I've never done MP3 streaming on Helix server, but I think its only done by RTSP and Flash probably accepts HTTP only. You might want to look at Apple's Darwin Streaming Server (for Quicktime), which definitely does do MP3, as I've tried it and it uses RTSP.

Flash should stream MP3's loaded into it I think, but it was meant more as in static file retrieval I believe. What you can do for retrieving MP3's dynamically instead of having it preset in your Flash movie, is to either

1) have the location of the MP3 to be retrieved stored as a Flash variable that it can use to load the file. You can do this by setting a variable, called "source" for example, in the Flash file, then give the variable a value dynamically by appending to URL of Flash SWF file page like http://www.site.com/flashmovie.swf?source=myMP3.mp3 (assuming MP3 in same directory)

2) using ASP/PHP/JSP/etc. scripting to retrieve the MP3 file from a directory, database, or interface with Helix/Darwin/Windows Streaming server. with results imported into Flash movie (using the MX technologies)

In any case, how to load the MP3 file into flash, you'll have to look that up, as I haven't tried that myself yet.
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by:stillmoretogain
ID: 10929924
Thanks, daluu. Looks like you've drawn the same conclusion I've come to: sometimes forging new ground can be a solo act. It is frustrating to see that no one has tried to do this, and that Helix and Flash have such a distant relationship.

In your first example, does it assume that the SWF and MP3 are in the same directory? If so, your suggestion is basically to bypass the Helix server and store the MP3, SWF, and conceivably the XML within the same directory on the same server. One of my goals is to keep all of my rich media (excluding SWF files) in one media repository, the Helix server.

I'll look more closely at your second suggestion and let you know how it works out. I have an ASP resource that might be able to shed some light on this suggestion.

Thanks again.
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by:daluu
ID: 10930365
well, you can set it to a different directory, whether by scripting or variable passing as in the first example, but you will have to add that part of the info in your Flash file. Otherwise, for the first example, you would have to precede the filename with the relative or absolute path to pass to the variable.
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by:daluu
ID: 10930629
the flash documentation doesn't say it supports RTSP, so at present, you probably can't make much use of the Helix server except:

If you can set the Helix server to use HTTP also on some port, then you can try that. Flash might be able to load the streamed MP3 from Helix server if the protocol is HTTP.
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by:stillmoretogain
ID: 10933135
I can set the RAM file to point to an HTTP using the Real server. The question that comes up is how will Flash know what to do with a RAM file. Odds are it won't. I'm not quite sure how to get around that though.
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by:daluu
ID: 10933767
you're right. flash won't recognize the RAM.

Humm, I've never worked with Helix server before, but I guess you still need to use a RAM file then huh? Do you still need a RAM file for RTSP? I know RAM is used for Real Audio/Video (over HTTP & RTSP), but I thought you can stream the MP3 simply with a URL like rtsp://site.com/file.mp3 (without use of RAM)

I know that's how Darwin Streaming server & Windows media works. but I haven't tried doing that using HTTP on them, only RTSP & MMS.

you might want to check into the Helix documentation on streaming MP3s and HTTP streaming (if you're not sure about it)
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daluu earned 500 total points
ID: 10933866
I checked the Helix server docs online. seems you're out of luck. HTTP is simply used as a pass thru. streaming is still done by RTSP, which flash doesn't support.
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Author Comment

by:stillmoretogain
ID: 10933936
Yeah, just as I thought. Looks like we'll have to use it as a web server. Thanks for your help daluu.
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