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Frank Schmirler e2a9b979d3 fixed compilation for VDR 2.3.7 (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
client client compatibility with VDR 2.3.1 (refs #2243) 6 years ago
libdvbmpeg fixed some warnings in libdvbmpeg (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
patches The patches intcamdevices and ignore_missing_cam are no longer required 8 years ago
remux Don't abort externremux when internal read buffer is empty 7 years ago
server fixed compilation for VDR 2.3.7 (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
streamdev-server - new mencoder config options: audio pid by language code 11 years ago
tools make sure TimedWrite(...) doesn't return failure after a slow but successful 7 years ago
.gitignore added .gitignore (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
CONTRIBUTORS fixed compilation for VDR 2.3.7 (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
COPYING updated outdated COPYING file and FSF address (fixes #767, fixes #768) 10 years ago
HISTORY fixed compilation for VDR 2.3.7 (thanks to Jasmin J) 4 years ago
Makefile Added missing install target (fixes #1274) 9 years ago
Makefile-1.7.33 Adapted Makefiles to VDR 1.7.36+ (thanks to macmenot). Old makefiles have 9 years ago
PROTOCOL Initial revision 17 years ago
README Fixed problems related to VTP filter streaming like ringbuffer overflows, 7 years ago
common.c Release 0.6.1 8 years ago
common.h Reimplemented some client device methods 9 years ago


This is a "plugin" for the Video Disk Recorder (VDR).

Written by: Sascha Volkenandt <>
Current maintainer: Frank Schmirler <>

Project's homepage:
Former project homepage:

Latest version available at:

See the file COPYING for license information.


1. Description
2. Installation
2.1 Compatibility
2.2 Compiling
2.3 Updating
3. Usage
3.1 Usage HTTP server
3.2 Usage IGMP multicast server
3.3 Usage VDR-to-VDR server
3.4 Usage VDR-to-VDR client
4. Other useful Plugins
4.1 Plugins for VDR-to-VDR clients
4.2 Plugins for Server
4.3 Alternatives
6. Known Problems

1. Description:

This PlugIn is a VDR implementation of the VTP (Video Transfer Protocol)
Version 0.0.3 (see file PROTOCOL) and a basic HTTP Streaming Protocol.

It consists of a server and a client part, but both parts are compiled together
with the PlugIn source, but appear as separate PlugIns to VDR.

The client part acts as a full Input Device, so it can be used in conjunction
with a DXR3-Card, XINE, SoftDevice or others to act as a working VDR
installation without any DVB-Hardware including EPG-Handling.

The server part acts as a Receiver-Device and works transparently in the
background within your running VDR. It can serve multiple clients and it can
distribute multiple input streams (i.e. from multiple DVB-cards) to multiple
clients using the native VTP protocol (for VDR-clients), or using the HTTP
protocol supporting clients such as XINE, MPlayer and so on. With XMMS or
WinAMP, you can also listen to radio channels over a HTTP connection.

It is possible to attach as many clients as the bus and network can handle, as
long as there is a device which can receive a specific channel. Multiple
channels homed on the same transponder (which is determined by it's frequency)
can be broadcasted with a single device.

Additional clients can be programmed using the Protocol Instructions inside
the PROTOCOL file.

2. Installation:

Let's say streamdev's version is 0.5.0 and vdr's version is 1.X.X. If you
use anything else please exchange the version numbers appropriately (this
way I don't have to update this section all the times;) ).

After compiling the PlugIn as stated below, start either (or both) parts of it
by specifying "-P streamdev-client" and/or "-P streamdev-server" on the VDR
command line.

What's important is that the client requests a channel using its Unique Channel
ID. So, in order to find the channel at the server, it must have the same ID
that is used on the client. You can achieve this by putting the server's
channels.conf on the client, preferably after scanning.

If you want to drive additional Input-Devices (with different sources) on the
client, you can merge the channels.conf files. VDR will detect if the local
device or the network device can receive the channels.

