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Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:27 pm
by heyring
We have found that using a laptop on the receiving end provides better results then the church receiver box does. Each Ward in our Stake has a Ward Multimedia Specialist who is trained and responsible (agent ward) for providing the laptop and setting up the building to receive Stake Conference Broadcasts originating from our Stake Center.

The main issue with a Church Issued piece of hardware is that technology advances very rapidly. As new broadcasting technology becomes available, the church would likely be more hesitant to utilize those new technologies if there is a broad user base of machines out there that use 3 year old technology. But the membership always has the latest greatest hardware around.

Just another angle to think about in the broad scheme of things.

No matter how you slice it - isn't it wonderful that we are having this discussion? The technology will go forth boldly and nobly till it has penetrated every building..

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:28 pm
by kwinpete
When we first started relaying stake conference to other buildings over the internet, we used a Slingbox, but our internet pipe as pretty narrow, so we switched to Meetinghouse Communicator. We now have church-provided internet and lots of it, so I'm thinking of trying Slingbox again -- much better picture/sound.

Does anyone have experience or thoughts on Slingbox?

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:10 pm
by russellhltn
kwinpete wrote:Does anyone have experience or thoughts on Slingbox?


Isn't Slingbox point-to-point? You'd need a box at the stake center for each remote site and upload bandwidth for each stream.

Posted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:52 pm
by kwinpete
RussellHltn wrote:Isn't Slingbox point-to-point? You'd need a box at the stake center for each remote site and upload bandwidth for each stream.


Yes, I have two Slingboxes and two Sling Catchers. The stake center should have enough bandwidth now to send two streams.

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:45 am
by Aczlan
kwinpete wrote:Yes, I have two Slingboxes and two Sling Catchers. The stake center should have enough bandwidth now to send two streams.


Why not just bump the Audio/Video quality on the Meetinghouse Communicator?

Aaron Z

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:41 pm
by rknelson
We are still using Slingbox and a Slingcatcher for our stake conference. We have five buildings in the stake but only use two buildings (both are "stake center" buildings) for stake conference. It would take a very large upload bandwidth to support 2 remote buildings on slingbox at the highest resolution which takes around 3Mbps per stream. We have plenty of download capacity, but for us, the upload capacity is the limiting factor. We actually use 2 Slingbox Pro's and 2 Slingcatchers so we can go both directions. It's not interactive - we have about 6 seconds of delay each direction--but does allow us to mix the video from the remote building in before the meeting starts to help the remote audience feel more included in the meeting, and we have the stake presidency view the remote building on a small TV on the stand. We use 4 remotely web-controlled cameras, 3 in the main building and one in the remote building and can control them all from the main building.

We have also used webcasting on laptops for regional meetings.

One of the things I really like about the slingbox is the composite video output which we feed into the existing satellite rack (into the video amp) to feed the whole building which is typically 2 projectors, and 2 or 3 TV's. The cabling is already present and it supplies composite video to the chapel and cultural hall, plus modulated TV feeds to all the other jacks in the building. While composite video can be produced from VGA/HDMI using a scan converter, that usually results in loss of some video quality.

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:53 am
by michaelfish
Our stake has also been using Slingboxes for many years now. They have proven to be reliable and the quality has been great. We send from the stake center to two additional ward buildings with two Slingboxes.

When both are streaming, they eventually train up to around 3 Mbps each but we still get great quality at 1.5 Mbps. I permanently installed a SlingCatcher in the audio rack at one of the buildings so, just as with the Satellite receiver at the stake center, all we need to do is power it on, select the stream, turn on the building sound and with in 30 seconds, we are receiving. No muss, no fuss.

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:02 am
by johnshaw
These upload speeds seem pretty unattainable for many of us... not that I wouldn't want them myself, but if the slingbox drove the ISP decisions, potentially before the Church had a solution in place. Why not switch to the Church solution and reduce the speeds required? Maybe some of these installs that pre-existed the FMG takeover are a reason that the rest of us have to struggle to find something better than 1.5 Down and .384 Up. Which is what my stake center has and which is what we do our broadcasts at. We have at least 3 sometimes 4 receiving buildings and we all do OK. I'm pushing for better and better because the picture quality on the receiving ends... our Stake Center serves it's purpose. If you are getting these speeds for under $50 a month I'd eat my HAT!!! I would enjoy eating my hat, however, if you truly are under $50 a month, what a gift and a blessing for your stake if so.

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:11 am
by Aczlan
Our FM group is working on switching the stake over to Cable internet and that is putting us at 10x1, MUCH better than 4x384 that we were getting with DSL.

Aaron Z

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:44 am
by johnshaw
If you review the new https://www.lds.org/callings/melchizedek-priesthood/records-and-technology-support/isp-contact-info?lang=eng post - there are 4 or 5 national accounts there that have pre-negotiated rates. I'm not sure why the rates and speeds are not published, but the minimums are the 10/1 you've referenced here and the prices are under $50. If you are lucky enough to be in a Time Warner, Comcast, Century Link, and Sprint (the sprint is a mobile wireless), contact your FMG to see if you can get better speeds at a better rate. The fine print is that if there are captial build-out costs to bring in the product to your meetinghouse that is not part of the deal. Our 3 meetinghouses that are in Time Warner neighborhoods we could not cut over because the build-out costs averaged about $5000 each. No way that was coming out of anyone's budget (at least that is what we were told). So here we sit with 1.5D and .384 Up.... Our Century Link meetinghouse also didn't qualify because not all Century Link is part of the deal for some reason. Some of the acquisitions for Century Link, apparently, are not part of the program, So I'm batting 0 for 4 with national contracts.

I only wish we could get an AT&T uVerse contract... then I could be told no again for several other meetinghouses :)

For a couple of years I had been asking our FMG about these national contracts to get blank stares, I'm glad that they have been posted now so that the Stakes and STS can hold the FMG accountable about it. We only discovered it after appealing to our FMG about increasing our speeds and as justification for telling us 'NO' our FMG had attached the (at the time) internally published only matrix of Internet Speeds showing us where the Church required us to spend under $50 a month. What were we asking? That we consider moving to a 10U/1D speed connection in 3 meetinghouses from Time Warner for $79.... can you all see the irony here... It was lost on my FMG what that matrix was, and how it applied to the situation. I nearly fell out of my chair. The justification for the 'NO' proved a 'YES' - although that eventually turned out to really be 'NO' because of the build-out costs.

To say the least, it has been an interesting roller-coaster ride.