Mi Box S beta program

Using the Church Webcasting System, YouTube, etc. Including cameras and mixers.
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Mikerowaved
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:26 pm

The boxes provided for beta testing are locked to stake webcasts only. Following the test(s), the church said they would issue an unlock code. Only then will we see if it can stream places like YouTube, BYU, and others that might carry general conference.
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby russellhltn » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:40 pm

Currently, it's locked to a specific app (Webcast Beta app). The app appears to have the ability to select streams (although in most situations, there's just one stream/icon to select from such that that screen is a gratuitous "press enter" situation). So, this looks to be a feature that could be added to the app. In fact, it might be more of a backend/server fix so that the app can see those options.

I'm sure if it was unlocked, then other apps become available, but I don't think it's unreasonable to have the final webcast app be able to stream general conference live - or any of the other satellite broadcasts that are also streamed. (YA Devotionals, etc.)
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby Mikerowaved » Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:53 pm

With additional programming, they might be able to turn on reception for a limited set of boxes for things like a regional conference, not unlike how they currently limit satellite reception to a select number of receivers. I guess we'll have to wait and see what's in store.
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby they007 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:16 pm

I just received a survey from the church asking questions about the use of and potential removal of satellite systems. In my experience the satellite doesn't provide a good image and is often in need of repair. I would be happy to see it replaced with streaming devices that could be used for global broadcasts and local webcasts. I'd also like to see them rip out the "blonder tongue" RF modulators and wire the buildings for HDMI over ethernet (I saw a neighboring stake center get this treatment) but we do already have ethernet connections near all of our pulpits so we could hook up a streaming box for general conference projection with only the cost of the streaming box.

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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby russellhltn » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:45 pm

Mikerowaved wrote:With additional programming, they might be able to turn on reception for a limited set of boxes for things like a regional conference, not unlike how they currently limit satellite reception to a select number of receivers. I guess we'll have to wait and see what's in store.

One of the surprises I had was the registration code. I thought I'd have to put it in each time I ran a test. Nope. Once I entered it, the device remembered it. And that code was static for all my tests, even on different days. Once set up, all I had to do was connect the device, enter the app, and then I had a screen showing me the one broadcast available.

Obviously, I can't tell what the back end is like, but the UI certainly seems set up for doing things beyond just stake webcasting. What I'm seeing looks like something that could replace satellite systems. The only things I didn't see was language/ASL options, or options that looked like it supported time-shifting.
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rknelson
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby rknelson » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:02 pm

We are a beta site. It worked so well we used it for Stake Conference last weekend and it was flawless. It is very easy to use - the app displays the events currently scheduled in your stake, you click on it and that's it. Dead simple to use. It has an HDMI output (which includes audio) and a separate 1/8" audio output jack. The audio was clear - no fighting hum and noise issues like I sometimes see with laptops connected to the sound system. Video was great. No problems. I don't know how it will be rolled out, but the beta included the Mi Box S device plus a 3rd party network dongle (USB to RJ45 jack) which adds another $30. For about $90 this is a great deal. As soon as they roll it out for general use we plan to get one for every receiving site.

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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby Mikerowaved » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:31 am

rknelson wrote:We are a beta site. It worked so well we used it for Stake Conference last weekend and it was flawless. It is very easy to use - the app displays the events currently scheduled in your stake, you click on it and that's it. Dead simple to use.

After lots of testing at home, then a true building to building trial run during the Sat evening session of our stake conference, we decided to use it for the general session on Sunday. The feedback I got from the tech at the receive building was very similar to your remarks above. Very easy to use and nice audio/video. Our stake center's sound system has an unfortunate hum with occasional crackling that got transmitted over the webcast, but it wasn't too objectionable. If FM can't fix it before the next conference, I plan to install either a 60 Hz notch filter or a 150 Hz high-pass filter at the stake center and any building still hearing a hum.

rknelson wrote:As soon as they roll it out for general use we plan to get one for every receiving site.

Agreed. I'm hoping their app will be available from the Android app store so we can buy one or two devices from Walmart or Amazon and simply install their app. I'm also hoping that the app can be run on other Android TV devices. The MiBox S runs Android TV 8.1, while other similarly prices boxes are running 9.0 and have a wired LAN jack already available. Time will tell how this all plays out. Kudos to whoever came up with the idea in the first place!

My only negative with the current beta version (1.0) is you can't easily identify, or select, which receive site it's located at. Not a problem with one device, but getting 2 or more might raise an issue when trying to read the stats of the webcast. I'm sure this will be addressed in later versions.
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby russellhltn » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:47 am

Mikerowaved wrote:My only negative with the current beta version (1.0) is you can't easily identify, or select, which receive site it's located at.

Assuming the device stays at one building, I think that's a one-time setup issue.
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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby randysteck » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:56 am

It is fantastic to see a dedicated streaming box for remote locations! Android boxes are becoming more abundant and looking at the specs on the MiBox it looks like this is one of the newer generation, so we can certainly expect more reliability and performance.

We've found a couple things using the Roku box. The first is to make sure the network connection is wired. This eliminates traffic and delay issues on wifi. We typically turn off wifi at send and receive locations to avoid traffic/bandwidth issues. The second thing was to run HDMI to the projector and take the audio from the projector. We bought inline impedance matching transformers dedicated to this function so we did not have to hunt down the crab box every time. These are cheap. We control the audio volume with the projector remote as it makes it very easy for the operator to adjust for proper sound level, something that most streaming boxes don't allow.

Just one question: why is this not just an app that installs on any android box? Would seem pretty simple to do that and distribute for side loading.

But overall, this is HUGE step forward in the reliability of webcasts. We've talked a ton about the issues with the PC in the middle and it's great to see this happening! Not only is reliability massively increased, but ease of setup and use is substantially improved.

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Re: Mi Box S beta program

Postby perryes » Sun Nov 03, 2019 5:19 pm

Our Stake conducted a stake conference today. The main event was held in the local tabernacle and webcast to our stake center for the overflow attendees. The webcast was received using the Mi Box S. It worked flawlessly. The video and sound was fed into the building system to three projectors and two TVs. Since the building has no way of receiving HDMI, a converter was used to convert the video to composite and the sound was fed into the building directly from the audio jack on the Mi Box. Both the sound and video were of as good or better quality as previous webcasts using a PC to receive the broadcast. The big advantages are the simplicity using Webcast 3.0 and the Mi Box's ability to log into the webcast automatically, not requiring a URL. P Shumway


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