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I'm looking for suggestions for a good player to use when playing video from my Linux file server (running samba) to a Windows client over an 802.11b network. I can usually get the full 11Mbps, but occasionally, the signal drops for a few seconds, so I'm looking for a player with good buffering support. Most of my files are no more than 2Mbps, so the throughput is definitely not an issue, but many players only read ahead a second or two, and they quickly exhaust this buffer.

VLC has a buffering option where I can have it buffer 10s or more, but if I do that, then the play/pause/trickplay controls affect the buffer input, not output. As a result, any operation (pause, skip, etc) has a 10 second delay, which makes seeking through a file virtually impossible!

I'm also open to any other type of solution [transcoding? different file sharing?], as long as it runs on Linux on the server and Windows on the client.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

MPlayer has a buffering option without the seeking bug that is in VLC. You can give that a try. Another possible solution is to use VLS (VideoLAN Server) on the Linux server, and VLC on the Windows PC. Since you would no longer be connecting to a video file on a server with VLC (instead you are connecting to an actual stream server), it might have much better behavior and handle the speed drops gracefully.

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I'll try mplayer. I'm not opposed to VLS, but it lacks WAF – Mikeage Nov 18 '09 at 7:11
Although it was informative to read the wikipedia page on WAF, I don't see how VLS fits here. You already have a server. You don't have to spend extra money. So unless your wife has an opposition to streaming servers, I don't know what I'm missing here. Please enlighten me. – Marcin Nov 18 '09 at 8:17
I've never found a nice way to handle set up user-friendly streaming of hundreds of files. With sharing, you just open a directory, and click on the file you want. – Mikeage Nov 19 '09 at 10:11
Oh ok, that's what you meant. I guess the friendliest way to take care of a streaming library is to write your own frontend that allows a user to search for a file and then launch it. – Marcin Nov 19 '09 at 19:08

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