Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Record/Download Live streaming and streaming videos(Live TV)

Multimedia has become an important part of the Internet nowadays. Consumers have realized that Internet connectivity is as important as a telephone connection and have showed willingness to invest in high bandwidth connection. This has led to a proliferation of rich multimedia websites- youtube is a prime example. Although Youtube and such sites generally offer recorded videos, live streaming is also steadily gaining momentum. Nearly all the Indian news channels provide a link to "live TV" , recently IPL also broadcast their matches live on the Internet. This can pose a problem to the average internet user though.

I was recently enjoying a hot debate aired on Times Now and decided to download it so that I could show it to my friends. Usually the channel will never provide a link to download the live news but that did not hassle me since I had a registered copy of IDM. It is when IDM failed to detect the multimedia stream that I realized that downloading live streaming is not as easy as it seems. I googled around but did not get satisfactory results. Finally I turned to Wireshark and soon it was clear that the news site used a protocol called RTSP(Real Time Streaming Protocol) to serve the content. I tried VLC media player to play the RTSP stream but it simply crashed.

Another round of googling and I found a host of software claiming to download RTSP streams. Most of them were either not able to detect the streaming video or froze. Many failed to work in Vista too. Finally I was able to find a wonderful program called Replay Media Catcher which can not only download and record RTMP streams but also HTTP live streams (like Youtube vids) and RTSP stream. It works pretty well with Vista and has no issues with the infamous Windows UAC feature. There is also a nifty feature which allows you to extract mp3 from the flv files.

After the recording has started you can close the browser since Replay Media Catcher will still download the stream. So now you do not need to sit and watch live tv since you can always record it and play it on your favorite video player, just like a movie, whenever you want to! It will download the stream and store it in a user defined folder.

NOTE: Remember to run Replay Media Catcher first and put it in 'start recording' mode before you browse to a  live streaming site, otherwise the software won't be able to detect the stream and the browser may become unresponsive.

Replay Media Catcher is not a freeware and you may want to try out its trial version or look for it on torrent network!

Interesting Links:

1. Replay Media Catcher Homepage
2. Download Replay Media Catcher
3. Times Now Live TV
4. NDTV Live TV
5. Wiki on RTSP 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Run free Google web proxy server

In our college someone or the other is always in a search for the ultimate Cyberoam 'bypasser'- something which is undetectable and can run all kinds of services. For all those unaware of Cyberoam, it is a network security product which (at the simplest level) can block websites and applications deemed harmful by the administration. Our administration has blocked most of the sites including rapidshare, torrent sites and many other. Obviously this can get annoying and frustrating especially when useful sites also get blocked. So far I have tried using simple web based proxy servers on the net(like hidemyass.com etc) as well as advanced VPN services like SecurityKiss and PingFu, but they have not lasted very long. The admin probably finds out by noting high network activity caused by such tunneling solutions and blocks the corresponding ip address and port rendering these services useless. Infact I have shared a few tricks/software to tunnel through Cyberoam and like network security products on this blog as well. I have provided links to those articles at the bottom.

Today I present to you yet another such software package with which you can hope to fool such firewalls. You might be surprised to know that Google provides applications which allow you to deploy proxy servers for (obviously) free! Ever heard of Google Apps Engine? It is a part of their cloud services where you can run your web applications on their infrastructure. Projects such as Mirrorrr have been developed which allow you to create a proxy server and deploy it on Google's servers. Surely no firewall in the world will block traffic to Google's trusted servers?!


The first thing you need to do is to sign up with appengine.google.com and create an "application". The application identifier is basically the subdomain name that will host your proxy server.

Next you need to download python (preferably version 2.6). The link fo python 2.6.4: python 2.6.4 . Now download google apps engine sdk for python from code.google.com. Download the following zip file ( Google Apps Proxy Google Apps proxy ) which contains python scripts and a simple web page. The python scripts have been taken from project mirrorrr (http://code.google.com/p/mirrorrr/). This is a google apps engine application which mirrors the content of the supplied URL.

Deploying the application on the google server:

First edit the app.yaml file and edit the application field with the name of your application. Then, run the google apps engine program and click on edit-> preferences and fill in the fields. Click on File-> Add existing application. Browse to the 'proxy server settings' folder and click on OK.

Select the application and click on Deploy. You should see a python.exe cmd prompt appearing and another small console screen indicating the progress. Hopefully you will get a message that the application was successfully deployed.

Finally browse to http(s)://www.[application identifier].appspot.com. BTW Https also works! You can now freely access any site.

Obviously you cannot run any other blocked services such as a torrent client. Also not all web elements are supported and therefore some pages might not function properly. This might not be the ultimate solution to fool Cyberoam but is certainly a simple one and should not be detected by the admins quickly.

Important Links:

1. Download Google Apps Proxy files
2. Wiki on Google Apps engine
3. Google Apps homepage
4. http://www.labnol.org/internet/setup-proxy-server/12890/
5. Homepage of Cyberoam
6. Using PingFU to access blocked services
7. Hacking PingFU for unlimited access
8. Using VPN software to access blocked services