DisplayCast: a High Performance Screen Sharing System for Intranets

Abstract

DisplayCast is a many to many screen sharing system that is targeted towards Intranet scenarios. The capture software runs on all computers whose screens need to be shared. It uses an application agnostic screen capture mechanism that creates a sequence of pixmap images of the screen updates. It transforms these pixmaps to vastly improve the lossless Zlib compression performance. These algorithms were developed after an extensive analysis of typical screen contents. DisplayCast shares the processor and network resources required for screen capture, compression and transmission with host applications whose output needs to be shared. It balances the need for high performance screen capture with reducing its resource interference with user applications. DisplayCast uses Zeroconf for naming and asynchronous location. It provides support for Cisco WiFi and Bluetooth based localization. It also includes a HTTP/REST based controller for remote session initiation and control. DisplayCast supports screen capture and playback in computers running Windows 7 and Mac OS X operating systems. Remote screens can be archived into a H.264 encoded movie on a Mac. They can also be played back in real time on Apple iPhones and iPads. The software is released under a New BSD license.