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<chapter id="intro"><title id="tintro">Introduction</title>
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<sect1><title>What is the VideoLAN project ?</title>

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<sect2><title>Overview</title>

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<para>

VideoLAN is a complete software solution for video streaming, developed
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by students of the <ulink url="http://www.ecp.fr">Ecole Centrale
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Paris</ulink> and developers from all over the world, under the
<ulink url="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html">GNU General Public
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License</ulink> (GPL). VideoLAN is designed to stream MPEG videos on high
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bandwidth networks.
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</para>

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<para>The VideoLAN solution includes :</para>
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<itemizedlist>

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<listitem><para>the VideoLAN Server (VLS), which can stream MPEG-1,
MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 files, DVDs, digital satellite channels, digital terrestial
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television channels and live videos on the network in unicast or
multicast,</para>
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<listitem><para>the VideoLAN Client (VLC), which can be used as a server
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to stream MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 files and DVDs on the network in
unicast or multicast ; or used as a client to receive, decode and
display MPEG streams under multiple operating systems.</para>
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</itemizedlist>

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<para>Here is an illustration of the complete VideoLAN solution :</para>
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<figure><title>Global VideoLAN solution</title>
<mediaobject>
  <imageobject>
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    <imagedata fileref="images/plan-videolan.&magic;" format="&magic;" scalefit="1" scale="60">
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  </imageobject>
</mediaobject>
</figure>

<para>

More details about the project can be found on the
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<ulink url="http://www.videolan.org/">VideoLAN Web site</ulink>.
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</para>

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<sect2><title>VideoLAN software</title>
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<simplesect><title>VideoLAN Client</title>

<para>

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The VideoLAN Client (VLC) works on many platforms : Linux, Windows, Mac
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OS X, BeOS, *BSD, Solaris, Familiar Linux, Yopy/Linupy and QNX. It can
read :
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</para>

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<itemizedlist>

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<listitem><para>MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 / DivX files from a hard disk
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or a CD-ROM drive,</para>

<listitem><para>DVDs and VCDs,</para>

<listitem><para>from a satellite card,</para>

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<listitem><para>MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streams from the
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network sent by VLS or VLC's stream output.</para>

</itemizedlist>

<para>VLC can also be used as a server to stream :</para>

<itemizedlist>

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<listitem><para>MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 / DivX files,</para>
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<listitem><para>and DVDs,</para>

</itemizedlist>

<para>to :</para>

<itemizedlist>

<listitem><para>one machine (i.e. to one IP address) : this is called
<emphasis>unicast</emphasis> ;</para>

<listitem><para>a dynamic group of machines that the clients can join or leave
(i.e. to a multicast IP address) : this is called
<emphasis>multicast</emphasis>.</para>

</itemizedlist>

<note><para>VLC doesn't work on Mac OS 9, and will
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probably never do.</para></note>

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<simplesect><title>VideoLAN Server</title>

<para>

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The VideoLAN Server (VLS) can stream :
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</para>

<itemizedlist>
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<listitem><para>an MPEG-1, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 files stored on a hard drive or on a
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CD,</para>
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<listitem><para>a DVD located in a local DVD drive or copied on a hard
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disk,</para>
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<listitem><para>a satellite card or a digital terrestial television
card,</para>
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<listitem><para>an MPEG encoding card ;</para>
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</itemizedlist>

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<para>to :</para>
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<itemizedlist>
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<listitem><para>one machine (i.e. to one IP address) : this is called
<emphasis>unicast</emphasis> ;</para>

<listitem><para>a dynamic group of machines that the clients can join or leave
(i.e. to a multicast IP address) : this is called
<emphasis>multicast</emphasis>.</para>

</itemizedlist>

<para>

A Pentium 100 MHz with 32 MB of memory should be enough to send one
stream on the network. When streaming a lot of videos stored on a
hard drive, the actual limitation is not the processor but the hard
drive and the network connection.

