We'll start off with the system requirements for TVersity:
- Pentium III 700 Mhz or better (Pentium 4 2.8 Ghz with support for Hyper Threading is recommended)
- 128 MB of memory or more (512 MB recommended)
- 50 MB of disk space (At least 1 GB of free space is recommended for cache area of transcoded media)
- Windows XP or Windows 2000
- DirectX 9.0 or higher
- Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher
- Audio enabled on the computer running the software
- Flash version 7 for the GUI (MSIE version 6.0 required for full GUI functionality, other Flash enabled browsers such as Firefox will have most but not all of the functionality.)
As you can see, the system requirements are fairly minimal. These are the requirements for streaming non-HD content, around the resolution of 400 x 300 pixels, with bitrates up to 300-400 kbps.
If you want to up the ante, a Pentium 4 2.8GHz with support for Hyper-Threading and with 512 MB of memory is recommended for real-time transcoding of standard definition video - WMV 720x480 1.5Mbps. If you want to go for the extreme (1080i/p content) they recommend Dual Core or dual CPU systems with 1GB of memory for real-time transcoding of high definition video.
As for our testing, we used a fairly standard Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 with 1GB of memory over a 100mbit wired network and everything was as smooth as silk - no skips or voices out of sync throughout many watched movies. We were only using standard definition video for testing and before the movie actually started playback, there was only a couple seconds delay before it got started and all movies played right through to till the end with no issues.
If you have a slower machine, obviously the playback start time will be slower and if you are using a Wireless network that may cause a problem if the signal strength is too low. Wired networks are recommended for a better experience as Wi-Fi can just plain suck sometimes, especially if you intend on streaming 1080p content to your brand new plasma or LCD. If you have an old machine, you'll need to stick to low video resolutions.
Downloading the Software and Codecs
As of writing this guide, the current version of TVersity is Release 0.9.9.1 (November 26, 2006) and this is the version which supports Xbox 360. If you are using a previous version, you'll need to find a patch.
Download the software from here and install - the download link is at the bottom of the page. We tested using the final version of Windows Vista (build 6000) and while installation wasn't ideal, it works after a reboot - just ignore the error messages and start the program. According to the developers, it should work in most versions of Windows 2000 and above.
If you don't have any codec software on your PC, you will need to download them but chances are you will already have them installed if you've been watching the movies on your PC but check anyway. On the download page is a list of required codec's - make sure you download them and install them all if you intend on streaming videos using formats such as MPEG2/4, H.264, DivX, Xvid, AAC, FLAC, Vorbis, FLV and so on.