Last, but not least you have to copy the streamdev-server folder into the
"plugins/streamdev-server" subfolder of VDR's config-directory (which is equal
to your video-directory if not specified otherwise). For example, if you didn't
specify a separate config-directory, and set your video directory to "/video0",
the directory has to be copied to /video0/plugins/streamdev-server.

The directory contains a file named streamdevhosts.conf which you must adjust
to your needs. The syntax is the same as for svdrphosts.conf, so please consult
VDR's documentation on how to fill that file, if you can't do it on-the-fly.

There's also a sample script in this directory. It is used by
streamdev's external remux feature. The sample script uses mencoder by default.
Please check the script for further information. You can specify a different
script location with the -r parameter. The VDR commandline would then include a
"-P 'streamdev-server -r /usr/local/bin/'". Note the additional quotes,
as otherwise -r will be passed to VDR and not to streamdev.

2.1 Compatibility:

This version is not compatible to VDR releases older than 1.7.25. Use one of
the streamdev-0.5.x releases for older versions.

2.2 Compiling:

The Makefiles are for VDR 1.7.36 and above. For VDR 1.7.33 and below, please
replace the Makefiles in the main directory and in the client/ and server/
subdirectories with the corresponding Makefile-1.7.33 files. With VDR 1.7.34 and
1.7.35 YMMV ;)

cd vdr-1.X.X/PLUGINS/src
tar xvfz vdr-streamdev-0.5.0.tgz
ln -s streamdev-0.5.0 streamdev
cp -r streamdev/streamdev-server VDRCONFDIR/plugins/
cd ../..
make [options, if necessary] vdr
make [options, if necessary] plugins

To build only the plugin, change into the streamdev source folder and issue

To build only streamdev-server or only streamdev-client, use
make server
make client

2.3 Updating:

If you are updating streamdev from an earlier release, you might have to
perform some additional steps. Check which version you've been running before,
then read below for the necessary changes.

* Priorities:
(Affected: 0.5.x and older)

The server-side setting "Suspend behaviour" has been dropped in 0.6.0 in favour
of priority based precedence. A priority of 0 and above means that clients
have precedence. A negative priority gives precedence to local live TV on the
server. So if "Suspend behaviour" was previously set to "Client may suspend" or
"Never suspended", you will have to configure a negative priority. If the
"Suspend behaviour" was set to "Always suspended", the default values should do.

Configure the desired priorities for HTTP and IGMP Multicast streaming in the
settings of streamdev-server. If you haven't updated all your streamdev-clients
to at least 0.5.2, configure "Legacy Client Priority", too.

In streamdev-client, you should set "Minimum Priority" to -99. Adjust "Live TV
Priority" if necessary.

* Location of files:
(Affected: 0.3.x, 0.4.x, 0.4.0pre, 0.5.0pre)

Starting with streamdev 0.5.0, all additional files are kept in a directory
called "streamdev-server" inside VDR's plugin config directory. It is the new
default location of and the new place where streamdev-server
expects the file "streamdevhosts.conf". You will have to move this file to its
new location:

streamdev 0.3.x:
mv VDRCONFDIR/plugins/streamdevhosts.conf VDRCONFDIR/plugins/streamdev-server/

streamdev 0.4.x, 0.4.0pre and 0.5.0pre:
mv VDRCONFDIR/plugins/streamdev VDRCONFDIR/plugins/streamdev-server/

Now check the contents of streamdevhosts.conf. Does it contain a ""
entry? If your VDR machine is connected to the Internet, this line gives
*anyone* full access to streamdev, unless you took some other measures to
prevent this (e.g. firewall). You might want to remove this line and enable
HTTP authentication instead.

* Handling of externremux script:
(Affected: 0.3.x, 0.4.0pre, 0.5.0pre)

Streamdev server's externremux script became responsible for emitting all HTTP
headers. A quick and dirty extension to your current script would be:

echo -ne 'Content-type: video/mpeg\r\n'
echo -ne '\r\n'

However I encourage you to try the new script shipped with the
streamdev source distribution.

