Any demand for a new webcast receiver?

Using the Church Webcasting System, YouTube, etc. Including cameras and mixers.
darcy.morrissette
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Postby darcy.morrissette » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:22 pm

Well I finally got my Raspberry Pi and have been testing it, I've been able to implement everything to my liking except for one fairly major issue - there is no hardware decoding support for anything other than h.263 and h.264. The Raspberry Pi foundation didn't license the ability to hardware decode anything else in order to reduce cost, even though the GPU can handle it. Whats worse is in its current state it cannot handle software decoding the WMV stream Church HQ uses. There is work being done to offload other portions of the decoding to the GPU, hopefully leaving enough power to satisfactorily decode WMV with the CPU. It also looks like the RPi foundation is planning on offering hardware decoding for other codecs for a fee, which would be minimal and perfectly fine, the problem is I don't know when, if they even go ahead with it.

I'm going to contact the church to see if they can encode with h.264 though on a new URL, because not only would it save them bandwidth while streaming, but would also allow this low cost device to be used. It can handle decoding up to 1080p, it just has to be h.264. I have also been able to transcode the WMV MMS stream to h.264 and decode it on the RPi no problem, but this requires an additional transcoder (I just used VLC media player which is Open Source).

If that's not an option, my second attempt will be to use the A1000/A2000 set top devices which can hardware decode MPEG-2 and WMV as well as h.264 and a slew of other codecs. The current issue with these allwinner a10 devices is there isn't any software that takes advantage of these hardware decoding features in Linux. I want to test it with Android though and see if that would suffice. The good news is, linux is already ported and XBMC is nearing completion.

If anyone can put me in contact with someone from the Church about h.264 encoding I would love to test it out!

--Darcy

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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:13 am

I found an android app that streams the webcast --> Wondershare Player (used to be called Daroon) Been streaming now for 15 minutes. If the A1000/A2000 works out, that is a cheap Android device that could be integrated into the internal audio/video system installed in meetinghouses. Let me know if you're going down that path, I'd love to work on it with you.

kevin.fairchild
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Postby kevin.fairchild » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:31 pm

What about Google's new Nexus Q?

darcy.morrissette
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Postby darcy.morrissette » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:39 pm

JohnShaw wrote:I found an android app that streams the webcast --> Wondershare Player (used to be called Daroon) Been streaming now for 15 minutes. If the A1000/A2000 works out, that is a cheap Android device that could be integrated into the internal audio/video system installed in meetinghouses. Let me know if you're going down that path, I'd love to work on it with you.


I ordered one today ($92 from Dealextreme with shipping), I'll try that app you mentioned on it once I get it. I figured I might as well start testing it because who knows how long it will be for RPi foundation to sell licenses.

I've tried a few apps on my phone with mixed results, they don't seem to do hardware decoding, the lower quality stream works ok but the standard definition still struggles (Galaxy Nexus). Your help is appreciated, I would like to test both native Android and Linux. With Linux there are more options, and I can fully automate things. I'll see if there is a way to install a webserver with php on android, and hopefully a way to autolaunch an application and start streaming. What I have setup on my RPi is basically this:

1. User goes to http://receiver
2. User enters in Unit # and broadcast ID
3. Reboot and stream starts automatically.

If the url changes, rinse and repeat, otherwise it automatically starts when powered on, restarts the feed on failure and requires no Linux knowledge to operate.

kevin.fairchild wrote:What about Google's new Nexus Q?


I hadn't seen this before, looks like a very nice device, a bit pricey though.

--

More good news, XBMC is now available on Android! The only thing I don't like about XBMC is I don't see the ability to automate video on startup. I would at least like the option to fully automate, even if it isn't used. Hopefully they'll port omxplayer as well (the command-line version of XBMC which was released for RPi)

--Darcy

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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:10 am

One of my imperatives in the stake is to place a device in-line with the already existing video system running from the Satellite. Many members of the church can hook up a VCR to a TV or Projector from the internal RF signal, we've been doing that for years. If I had a device that could output the video signal through the already existing RF signals in the church that is my ideal scenario. I'd like to mimic the Audio/sound override at the podium (in most meetinghouses) that switches the audio feed to the satellite. I want a similar situation for the video signal. It would also be great to have as the ad-hoc item, but I can typically get someone with a laptop to get that done, but the quality of the broadcast usually depends on something getting messed up by the human (batter runs out, laptop sleeps, etc...). So having a specific device is a great idea, I hope these work out.

darcy.morrissette
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Postby darcy.morrissette » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:24 pm

It's been awhile since my last update so I thought I would share some progress, all good news but in my mind still not an ideal solution. The mele A2000 will work decoding WMV3 MMS streams without hardware acceleration (progress is slow on hardware decode) but requires performance tweaking, I can create an SD card image for testing if anyones interested.