</para>

<para>

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VLS works under Linux and Mac OS X.
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</para>

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<sect1><title>How can I use VideoLAN ?</title>

<sect2><title>The documentation</title>

<para>

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The user documentation of the VideoLAN project is composed of four documents :
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</para>

<itemizedlist>

<listitem><para>the <ulink
url="http://www.videolan.org/doc/videolan-quickstart/">VideoLAN
Quickstart</ulink>. This document will give you a quick overview of
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of VLC, VLC's stream output, the Video On Demand
solution and the channel information service system.</para>
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<listitem><para>the <ulink
url="http://www.videolan.org/doc/videolan-howto/">VideoLAN
HOWTO</ulink>. This document is the complete guide of the VideoLAN
streaming solution.</para>

<listitem><para>the <ulink
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url="http://www.videolan.org/doc/vlc-user-guide/">VLC user
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guide</ulink>. This document is the complete guide for VLC.</para>
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<listitem><para>the <ulink
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url="http://www.videolan.org/doc/faq-vlc/faq/">VLC FAQ</ulink>. This
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document contains Frequently Asked Questions of VLC users.</para>


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</itemizedlist>

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<para>The latest version of these documents can be found on the <ulink
url="http://www.videolan.org/doc/">documentation page</ulink>.</para>
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<sect2><title>User support</title>
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<para>

If you have problems using VideoLAN, and if you don't find the
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answer to your problems in the documentation, please look at the
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<ulink url="http://www.via.ecp.fr/ml/videolan">online archive of the
mailing-lists</ulink>. There are two English-speaking mailing-lists for
the users :

</para>

<itemizedlist>

<listitem><para><emphasis>vlc@videolan.org</emphasis> for the questions
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on VLC,</para>
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<listitem><para><emphasis>streaming@videolan.org</emphasis> for the questions
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on VLS, mini-SAP-server and the network.</para>
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</itemizedlist>

<para>

If you want to subscribe or unsubscribe to the mailing-lists,
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please go to the <ulink url="http://www.videolan.org/support/lists.html">
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mailing-list page</ulink>.

</para>
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<para>You can also talk with VideoLAN users and developers on IRC :
server <emphasis>irc.freenode.net</emphasis>, channel
<emphasis>#videolan</emphasis>.</para>

<para>If you find a bug, please follow the instructions on the <ulink
url="http://www.videolan.org/support/bug-reporting.html">bug reporting
page</ulink>.</para>

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<sect1><title>Command line vs. graphical interfaces</title>
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<para>VLC has many different graphical interfaces, that are organized
quite differently in order to be in harmony with the guidelines of
each Operating System supported. Documenting the use of each graphical
interface is too long, and some features are only available via the
command line interface. Therefore we decided to document only the
command line interface, but in many cases it shouldn't be difficult to
guess how to use the graphical interface for the same use !</para>
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<sect2><title>Open a command tool</title>
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<simplesect><title>under Windows</title>
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<para>Click on <emphasis>Start</emphasis>, <emphasis>Run</emphasis> and
type :</para>

<itemizedlist>

<listitem><para><command>cmd</command> and <keycap>Enter</keycap> under
Windows 2000 / XP,</para>

<listitem><para><command>command</command> and <keycap>Enter</keycap>
under Windows 95 / 98 / ME.</para>

</itemizedlist>

<para>The command tool appears :</para>

<figure><title>Windows command tool</title>
<mediaobject>
  <imageobject>
    <imagedata fileref="images/cmd-windows.&magic;" format="&magic;" scalefit="1" scale="60">
  </imageobject>
</mediaobject>
</figure>

<para>Then go to directory where you installed VLC :</para>

<screen>
<prompt># </prompt><userinput>cd C:\Program Files\VLC\</userinput>
</screen>

<simplesect><title>under Linux or Unix</title>

<para>Under X, open a terminal :</para>

<figure><title>Windows command tool</title>
<mediaobject>
  <imageobject>
    <imagedata fileref="images/cmd-linux.&magic;" format="&magic;" scalefit="1" scale="60">
  </imageobject>
</mediaobject>
</figure>

<para>In the documentation, we adopt the following conventions for the
Unix commands :</para>
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<itemizedlist>

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<listitem><para>commands that should be typed as
<emphasis>root</emphasis> have a <command>#</command> prompt :</para>
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<screen>
<prompt># </prompt><userinput>command_to_be_typed_as_root</userinput>
</screen>

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<listitem><para>commands that should be typed as a regular user have a
<command>%</command> prompt :</para>
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<screen>
<prompt>% </prompt><userinput>command_to_be_typed_as_regular_user</userinput>
</screen>

</itemizedlist>
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<simplesect><title>under Mac OS X</title>

<para>[TODO]</para>

<simplesect><title>under BeOS</title>

<para>[TODO]</para>