Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Discussions around receiving conferences and broadcasts for the meetinghouse via Internet.
swtbentley
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Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby swtbentley » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:24 am

I'm working with units in the Caribbean which would like to stream General Conference and other Church broadcasts by internet to their buildings. Claimed download speed in most buildings is 1Mbs, some have 3, a very few have 5. All typically have real speeds that are more like 50% of those rates, but vary from 10% to 70%. Some units need to stream 2 or more languages simultaneously.

Even with wi-fi disabled, there can be real challenges in getting a good stream (or 2 or 3). I'm guessing we're not the only ones in the world with these issues.

What are the available different streaming options, particularly for General Conference?
How do they compare in bandwidth usage?
How flexible are they for manually or automatically configuring bandwidth?
Are some more reliable for fault tolerance or buffering or other reliability?
Languages offered?
Other pros and cons of each option?

I realize there are many options, and they change from time to time. DIrect web browser pages (LDS.org, Mormon Channel). Roku (Mormon Channel, BYU TV), YouTube (no). "LDS Media Player" (?) fits in here somewhere (are we still dependent on Flash?). Are there other streams that play directly on a media player ("mms" streams). And how do they all compare?

russellhltn
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby russellhltn » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:09 am

Is there a reason that satellite isn't available?
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

lajackson
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby lajackson » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:50 am

I would not try to stream reliably at anything less than 1M. If 1M really means 500k, you will get a poor stream. The sound will probably be okay and the picture will pixelate or jump, or be anything but smooth. On the other hand, while a speaker is just speaking, it should work okay.

If I had a 3M service that really turned in 1.5M, I would be fine with streaming one language. With a 5M speed that might turn into 2.5M, I might consider streaming a second language. If any of those services only turn in 10%, you will barely get a stream with the 5M/500k download.

All of my conference streaming is backup to the satellite (where available). I do all of my streaming through the Church website using a capable laptop.

I cannot speak to the underlying technical requirements, except that the Church site will scale the feed based on your actual Internet reception at the time. But I would expect to have a real, no kidding 500k download speed for each language you plan to attempt.

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johnshaw
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby johnshaw » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:47 am

I have had no problems when streaming a single feed for anything when using 1.54Mbps DSL line as long as I was 1) Wired to the internet, meaning I was using an ethernet cable and not a wireless connection, and 2) shut off access for everyone else during that time.

You might see if there is a way to dedicate feeds to unique areas French in this building, English in this one. Are there member homes that have better internet connections that you might gather together in (for some of the smaller languages) etc...

I was curious about the satellite as well... maybe English on the satellite and another language on a stream
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swtbentley
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby swtbentley » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:58 pm

These are all in areas where satellite installations are NOT authorized (and thus don't exist): like a branch on Aruba or Bonaire (or many other islands), or branches and wards on larger islands (like here in the Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico or Haiti, etc) located at a distance from a stake or district center. Travel costs (and bus time and excursion food) typically make travel unrealistic. Members in these places generally don't have sufficient home internet or equipment to offer a viable alternative. Plus there's a lot of strength in having a group of Saints together. Satellites with multiple receivers are awesome where we have them, but I'm trying to improve things where we don't. Aruba's single branch deals in 4 languages, but they're happy when they can get 2 download streams (and that's after upgrading to the very expensive and still problematic 5mb stream).

We have the same issues with stake and district conferences. Webcasting is, literally, a Godsend. We make do with effective download and upload bandwidth of 400-700kpbs, generally at or close to the lowest resolution LDS Meetinghouse Webcaster offers. On several broadcasts I've supplemented with a cellular data service and Speedify as a bandwidth combiner; sometimes that helps a bit; sometimes we can't make that work either. Yes, we use wired connections and shut off the wi-fi. Our chapels generally have good US-standard equipment. What we don't have is good (reliable, consistent, and fast) "high-speed" internet.

So, the question for me is whether there are streaming alternatives that work better than others given the state of the internet we're blessed with! What service will give me the greatest throughput at the lowest bandwidth????

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sbradshaw
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:10 pm

I don't know very much about the various streaming options. Usually I watch General Conference using the stream on LDS.org. But I know that YouTube provides a lot of options – it can run on either Flash or HTML5, and you can manually select what quality you want to stream at.

If good-quality video isn't realistic, you could consider having an audio-only stream instead of video and audio.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.

swtbentley
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby swtbentley » Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:09 pm

sbradshaw wrote:I know that YouTube provides a lot of options – it can run on either Flash or HTML5, and you can manually select what quality you want to stream at.


Too bad YouTube doesn't pass the Church Firewall Test!

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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby rolandc » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:18 pm

swtbentley wrote:
sbradshaw wrote:I know that YouTube provides a lot of options – it can run on either Flash or HTML5, and you can manually select what quality you want to stream at.


Too bad YouTube doesn't pass the Church Firewall Test!


I would ask the stake president for permission to connect strait to the Modem and bypass the router for these situations because YouTube will stream at much lower speeds the LDS.org

There are situations where the assigned techy person is permitted to bypass the router.
Roland

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sbradshaw
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Re: Compare Streaming Methods for Gen Conf

Postby sbradshaw » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:15 pm

I always forget about that – sorry! :) We meet in a BYU building for church so we are able to use YouTube.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.


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