I am trying to find a professional solution that will allow me to serve a live streaming webcam from my FreeBSD server.
I say professional, because I need to handle an audience of somewhere between 5 and 50 simultaneous visitors; I do not want to stream it off of the machine that has the camera connected to it.
I have scoured the web and found pitifuly more than adult webcam 'communities' and cheap so-called professional web cam software that usually crashes at least once in each 2 hour session.
Here is what I am trying to do:
I have a client for whom I am building a subcription based pay site. On the site we wish to have a live webcam feed that members can tune into. At this point we have no idea how many simultaneous viewers to expect; but until the stats are in, I would like to at least be able to handle 10-20 simultaneous viewers with a possibility of expanding later.
The client will be at home using her DV cam from a win XP box, and the site will be hosted on a FreeBSD server. I want to prevent access to the cam from anyone who is not logged-in to the site as a member.
I have tried:
Surveyor.com's webcam sat and satcam package but they were very slow in returning technical questions and not of much help at all.
webcamXP - works fine, until it crashes, but I can't protect the stream. Since the applet is served off of the computer with the cam, anyone can view the source code, then copy the URL to the applet, effectively building into thier own page.
I have also looked at a few others in the <$200 price range and each had similar 'quirks' or problems.
My 'research' has shown that many sites that are similar in purpose and design to this one use software from Emulive.com that seems to be 'professional.' It is secure, but supporting up to 5 streams is $499 per year; moving up to 10 streams is about $250 more, and up from there.
So it's not cheap, but that's ok becuase it is secure and I have seen it working well in many other places.
Problem is, thier server software is designed for Windows. As I said I am using FreeBSD. The Emulive salesman turned me onto a site called VMware.com that sells software that can run a 'virtual windows machine' on my BSD server, but thier packages are quite expensive; furthermore I don't know which one I would even need.
I am really frustrated. It seems impossible to find any good information regarding streaming webcams on a UNIX server; furthermore, finding any information about how the whole thing is supposed to work is also scant.
I am not afraid to shell out $$ for the right solution, but I don't want to go mucking around with expensive virtual machines or installing unstable cheap server software on my web server as I also host to a significant number of other sites and don't want to screw things up.
If anyone can provide any information about good quality web cam software or information aobut webcam streaming in general so that I can at least have a better idea of how to eveluate commercial products I would appreciate it.
Even pointing me in the direction of another forum, website, or book would be helpful...
PLEASE help. Anyone.