There is only one way to really provide the best experience at delivering this content to our members and leaders for their use in gospel training and instruction. The media content needs to be local, and it must support all types of formats. The need is to have a media server locally in each meetinghouse. I've used a couple of these over the years, tversity was my first (where I was able to stream content from my computer to the web browser in my wii --> which then turned me on to Netflix --> roku. While looking around at Roku, I found an application called plexapp.
What a media server does is transcodes a stream to your client device based on what the client device needs. The Plexapp media server has a client for Roku, Android (phone/tablet), iOS (phone/tablet) and windows (laptops) it even supports DLNA so GoogleTV is there and anything else DLNA compliant. When you download media content and let the plexapp media server 'make it available' you browse through it like you would netflix or amazon prime, etc...
This means that anywhere in the building with wireless or a cable I can deliver content from a computer in the building, and not rely on the Internet for streaming.
Once the media server is available and streaming locally to my building, the next question is how do I get the media content to my other buildings. Well, I decided to use bittorrent. On a single computer I download the content and then 'seed' that content from that computer. As I distribute that torrent to other plexapp media servers in other buildings, They download the content (through the week, not on sunday) and plexapp sweeps the new content and makes it available. The more 'seeds' of the torrent content the faster each successive install is to download all the content.
I have a couple of diagrams here of what I am looking at right now. I had originally envisioned this as a potential community project, there is a lot we can do together here, after talking to CHQ, they are doing some evaluation around products that deliver content like this, only from a commercial product, I found out they have evaluated plexapp as well. I suggested, and still maintain that the power of our community could get this done and deliver a very nice product, however, they are, necessarily, concerned about a global delivery mechanism, and consistent results. There is some benefit to a commercial solution, though it is extremely costly.
One of the major problems is that actual downloaded media. There is no consistent metadata anywhere on the church websites, whether you download from the media center, mormonchannel.org, youth website, you are not even guaranteed the Title will be the same, so I have to manipulate all the metadata each time I download something. I'm looking at adding this content to the freebase metadata monster so when a filename is found, it won't matter to the media server what is in the metadata on the file, but it'll pull it from the online content from freebase.
This is a very lofty goal, but I tire of trying to get somebody's ipad or laptop to work with a projector, or watch a message just to have it buffer. When my stake president says, I want to show this mormon message and I groan outloud to let him know how frustrating that can be (I have 9 buildings in my stake and other than our new stake center, not ONE of them has a new LCD TV you can easily plug into and many of my building TV's only have an RF on the back forcing people to use a modulator)
So my plan....
- Download all the content, fix the metadata and start seeding through torrents
- Install media servers at each building
- Install torrent client and start downloading/seeding content
- Instruct members how to purchase the Plexapp client on their devices or install windows client on laptops
- Install Roku on each TV in our stake --> one additional for each projector in our stake