To emphasize the required change in externremux, the URL path for passing the
stream through externremux has changed from EXTERN to EXT.

3. Usage:

Start the server core itself by specifying -Pstreamdev-server on your VDR
commandline. To use the client core, specify -Pstreamdev-client. Both parts
can run in one VDR instance, if necessary.

Precedence between multiple clients and between client and server is controlled
with priorities. For HTTP and IGMP Multicast, the priority is configured in
streamdev-server's setup menu. A negative priority gives precedence to local
live TV on the server. Zero and positive values give precedence to the client.

The priority for VDR clients watching live TV is configured in the plugin setup
of streamdev-client. For other client tasks (e.g. recording a client side timer)
the same priority as on the client is used. With the parameter "Legacy client
Priority" in streamdev-server's setup menu you can configure the priority for
clients which cannot be configured to use negative priorities. It is used
when an old client is detected an it requests priority "0".

On the server, the main menu entry "Streamdev Connections" gives you a list
of currently connected clients. Use the "red" key to terminate a connection.
Note that depending on connection type and client, the client might re-connect
sooner or later.

The "blue" key in the server's main menu will suspend live TV on server. An
image is displayed instead. This would allow a low priority client to switch
to a different transponder. Enable "Client may suspend" in the server setup
to allow VDR clients to suspend live TV remotely.

In the server's setup there's also an option to suspend live TV when starting
the server. The "auto" option will suspend live TV if there's no device with
an MPEG decoder available which is typically the case on a headless server.

NOTE: Precedence is mainly an issue on One-Card-Systems, since with multiple
cards there is no need to switch transponders on the primary interface, if one
of the other cards is idle (i.e. if it is not blocked by a recording). If all
cards are in use (i.e. when something is recorded, or by multiple clients), this
applies to Multiple-Card-Systems as well.

If your client suffers from buffer underruns while watching live TV, you can
configure buffering on the server side. Enter a reasonable value (e.g. 300ms)
as "Live TV buffer delay (ms)" in the server setup.

3.1 Usage HTTP server:

You can use the HTTP part by accessing the server with a HTTP-capable media
player (such as XINE, MPlayer, and so on, if you have appropriate MPEG2-codecs
installed). In the PlugIn's Setup, you can specify the port the server will
listen to with the parameter "HTTP Server Port". The parameter "HTTP Streamtype"
allows you to specify a default stream type, which is used if no specific type
has been requested in the URL (see below). The supported stream types are:

TS Transport Stream (i.e. a dump from the device)
PES Packetized Elemetary Stream (VDR's native recording format)
ES Elementary Stream (only Video, if available, otherwise only Audio)
EXT Pass stream through external script (e.g. for converting with mencoder)

Assuming that you leave the default port (3000), point your web browser to


You will be presented a menu with links to various channel lists, including M3U
playlist formats.

If you don't want to use the HTML menu or the M3U playlists, you can access the
streams directly like this:


The first one will deliver a channel by number on the server, the second one
will request the channel by unique channel id. Use the special channel number 0
to see the server's current live TV channel.

In addition, you can specify the desired stream type as a path to the channel.


The first one would deliver the stream in TS, the second one in PES format.
Possible values are 'PES', 'TS', 'ES' and 'EXT'. You need to specify the ES
format explicitly if you want to listen to radio channels. Play them back i.e.
with mpg123.

mpg123 http://hostname:3000/ES/200

With 'EXT' you can also add parameters which are passed as arguments to the
externremux script (e.g. http://hostname:3000/EXT;param1=value1;param2=value2/3)
Check your script for the parameters it understands. For details
on how to modify or write your own, please see the chapter upon further down.

If you want to access streamdev's HTTP server from the Internet, do *not* grant
access for anyone by allowing any IP in "streamdevhosts.conf". Instead, pass the
"-a" commandline option to streamdev-server. It takes a username and a password
as argument. Clients with an IP not accepted by "streamdevhosts.conf" will then
have to login. The VDR commandline will have to look like this:

vdr ... -P 'streamdev-server -a vdr:secret' ...

