C# – Developing a Video Chat Application with high quality video streaming


I am working for a company where we are developing video chat support on an existing application. I have looked at various solutions for this like

  1. Using Managed Direct show for video capture and streaming in C#
  2. Some code samples in code project where we take an image and pass it over the network (I would call it rather a crude solution as this would eat up lot of bandwidth.
  3. Code a compression algorithm from scratch from scratch and use it to compress-decompress video.

Now the challenge is that we are looking to achieve very high quality video streaming and the container application is coded in C#.NET

This is what I have proposed so far. The network logic to stream data is written in C# , the video compression to be written in VC++ and call this VC++ dll using pinvoke or either CLI which way possible.

I am looking for some one more experienced that me in this field who can suggest me if Iam going correct or can this be still improved.

The ultimate goal is high quality video streaming.
The codec can be any anything like h.2633, h.264 etc.

Best Solution

I've used several ways to get video streaming/conferencing with .net easily, without need to dig into directshow. (ok, dig some, but not deep :)

1) Use of plain Windows Media Encoder components. It is documented with samples in Windows Media Encoder SDK. Good for any high resolution streaming, but delay is too big for realtime chat (0.5-2 seconds at best). Modern Express Encoder SDK another option.

2) Microsoft Research ConferenceXP http://cct.cs.washington.edu/ Full featured conferencing API including application streaming. They too low level Windows Media coded filters and wrapped them into managed code. Works well. Easily customizable. Looks bit abandoned now.

3) Microsoft RTC Client up to version 1.3 - core of windows messenger.

pros: managed samples from Microsoft, good docs, reliable performance, freely redistributable, microsoft compatible (good) SIP stack included. Major conferencing vendors like Emblaze VCON based their solutions on it in some near past, not sure about this days, but I know that Tandberg licensed Microsft's VC-1.

cons: version up to 1.3 support h261-h263 video only. modern version with support of VC-1(h264) codec does not allow direct serverless ip-ip connections. It does at require Microsoft Live Communications server. Newer version SDK does not cover well video conferencing calls.


Please let us know what platform you have chosen. By the way, I've even used ConferenceXP video rtp part with RTC 1.3 voice/SIP features together to improve video quality, so you have wide choice of managed technologies here. Another thing is Live Meeting at which I had no chance to take good look yet.

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