How to turn any VGA, DVI, HDMI source into a live stream with Skype
This tutorial explains how to use the popular video conferencing software Skype™ to stream or broadcast a VGA, SDI, DVI, or HDMI video source signal to a remote viewer.
Skype is an attractive communication platform with two way audio and video communication. Unfortunately screen sharing is only available between two users, not in group calls. There are also performance trade offs when the same computer is screen scrapping and encoding audio-video for Skype. With this architecture, the quality of video may suffer. This means that, depending on multiple factors including computer loading, network congestion and Skype video compression, the streamed video may contain artifacts and the resulting frame rate may vary.
Epiphan customers can inject and stream video during a Skype call using Epiphan video grabbers user as shown in the diagram above.
Connecting Epiphan Frame Grabbers to Stream Video over Skype
- A laptop or computer with Skype installed
- A video source (another laptop or device) with a VGA, HDMI, DVI, or SDI output port
- An Epiphan video grabber (installed, if it’s DVI2PCIe or DVI2PCIe Duo)
- Epiphan software drivers and Capture tool installed (see the downloads page for your video grabber)
Live stream with Skype using video grabbers
- Make sure your Epiphan device is connected and powered on. Open Skype. Select Tools > Options.
- Select the “Video Settings” tab. Then, from the drop-down “Select Webcam” list, select your Epiphan device (in this case, it is DVI2USB 3.0).
- That’s it! You can now make video calls to your Skype contacts and broadcast the video captured by the Epiphan frame grabber.
- The diagram below shows an Ultrasound machine’s VGA output streamed into a Skype video conference call.
The following are screenshots taken from the Skype broadcasted video of the ultrasound images:
- In the second example a video from a GE Logiq Book is being live streamed in real-time to a remote participant.
In the screenshot above, typical artifacts that occur as a result of Skype video compression can be seen. Unfortunately, since Skype has no options for video quality controls, there is no way to get rid of them. If artifacts are acceptable for your use, video grabbers are the best choice.
For applications that require higher resolution and crystal clear accuracy, Epiphan’s streaming and recording products are a better fit.
Live stream with Skype and an Epiphan streaming/recording product
Epiphan’s portable streaming and recording products such as Pearl and VGADVI Broadcaster give the user control over streaming quality. Allowing configuration of parameters such as frame rates, video quality and latency results in improved end user experience. The solutions provide a more reliable HD Video stream vs. a video stream transmitted over Skype.
How does it work?
Skype, is designed for visual video calls with webcams. The video compression settings in Skype are set automatically depending on the state and quality of the connection and the performance of the computer running Skype, and are tuned for showing people as well as possible. However, the connection quality in Skype is not consistent from call to call. Therefore there is no guarantee that video quality will be consistent, let alone HD quality.
With Epiphan’s VGADVI Broadcaster, settings that are out of control to Skype users, like bit rate, frame rate, key frame interval, and choice of codec can be adjusted by the user. Users can also stream directly to end-points, or through a content distribution network so that others can also view the video conference materials and video streaming in HD quality. These settings can be used to ensure reliable and desired video quality depending on the network used.