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Show HN: ASCII TV – Stream ASCII movies in your terminal with curl (github.com)
108 points by mraison 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

Not ASCII, however a cool hack using mpv is that it can display actual videos in a terminal emulator that supports true color output [1]. Just run the following command:

  mpv -vo tct video_file.mkv
Reduce the font size to increase resolution. Also, a GPU accelerated terminal like Kitty [2] is recommended, or the video will be painfully slow.

[1]: https://gist.github.com/XVilka/8346728

[2]: https://sw.kovidgoyal.net/kitty/

I think you can also just use telnet to see star wars:

  telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

Indeed, I came across this project while googling the idea! I figured out SSL would be a nice feature to have - surely you wouldn’t want your Star Wars ASCII stream to be tampered with, would you? ;)

To think that anyone on the wire could manipulate the stream so that Greedo shoots first... horrifying.

You laugh but terminal emulators have been found to be exploitable in the past: http://www.securiteam.com/unixfocus/3P5PQRPPPO.html

I'm very surprised to see this is still around! They must've had this up for decades.

When I discovered this as a youngling it totally opened my mind to the crazy possibilities of computers and the internet. Love to see it posted here after all these years!

This is still my goto diversion whenever I end up in an Apple Store - trying to get Star Wars going on as many computers as possible.

both of these need seek functionality

PRs welcome :) I guess for the curl version it's gonna be tough because you can't really interact with the stream that you receive. You should be able to do it with the telnet version, though

Well this was disappointing... :(

Now this is hacker news!!

Ludicrous on the surface yet brilliant.

Kudos to the creator, and it’s great that such a senior engineer with his track record and contributions still has that spirit in him.

Thanks for the kind words :) I do try hard to "keep the spirit" as much as I can. Like everyone on HN I need to balance that with many other things, but I figured out a few lines of Go + a heroku app wouldn't be too time-consuming :)

It's not. The "author" simply stole towel.blinkenlights and wrapped it in golang. I bet he updated himself to senior go engineer on linkedin after this. None of the "cool" stuff in this is martinraison's work.

Practical applications are irrelevant, this is a fun, cool project. I love seeing this sort of thing on HN.

Really like the format of the "movie" file. Very easy to work with:

Line 1: time.Duration

Lines 2-14: frameHeight (currently set to 13 lines in the code on this and the original[0])

Options for (1) pause/play (2) back: frame by frame (3) forward: frame by frame : could make this a pretty good presentation app, ebook tool, story-teller...

[0] https://github.com/nitram509/ascii-telnet-server

This is really neat!

While we're on the topic of neat things you can do with `curl`, check out:

  curl parrot.live

A colleague and I did this at uni in 2001 or so. SSH to his box at home with a TV receiver and a video library that output ASCII graphics.

yes, but what about the audio?

No audio over SSH :(

aatv was a command line program, worked fine with my (analog) tv capture card (with built in mpeg2 encoder). May have been part of mythtv.

It's surprising that with the ultra-high-resolution monitors common today, this might actually be on the verge of being practical.

I would think its compression rate would be pretty good too.

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