[gst-devel] Thoughts

Henry Gomersall whg21 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Apr 1 06:03:11 CEST 2004

Firstly, I'd like to say apologies if what follows appears like an
incoherent rambling. It is not all that clear to myself and I would like
to raise the ideas with people that are involved intricately with the

I have been thinking for a while now about the concept of a connected
house. Before I knew about the existence of Gstreamer it was apparent to
me that a data handling framework would be extremely useful.

Now, recently, it has occurred to me that many of the problems
associated with a wired house is encompassed and solved by Gstreamer.
When I refer to a wired house, I mean that something being brought into
the house (or plugged in, or whatever) becomes part of building network
and is accessible to every other device.

As soon as we start to look at what is required for inter-device
communication, the problem seems to be standardising on a data transfer
protocol. I think that is largely it. But with Gstreamer, we have an
open data transfer protocol. Sure, it's not immediately network
transparent, but this seems to be a minor issue.

The idea moves along the lines of everything in the network has
capabilities. Each device can sink or source a particular type of data
(indicated by its mime type). Every device is aware of all the other
devices in the network, and there is no centralised server.

It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that control signals can also
be embedded within a gstreamer pipe. This means that every device only
has to be plugged in, make other devices aware of its presence and what
data it can handle, and sit waiting with a control sink. If a user now
needs to use said device, it sets up a link to control the device, and
sets up a pipe to download the data.

The thing about this, is that it doesn't rely on the existence of any
particular capability. Capabilities are added and removed as devices
become visible or not. Also, the data stream is independent of what the
device actually does with it. A storage device would record an ogg
stream, but a hifi would play it.

The possibilities are endless and are limited by the imagination of
those that define the data types. Imagine watching a tv and liking a
particular scene, quickly pipe the screen to the printer. Or linking
your alarm clock to the evolution data server.

Much of this is pretty obvious connected house stuff, but I think the
technology is here and now and open.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.


Henry Gomersall
Trinity College, Cambridge

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