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Web - Collaborative viewing?


kevinmd88
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kevinmd88

Wouldn't it be nifty to be able to use your Emby server as a "viewing party"? As in, you and some friends pick a movie to watch, and then once all the users are connected and logged in, you push the movie to their sessions and things are synchronized. Play/pause commands are sent to everyone involved, as well as skip/rewind (or maybe the ability to designate an optional "host" user who controls that so things can't get out of hand lol). Things like volume remain user-specific (e.g. if someone knocks at the door, you can turn your volume off and talk to them without your movie being heard in the background, or your friends toying with the volume controls lol). I recognize that each person's Internet connection quality would be a HUGE factor, as would intermittent issues therein, but that's obviously a requirement of viewing the stuff in general. You'd just be "capped" at the performance of your group's worst connection really, and if it gets that bad, they just leave. I dont think thats something that would require accounting to make viable - that would be their internet connection's problem...

 

But I just can't help but picture it. Even if your husband or wife is traveling for work, or if you have friends online in all different areas of the country or world, or if you're in a long distance relationship, or you just wanted to show someone a funny scene... The possibilities are there.

 

Maybe some chat, voice or even webcam capability would be cool to integrate too (though that's just as easily done with Skype or Facetime, etc, so the benefits-per-complexity is low).

 

I would be willing to donate heavily to a plugin like this.... But what do you guys think? It has some viable uses, if you have sufficient bandwidth with each user? I think it'd take a big disclaimer "you'll ALL need some great broadband internet to make it work" tho. But for those of us who invest heavily in our home theaters (and -- perhaps -- not so much into travel or our social lives), this might be a fun thing.

 

I like the sound of something like an Emby Party.

Edited by kevinmd88
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Koleckai Silvestri

The developer that creates this and is able to keep everything in sync will be able to make millions in patent licensing. That is some Holy Grail viewing capabilities.

Edited by Koleckai Silvestri
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Starkadius

http://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/17805-multi-cast-support/

http://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/16291-video-sync-across-all-tvs/

http://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/11789-multiroom-feature/

http://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/3931-synchronized-multi-client-streaming/

 

etc.

 

This has been requested many times (probably missed a few posts) in different ways. I myself definitely want this to happen as well and I have already mentioned this a couple of times in other posts how it could be just like http://togethertube.com/. It lets people view youtube videos together synced and volume/video quality is independent from other users. It also has a chat room feature and the ability to recommend videos to watch next on the queue. 

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kevinmd88

Well, obviously sites like YouTube have much better servers to do their streaming for them than an average home user running Emby. However (and I probably should have emphasized this in my original post) perfection is unrealistic. I pictured more of a complete download of the transcoded video (that users would effectively see anyway when watching alone) before viewing even begins together. E.g., invite to it before leaving work, then when you get home, it's downloaded to each user's PC (or, shows how much is, if one person's got crappy internet... I also don't see it as unreasonable to tell people who expect to be able to do this over DSL or something that they're out of their minds), and the only thing you'd then need to synchronize are the playback control commands, which are what... a few bytes to each client? Wouldn't have to be perfect synchronicity either - if users are a few seconds off from each other, it's not gonna ruin the party :D

 

Maybe a synchronized buffer, too. I had thought that, logically, what would slow down/take away from the viewing experience would be whoever has the slowest connection. But if you "bottleneck" it so it buffers at the same speed as whoever's got the slowest transmission (not their entire connection, just the Emby bits), effectively you're just slowing your connection down (again, to your Emby, not everything) so that you all can enjoy it. If a person can't enjoy something like a movie with friends unless they've got hundred-megabit pipes at their disposal and able to be utilized, because their friends don't have that luxury too, IMO the point is completely missed anyway.

 

But anyway, you only have to be as fast as your slowest connection. And if someone DOES have a connection of insufficient throughput, they just don't meet the minimum requirements of such a feature.

 

I feel like my logic may be flawed, and of course if I were to put my fairly-meager programming talents toward this I'd probably come up very short and very frustrated. And yes, if the expectation is flawless synchronicity across multiple clients for things like high-definition movie viewership, it would be very disappointing to those people because technology just isn't there yet. And yet, I feel that if the onus is placed on the users to meet the requirements for it (essentially, a planned download that will be available for everyone to view no sooner than everyone has completed it; or a synchronized buffer that bottlenecks to the slowest connection) - if you try to do it via true streaming you're gonna have a bad time, but for localized playback of a transcoded video with maybe 30 minutes for users to make popcorn and stuff and then sit down and enjoy the show, with nothing more to sync than the actual commands themselves? Maybe an occasional "heartbeat" to ensure it's all on the same page, and an option for a host to set that would determine how to handle people who lose connection - pause the video while you see what's up and resume when resolved/they're kicked out? continue playback without them and then they just rejoin thereafter? - I feel it could be doable without decades of research into a protocol...

 

I'm also not exactly a selfish user who posts feature requests without any upside for anyone to look into them - I would be willing to donate quite a bit to such an effort, as I'm sure many people would...

Edited by kevinmd88
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  • 3 years later...
jackandjohn

Of note: In Airplay 1, Apple handled this in a way that works really elegantly for media playback:

 

  1. Clients have a bigger delay than is reasonable for the slowest connection (standardly ~2 seconds in-home)
  2. Volume and play/pause commands are sent separately
  3. Actual latency is fed back from the player to the server, allowing precise sync with video

 

It feels like these solutions may fit here as well

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BillOatman

I have seen a third party app that does this, but I do not remember the name.  I think it works with Plex.  It connects to Plex and gets the stream from it, then sends it to the people in the "watch party".  

I think this is it.  https://synclounge.tv/

 

Maybe the author(s) would get it to work with Emby if asked,  The two are very similar under the hood.

Edited by BillOatman
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funwithmedia

https://syncplay.pl/ is another to look into. It works with the MPV client (which I believe Emby uses), as well as other clients (eg, VLC), but I'm sure would need special configuring to work directly with Emby. Syncplay looks to be quite actively developed (and it would probably work without Emby Connect), so it might be the better route.

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BillOatman

https://syncplay.pl/ is another to look into. It works with the MPV client (which I believe Emby uses), as well as other clients (eg, VLC), but I'm sure would need special configuring to work directly with Emby. Syncplay looks to be quite actively developed (and it would probably work without Emby Connect), so it might be the better route.

That's an interesting way to do it as well, but requires everyone to have a copy of the media they are watching.

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funwithmedia

That's an interesting way to do it as well, but requires everyone to have a copy of the media they are watching.

Ah, that's right -- forgot about that wrinkle...

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  • 8 months later...
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