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Old January 21st, 2014, 03:56 AM   #1
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Help with equipment selection for streaming project

Hi,

I'm working on a project and I was hoping to ask for your input. There are going to be 4 or more stationary cameras that will be used for filming fields in a sports arena. They would like to be able to save a recording locally and stream it live onto the Internet also. I have looked into using VLC to perform this task but I would be interested in other platforms that may be suited for the task. We also want something that is reliable and doesn't require physically touching or manipulating the cameras as they will be in an inconvenient location.

Camera solution:
1. Each camera will connect and stream video and audio through an Ethernet network.
2. One possible alternative is a camera with a HDMI output that can be captured by a stand-alone network streaming device
3. We want it to be capable of streaming 1080p.
4. I have seen some cameras that might work like the JVC GV-LS1/2 but they require a PC running their software from what I could determine.
5. We prefer a wide angle camera. The GoPro Hero3+ looks nice but isn't suited for stationary continuous streaming.
6. Something that isn't going to cost a fortune but will still be high quality.

Recording/Restreaming platform:
1. Looking for something that can be easily initiated by a non technical user. A custom menu for VLC is one possibility.
2. It would save a copy of the stream to allow burning to DVD.
3. We would like to be able to stream live and be flexible enough not to be tied to a single service (Ustream, etc).

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks,

- Dan
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Old January 21st, 2014, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: Help with equipment selection for streaming project

Hi Dan,

Let's see if I understand correctly. You have one large sports complex, and wish to record and stream up to 4 individual events simultaneously, correct?

Please note that for EACH stream, it is recommended to have 50% more bandwidth than you need for safety margin. So if you want to stream at 500Kbps for instance, your upload speed of the internet connection should be at least 750Kbps. Now multiply times four.

We're all accustomed to watching "HD" streams online (Netflix, YouTube, etc.), but in reality when doing your own LIVE streaming, it's not practical to stream in full HD resolution. For one, the bandwidth gets pretty heavy. Can your internet connection handle the bandwidth? Remember that upload speeds are always far slower than download. Can you afford the bandwidth? Streaming providers charge based on total bandwidth. Do your viewers have a fast enough connection, or large enough screen, to even VIEW a live 1080p stream?

The typical LIVE streaming resolution for do-it-yourself is actually 360p, which is 640x360 (16:9). 720p is pushing it, as far as having enough bandwidth, and 1080p live streaming is not practical for most users. And remember, we're talking times four. A well-encoded 360p stream can actually blow up and look decent on larger screens, and looks great on smaller screens.

A new device which might suit your needs to both stream AND record is the Matrox Monarch. It's a small stand-alone unit with HDMI input and pass-thru. Has a network jack for live streaming, and can also record an .mp4 of the event to a connected SD card or USB drive while streaming, and at a different resolution than the stream. You could live stream at 360p or 720p, and at the same time RECORD a full Blu-ray quality 1080p video from the input source.

The Monarch is configured using a web browser interface to set up streaming and recording parameters. Once configured, the unit can be used as a stand-alone device with basically two buttons, STREAM and RECORD. Quite simple to use at that point. Could of course also be actuated via the web browser controls remotely. Compatible with any CDN (streaming provider).

If I misunderstood and the 4 cameras are for the same event, then of course you'd need some sort of switcher to combine the feeds prior to streaming. Telestream Wirecast is ideal for this purpose, and also allows addition of titles, graphics, etc. and it runs on PC or Mac computers. You would need third-party hardware to get the video signals into the computer. Matrox has the VS4 quad-input card, and Black Magic has the Decklink Quad. Both accept HD-SDI inputs, so any HDMI cameras would need HDMI > HD-SDI converters installed.

If streaming 4 independent streams simultaneously is your goal, you may have to lower the expectations a little to adjust for the reality of what is possible, unless you have access to unlimited upload bandwidth.

Hope this helps

Regards,
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Old January 22nd, 2014, 05:46 AM   #3
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Re: Help with equipment selection for streaming project

Hi Jeff,

They probably won't be streaming 4 at the same time and you are correct, they are separate fields. Most likely they will only stream events that have significant interest. Initially they want it automated so no one will be monitoring/switching. I am looking to make a front end to allow front desk employees to initiate the recording and streaming as well as burn DVDs as simply as possible.

1080p is the optimistic goal, 720p will work fine also. The upload bandwidth is available if they want to ramp up to that level. The Internet connection offers the same upload and download speeds of whatever service is purchased (5/5,10/10,20/20).

The Matrox Monarch sounds like it may fit well. Do you know if the recorded video on the Monarch con be download via network? The cameras and encoder will have to sit on top of a 12' pole. The other possible option is to have a dedicated server setup to receive the stream from the Monarch with VLC to record and create DVDs. I'll definitely take a look at the Monarch.

Thanks,

- Dan
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 04:58 PM   #4
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Re: Help with equipment selection for streaming project

Hi Jeff,

I took a look at the Monarch and it looks like it will do everything we need including pulling files via the network. It also have an API for controlling it. Thanks for the heads up.

- Dan
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Old January 25th, 2014, 01:15 AM   #5
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Re: Help with equipment selection for streaming project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Pulera View Post
The Monarch is configured using a web browser interface to set up streaming and recording parameters. Once configured, the unit can be used as a stand-alone device with basically two buttons, STREAM and RECORD. Quite simple to use at that point. Could of course also be actuated via the web browser controls remotely. Compatible with any CDN (streaming provider).
Monarch HD isn't currently approved for Livestream as a CDN. Spoke with Matrox Tech Support a couple of weeks ago.

Otherwise a great box - buying one myself when they approve it for Livestream.
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