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HOWTO stream ISS HDEV on the desktop background

In case you haven't noticed yet, NASA has put a new experiment on the International Space Station, which is called High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV). You can watch it online via ustream. The experiment's primary purpose is to generate long-term test data, if cheap off-the-shelf consumer HD cameras can be used in space instead of extremely expensive purpose-built “space” cameras. As a benefit, now all people can watch the world from above, in near-realtime, so thank you guys for sharing.

ISS HDEV live capture

Playing stuff in a browser is cool, but having it play in mplayer(2)/mpv seems way more flexible (and can also benefit from GPU video offloading). To grab the stream from ustream you can use, which works very well.

ISS Schematic

mplayer2 based Systems

$ livestreamer -Q best --player "mplayer2 -nosound"

MPV based Systems

$ livestreamer -Q best --player "mpv --no-audio"

The next level is to use xwinwrap to put the stream on your desktop, instead of a static image. When you've got alpha blending/compositing in your terms (xterm/urxvt etc.) you can even see it in the background of your shells (way awesome).

When you've installed livestreamer and xwinwrap, just call it like this:

mplayer2 based Systems

$ livestreamer -Q best \
--player "./xwinwrap -ni -fs -s -st -sp -b -nf -- mplayer2 -wid WID -nosound"

MPV based Systems

$ livestreamer -Q best \
--player "./xwinwrap -ni -fs -s -st -sp -b -nf -- mpv --wid 0 --no-audio"

You can use our xfce-planet script, if you want to keep track of the ISS position on another monitor:

Be advised though, the view is spectacular (especially, when you've got it on the wall with a projector) and tends to hypnotize everyone in the room, while they're grasping the beauty of our planet and forgetting all the superfluous, puny and made up problems, mankind needlessly still seems to fight with.


fe80:4e16:55bd:839a:d038:e963:690e:12c8, 2015/10/19 18:03

Hej, it looks like xwinwrap fails while giving -g (geometry) instead -fs (fullscreen), Do you have any idea why?

fe80:2a0f:3c22:cd18:b7b6:c4b4:b625:c75f, 2015/10/19 18:36

-ov is the key ;)

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