What's New in TinyPilot's January 2023 Update
January 25, 2023
TinyPilot's January release adds full support for H.264 video streaming, yielding a higher-quality image with drastically lower bandwidth.
H.264 video over WebRTC
TinyPilot's default format for streaming video has always been MJPEG. It's a simple format with widespread browser support, but it consumes a heavy amount of bandwidth.
Last year, TinyPilot introduced experimental support for H.264, a more modern and efficient video format, but the option was only available via the command line.
With this month's update, TinyPilot fully supports H.264 over WebRTC. You can enable H.264 from the web interface under System > Video Settings:
H.264 provides a more responsive interface
When using H.264 video mode, you'll notice that things feel snappier. Your keystrokes will appear on your remote computer's screen more quickly, and your mouse movements will track your cursor more closely.
In the video demo below, notice how little lag there is in H.264 mode between mouse movements in the local browser and the remote computer:
H.264 reduces bandwidth consumption by 97%
Bandwidth consumption is MJPEG's major weakness. MJPEG treats every video frame as an independent image, so sending 24 frames per second is equivalent to sending 24 separate JPEG images.
The H.264 format assumes that video streams contain similar images from moment to moment and takes advantage of that in compressing the data. As a result, H.264 achieves a superior image to MJPEG using less than 10% of the bandwidth.
In the example below, TinyPilot streams an identical video under MJPEG and H.264. With MJPEG, the bandwidth consumption is a whopping 31 MBps, which could saturate an Internet network link. Switching to H.264, the bandwidth drops 97% to less than 1 MBps.
For the full list of changes in TinyPilot Pro 2.5.2, see the changelog.
Updating to the latest version
You can update to the latest version of TinyPilot by clicking System > Update in the navigation bar:
Special thanks to our users who helped test H.264 and provided valuable feedback in improving the feature.
Written by Michael Lynch, TinyPilot Founder and CEO