As far as the Raspberry Pi goes, they finally have a codec available for hardware decoding WMV3 (VC-1 codec), the only problem is omxplayer doesn't seem to work with mms streams and decoding wmv3. I'm not a developer so I'm not able to debug the program, it's open source so anyone with the know-how can go right ahead and see if they can add support.

OMX Player:
https://github.com/huceke/omxplayer

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JonesRC
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Roku Live/VOD

Postby JonesRC » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:15 pm

ksolsen wrote:We've looked into the Roku channel idea as well. I would love it if we could make it work - it's a great, inexpensive device. However, we've run into a couple of issues:
1) Channel management - the Roku uses channels that you subscribe to. In theory, we'd need to create a new channel for every single new stake conference broadcast (definitely not feasible), or combine broadcasts onto a single channel (also probably not a great idea)
2) Lack of live streaming support - from what we've seen, it appears that Roku will only stream a saved file, and does not stream live content. So that really wouldn't work in the webcasting environment.


The Roku presents some interesting challenges being it is a consumer device. We currently approve the Roku for use but we are not supporting it. You can access the Mormon Channel, the Live Channel, and BYUtv but it has its limitations in that we can not create our own user interface. It is a consumer device. You must have the available bandwidth to access the media from the Internet unless you download it to a USB device and plug it into the Roku.

On the other hand. The Roku does do live streaming. You can watch CES Devotionals and Conference on both the Mormon Channel and Live Channel. We currently have 55 sites testing the box for accessing Conference. The Roku does both Live and Video-on-Demand. We actually tested the box as a streaming box and found that with the proper programming it can play a stream you enter from a URL. The issue is that the current communicator boxes we use only create a WMV file which the Roku Box does not support. We successfully tried it with an MP4 file.

The biggest issue we have with the box is that we cannot white label it. For the now you can use the Roku box to access LDS Media and live events and just set it up on your own account. I would suggest putting a pass code on it so others cannot add additional channels. We are looking at other alternatives that will provide us additional control over the interface and management of the media.

crees
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Postby crees » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:15 am

I was also looking at the Raspberry Pi for streaming opportunities but also MUCH more.

But really I think that whichever solution gets the "blessing" should also be used for in house media too. My Vision??? All pictures, Music, Conference Talks etc. be stored and or streamed and maintained by a xml fed repository hosted at lds.org. all media will be meta tagged and referenced to topics and lessons. So If was preparing a lesson on Baptism for CTRB I could "check out" a tv with an appliance (like the raspberry pi) and via menus select the correct topic or class lesson and Whalla. I have videos, pictures and music to my class. OH and don't forget an option to access streaming media such as church or meetinghouse broadcasts.

Reason for raspberry Pi? for one cost under 50$ two, Open source Three, Very customizable and also should be able to "White Label" it. Downside. For linux developers (sorry windows), no real time clock (solved by using NTP in Code) Few issues to consider mentioned by Radioactive73 (but certainty doable with some changes on streaming at HQ.

Any XMBC Pros out there? Can you customize and build your menus and content based off of a xml feed? I haven't dug in that deep yet to test out. but I like the fact that it can be skinned and white labeled.

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JonesRC
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Postby JonesRC » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:33 am

crees wrote:But really I think that whichever solution gets the "blessing" should also be used for in house media too. My Vision??? All pictures, Music, Conference Talks etc. be stored and or streamed and maintained by a xml fed repository hosted at lds.org. all media will be meta tagged and referenced to topics and lessons. So If was preparing a lesson on Baptism for CTRB I could "check out" a tv with an appliance (like the raspberry pi) and via menus select the correct topic or class lesson and Whalla. I have videos, pictures and music to my class. OH and don't forget an option to access streaming media such as church or meetinghouse broadcasts.


Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. Thank you for the thought on Raspberry Pi too. We were discussing that last week and are going to look into it. Video, Pictures, audio, quotes, and access to Mormon Messages, Conference talks, and additional media is all in the plan. Space and necessity will also help determine what content would be available as well. I especially like the thought of having a single unit that could work as a live streaming device for broadcasts. Thank you and keep the feedback coming. It helps us get additional insights into features that are wanted and lets us know we are on the right track.

markjmiller
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RasberryPi

Postby markjmiller » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:12 pm

I have also been looking into the RasberryPi - I just haven't gotten my hands on one yet due to the 12 week lead time so everything I say is just conjecture.

However, I really like the Pi because of XBMC and the support for AirPlay (I believe similar functionality is supported for Android as well). Basically, my thinking was that if someone were to bring in video or content on their device they could then "beam" it to the Pi for play. Then there's all the other things mentioned as well that would be beneficial.

Right now I'm buying and testing different media cables for different devices and trying to figure out how to train people to use them as well as let people know their available. A single device that could support USB, Airplay (or like), streaming or samba would be perfect (btw, I'm a Windows dev and I don't mind digging into Linux a little).

The downside is that the Pi doesn't currently support Wifi w/o another $10-15 adapter, so you're looking at probably $55 or having people find a ethernet port to plug into.


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