So, you’ve read my guide to streaming Freeview via VLC, and you’re thinking, ‘that was too easy’. What’s next? Well, we’ve streamed one channel, and you could potentially leave that running for your users… but what if someone wants to watch a different channel?
How about streaming ALL the channels?
I’m so glad you asked.
In my last school we had an Exterity IPTV system that I had been quietly jealous of ever since I left it behind. A commenter on my last article had the same system, but was less enamoured of it on account of the fact that his was buggered. Certainly a distressing situation to be in given how expensive Exterity is: buying the full 6-tuner system from RM will set you back over £8,000. They may not be the cheapest supplier, but you get the idea.
The thing is, these systems are a few years old, and the world has moved on. Today, free open-source software exists that will let you and I build something to do roughly the same thing for less than £500.
Yes, £500. You’re welcome.
On Wednesday, the England vs. Slovenia World Cup match brought many a broadband connection across the UK to its knees as iPlayer, the BBC’s streaming video service, hit a peak of 800,000 concurrent streams (mostly skiving gits who should have been working).
Even before the match, IT professionals in schools were marginally backing a meltdown in a poll on EduGeek, realising that demand coupled with shared local authority bandwidth would likely scupper chances of getting a decent stream in schools. That prediction was largely borne out on the day, though experiences varied, with some schools getting a decent feed, while others got only a few minutes into the game before it stuttered to a halt.
We had no problems watching the game at all; we had more than 25 computers across the school watching a high-quality feed, despite having nothing more than an ADSL connection for the entire site.
I realised the night before the match that I already had everything I needed to serve up a live site-wide feed without using an Internet streaming service at all. Instead, I used a TV tuner to stream the DVB-T Freeview feed straight off the air and onto our network. Here’s how you could do the same.