Note the single quotes, as otherwise "-a" will be passed to VDR and not to
streamdev-server. The login ("vdr" in the example above) doesn't have to exist
as a system account.

3.2 Usage IGMP multicast server:

IGMP based multicast streaming is often used by settop boxes to receive IP TV.
Streamdev's multicast server allows you to feed live TV from VDR to such a
settop box. VLC is known to work well if you look for a software client.

The advantage of multicasting is that the actual stream is sent out only once,
regardless of how many clients want to receive it. The downside is, that you
cannot simply multicast across network boundaries. You need multicast routers.
For multicast streaming over the public Internet you would even need to register
for your own IP range. So don't even think of multicasting via Internet with
streamdev! Streamdev will send the stream only to one local ethernet segment and
all clients must be connected to this same segment. There must not be a router
in between. Also note that the client must not run on the streamdev-server

Each channel is offered on a different multicast IP. Channel 1 is available from
multicast IP, channel 2 from and so on. The upper limit
is which corresponds to channel 65279 ( is
reserved according to RFC-2365).

Before you can use streamdev's multicast server, you might need to patch VDR.
Binding an IGMP socket is a privileged operation, so you must start VDR as root.

The multicast server is disabled by default. Enter the streamdev-server setup
menu to enable it and - IMPORTANT - bind the multicast server to the IP of your
VDR server's LAN ethernet card. The multicast server will refuse to start with
the default bind address "".

Now edit your streamdevhosts.conf. To allow streaming of all channels, it must
contain "". Note that you cannot limit connections by client IP
here. You can however restrict which channels are allowed to be multicasted.
Enter individual multicast IPs instead of "".

By default, the linux kernel will refuse to join more than 20 multicast groups.
You might want to increase this up to "number_of_channels + 1". Note that it's
"number_of_channels", not "maximum_channel_number".

#First 100 channels:
bash# sysctl -w net.ipv4.igmp_max_memberships=101

#All channels:
bash# COUNT=$(grep -c '^[^:]' PATH_TO_YOUR/channels.conf)
bash# sysctl -w net.ipv4.igmp_max_memberships=$((COUNT + 1))

You need to run the sysctl command *before* VDR is started. The setting is lost
after the next reboot. Check the documentation of your Linux distro on how to
make the setting persist (i.e. have your distro change the value for you as
part of the boot procedure). Most likely /etc/sysctl.conf is your friend.

A multicast server never knows how many clients are actually receiving a stream.
If a client signals that it leaves a multicast group, the server has to query
for other listeners before it can stop the stream. This may delay zapping from
one transponder to an other. The client will probably requests the new channel
before the previous stream has been stopped. If there's no free DVB card, VDR
won't be able to fulfill the request until a DVB card becomes available and the
client resends the request.

3.3 Usage VDR-to-VDR server:

You can activate the VDR-to-VDR server part in the PlugIn's Setup Menu. It is
deactivated by default. The Parameter "VDR-to-VDR Server Port" specifies the
port where you want the server to listen for incoming connections. The server
will be activated when you push the OK button inside the setup menu, so there's
no need to restart VDR.

If both, streamdev-client and streamdev-server are installed, the additional
option "Loop prevention" will show up in the streamdev-server setup. If enabled,
streamdev-client won't be considered when streamdev-server is looking for a
device which is able to receive some channel. This is required if two or more
VDRs mutually share their DVB devices through streamdev. Otherwise you would
end up in a loop.

3.4 Usage VDR-to-VDR client:

Streamdev-client adds a "Suspend Server" item to VDR's mainmenu. With the
setup parameter "Hide Mainmenu Entry" you can hide this menu item if you don't
need it. "Suspend Server" is only useful if the server runs in "Offer suspend
mode" with "Client may suspend" enabled.

