Any demand for a new webcast receiver?

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
darcy.morrissette
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Any demand for a new webcast receiver?

Postby darcy.morrissette » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:44 pm

I'm currently working on making a purpose built appliance for receiving webcasts, and was wondering if there is any kind of demand for this? I could make several of them for others to use.

I noticed the church no longer has the Meetinghouse Webcast Receiver and even a re-purposed PC isn't all that great. I've noticed with using a computer to receive webcasts there is a learning curve for local units (even with a single click .bat file that opens the broadcast in fullscreen) due to inevitable video out issues with switching between satellite and internet feeds, or maybe its just our setup.

It's also getting harder, and more expensive to retrofit computers with composite video out. Instead I plan on building (work has already begun) a Linux based appliance that has composite and HDMI connections. It automatically starts receiving the broadcast once its powered on and will automatically re-connect if the stream dies. It should cost under $100 when completed.

Our buildings still only have coax ran throughout the building so composite to coax has been what we use, however these devices are credit card sized so they could be plugged in right by the projector with HDMI or HDMI -> DVI adapter for better quality - just need a network connection.

Anyways, just thought I would see if other stakes may benefit from this or not.

---
Darcy

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:02 am

It would be interesting to see what you come up with. I imagine that interest will pick up once it's a proven device.
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aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:45 am

I'd be interested.

And if you can come up with a better webcast appliance I'd be interested in that as well - we just bought one, it failed after eight minutes of working - and the resolution process is they charge us full price again, send us a refurbished one then make a decision if they will honor the warranty.

The only troubleshooting they performed was have me hook up KVM and verify that MSIE 6.0 works.

sammythesm
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Postby sammythesm » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:52 am

I'm interested, too. Would be good if there were some kind of VNC server in it as well for remote troubleshooting and management.

aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:00 am

Linux-based, please. Make it much cheaper than anything windows-based.

And it would be harder for well-meaning people to mess with it.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:27 am

aclawson wrote:And it would be harder for well-meaning people to mess with it.


Or re-purpose it.
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

michaelfish
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Postby michaelfish » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:36 am

I was wondering how the curent 40' limit of an HDMI signal may impact implementation once the project is complete. Although there are HDMI to CAT5 and Coax now available (at additional cost), I was wondering what inputs and outputs are you plan to have in the design?

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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:19 pm

Isn't the team working on a ROKU channel for this? Seems a bit cheaper and a purpose-built device... although to it would need to support broadcasts from a webcast software, PVC, and all church media streams if it's going to scale.

KeithWilson
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Postby KeithWilson » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:06 pm

I would be interested as well. Our projectors have VGA, one even has HDMI, so the better quality, the better.

ksolsen
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Postby ksolsen » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:57 pm

Hi guys - good discussion. I'm the product manager for webcast here at Church HQ. I know the Meetinghouse Webcast Receiver was reasonably popular while we offered it, so I have been looking at possible replacements. I've seen a proposed box in the $320-400 range that could be either Windows or Linux based that I thought looked pretty good. At this point, still evaluating what our overall strategy should be and gauging interest - sounds like there is some, not only from this forum posting but also in talking to others.

@aclawson: if your newly-purchased Meetinghouse Webcast Communicator failed in the first 8 minutes, it is absolutely covered under warranty. The product actually has a 3-year warranty. There shouldn't be any question about warranty coverage unless you drove a truck over it. :)

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.

We certainly didn't do an exhaustive study of Roku, so I'm sure there are people out there with more knowledge and experience, but those factors caused us to stop spending any more time with it. If you have other ideas, let me know.
Kurt Olsen - Product Manager at Church HQ for Digital Presentation (Personal Video Conferencing, Meetinghouse Webcast, Conference Rooms, Video Conference Endpoints, Meetinghouse Digital Content)


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