The goal of this project is to implement the capture and streaming of digital video on Alpha Linux using the IEEE 1394 (a.k.a. FireWire, i.Link) interface. By the end of calendar year 2000, we want to be able to capture video with a digital camcorder, transfer it to an Alpha host over IEEE 1934, convert it into a streaming format, and serve it to remote clients, all under Alpha Linux.


Digital video is the clear successor to analog video technology, bringing with it all of the usual advantages that accord digital media - high fidelity, ease of reproduction, transmission, and manipulation, and so forth. The Alpha platform offers a number of inherent advantages for digital video; leadership CPU performance and memory bandwidth, a 64-bit address space, a high degree of scalability, support for very large amounts of storage, and legendary reliability.

The IEEE 1394 high-speed serial interface is gaining a broad following in the consumer and prosumer video market. It has become the medium of choice for the transfer of DV-format content between digital camcorders and computers, enabling non-linear editing and conversion into forms suitable for streaming delivery over the Internet. IEEE 1394 client devices, peripherals, and PCI adapters are widely available and increasingly affordable.

The Open Source, freely available Linux operating system supports the IEEE 1394 interface and runs well on the Alpha architecture, taking full advantage of its 64-bit architecture. Open Source software for manipulating DV and streaming video formats exists and is rapidly growing in sophistication.

Putting all of these pieces together will create an extremely powerful system for video acquisition and Internet distribution based on open standards, commodity peripherals, and the world's most powerful computing architecture.

Rationale  |  Plan  |  Tasks  |  Status