The parameter "Remote IP" uses an IP-Address-Editor, where you can just enter
the IP number with the number keys on your remote. After three digits (or if
the next digit would result in an invalid IP address, or if the first digit is
0), the current position jumps to the next one. You can change positions with
the left and right buttons, and you can cycle the current position using up
and down. To confirm the entered address, press OK. So, if you want to enter
the IP address "", just mark the corresponding entry as active and
type "127001<OK>" on your remote. If you want to enter "", type

The parameters "Remote IP" and "Remote Port" in the client's setup specify the
address of the remote VDR-to-VDR server to connect to. The client is disabled
by default, because it wouldn't make much sense to start the client without
specifying a server anyway. Activate the client by setting "Simultaneously used
Devices" to at least 1. Streamdev-client will allocate as many VDR devices as
you configure here. Each of these devices opens one connection to the server
and becomes associated with one of the server's devices (typically a DVB card)
on demand.

Only the needed PIDs are transferred, and additional PIDs can be turned on
during an active transfer. This makes it possible to switch languages, receive
additional channels on the same transponder and use plugins that use receivers
themselves (like osdteletext).

So for viewing live TV a single device is sufficient. But if the client needs
to receive channels from different transponders simultaneously (e.g. for PiP or
client side recordings) a second device becomes necessary.

To allocate additional devices, just increase the number and push the OK button.
There's no need to restart VDR. Deleting VDR devices on-the-fly is not possible.
However requests to switch channels will be refused by redundant devices.

The default timeout of 2 seconds for network operations should be sufficient in
most cases. Increase "Timeout" if you get frequent timeout errors in the log.

With "Filter Streaming" enabled, the client will receive meta information like
EPG data and service information, just as if the client had its own DVB card.
Link channels and even a client-side EPG scan have been reported to work.

If you have TV programs with dynamically changing PIDs (such as some german
regional programs like NDR), then you need to enable "Filter Streaming" to
correctly receive them. You also need to set in VDRs DVB setup the option
"Update channels" to at least "PIDs only" (or "names and PIDs") for this
to work.

"Filter streaming" uses internally a socketpair(2) to copy meta data to
VDR. This socketpair may require larger than default buffering. If
you see a mesage like the following in syslog,

cStreamdevFilter::PutSection(Pid:18 Tid: 64): Dropped 2995 bytes, max queue: 328640

then you should increase the streamdev client "FilterSockBufSize" value. A
good value is 3072000. You will need to first configure your linux to
permit such a large buffer size:

sysctl net.core.wmem_max=3072000

The precedence among multiple client VDRs receiving live TV from the same
server is controlled with "Live TV Priority".

With "Maximum Priority" and "Minimum Priority" you can keep VDR from considering
streamdev in certain cases. If for instance you have a streamdev client with its
own DVB card, VDR might use streamdev for recording. If this is not what you
want, you could set the maximum priority to 0. As recordings usually have a much
higher priority (default 50), streamdev is now no longer used for recordings.
The two parameters define the inclusive range of priorities for which streamdev
will accept to tune. Setting the minimum priority to a higher value than the
maximum, you will get two ranges: "up to maximum" and "minimum and above".

You can also configure the "Broadcast Systems / Cost" of the streamdev-client
device. On a pure streamdev-client only system it doesn't matter what you
configure here. But if your client is equipped with a DVB card, you should read
on. VDR always prefers the cheapest device in terms of supported broadcast
systems and modulations. A DVB-S2 card supports two broadcast systems (DVB-S and
DVB-S2). The supported modulations are counted as well (QPSK, QAM32/64/128/256,
VSB8/16, TURBO_FEC). So for a DVB-S2 card which does QPSK you'll get a total
cost of three. A DVB-C card (one broadcast system) which can do QAM32, QAM64,
QAM128, QAM256 would give you a total of five. Check your log for "frontend ...
provides ... with ..." messages to find out the cost of your DVB cards. Then
pick a suitable value for streamdev-client. With equal costs, VDR will usually
prefer the DVB card and take streamdev for recordings. If streamdev's costs are
higher, live TV will use your DVB card until a recordings kicks in. Then the
recording will take the DVB card and live TV will be shifted to streamdev
(you'll notice a short interruption of live TV).

To receive channels from multiple servers, create additional instances of the
streamdev-client plugin. Simply copy (don't link!) the binary to a different
name (e.g. streamdev-client2):


Now add -Pstreamdev-client2 to the VDR commandline. In the VDR plugin setup
a second streamdev-client entry should show up. Both instances have to be
configured individually.

4. Other useful Plugins:

4.1 Plugins for VDR-to-VDR clients:

The following plugins are useful for VDR-to-VDR clients (i.e. VDRs running the

* remotetimers (
Add, edit, delete timers on client and server

* timersync (
Automatically syncronizes timer lists of client and server. All recordings will
be made on the server

* remoteosd (
Provides access to the server's OSD menu

* epgsync (
Import EPG from server VDR

* femon (
Display signal information from server's DVB card. SVDRP support must be enabled
in femon's setup

4.2 Plugins for Server:

* dummydevice (
Recommended on a headless server (i.e. a server with no real output device).
Without this plugin, a budget DVB card could become VDR's primary device. This
causes unwanted sideeffects in certain situations.

4.3 Alternatives:

* xineliboutput (
With its networking option, xineliboutput provides an alternative to streamdev.
You will get the picture of the server VDR, including its OSD. However you
won't get independent clients, as they all share the same output.


When selecting streamtype "EXT", the TS stream from VDR is passed through an
external program for further processing. By default a script installed at
VDRCONFDIR/plugins/streamdev/ is expected, however you may
specify a different location as parameter -r to the streamdev-server plugin
(see chapter upon Installation above).

The TS stream is passed to the script on stdin, the resulting stream is expected
on stdout. The following parameters are passed to the script in the environment:

* Information on the channel:
REMUX_VTYPE Video type (2 for MPEG-2)
REMUX_VPID Video PID (undefined if audio only)
REMUX_PPID PCR PID (undefined if equal to VPID)
REMUX_TPID Teletext PID (undefined if not available)
REMUX_APID Space separated list of audio pids
REMUX_ALANG Space separated list of audio languages
REMUX_DPID Space separated list of dolby pids
REMUX_DLANG Space separated list of dolby languages
REMUX_SPID Space separated list of subtitle pids
REMUX_SLANG Space separated list of subtitle languages
REMUX_PARAM_* All (user supplied) parameters (e.g. REMUX_PARAM_x)

* Information on the connection (CGI like)
SERVER_PORT Local port
SERVER_PROTOCOL Streamdev protocol (HTTP, VTP, IGMP)
SERVER_SOFTWARE Streamdev version
All HTTP headers converted to uppercase, '-' replaced by '_' (e.g. USER_AGENT)

The script should perform the following steps (pseudocode):

write headers (including Content-Type) to STDOUT
write empty line to STDOUT
while (read STDIN)
remux to STDOUT

onSIGINT/SIGKILL: cleanup and exit

6. Known Problems:

* In VDR before 1.7.30 viewing encrypted channels is an issue as Streamdev
doesn't provide a (dummy) CAM. So out of the box, VDR won't ever try to receive
encrypted channels from streamdev. Pick one of the following solutions to work
around the problem:

1. Force VDR to use streamdev. Open the channels menu on the client (or edit its
channels.conf if you know how to do this) and set the CA field of all channels
that only the server can decrypt to streamdev's device index. Usually streamdev
will get number 9 or 10. Streamdev logs the actual device number when starting
up. So please consider the logs for the correct value. Remember to fill in
hexadecimal values if you are using an editor to modify your channels.conf
(number 10 becomes an "a", number 11 a "b", ...).

2. Apply either patch "patches/vdr-1.6.0-1.7.29-intcamdevices.patch" or patch
"patches/vdr-1.6.0-1.7.29-ignore_missing_cam.diff" to your client VDR.
Intcamdevices is the clean solution, but it modifies the VDR API. So you will
need to recompile all of your plugins. The ignore_missing_cam patch is trivial,
no need to recompile other plugins. However it is not suitable for clients with
a DVB card of their own.