Feeds

IPTV/VoD: How to set up your own home/office system

It's dead easy, mate

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

4. Streaming live broadcast video

The first thing to simulate on your IPTV system is live TV that can be tuned into, and this can be done in two ways. The first is easy, the second is either painful or expensive. Live broadcast IPTV needs to be multicasted 24-7 over the IP network, as unicast is too inefficient. We will be streaming live TV from our video server.

For each channel, we need to broadcast a five minute looping precaptured video clip to a multicast IP address. For this, we can use the free VLC player, or the industry standard WinSend, created by Pixstream. The clip itself ideally needs to be previously encoded in MPEG-4 H.264 AVC, and formatted into an MPEG-2 transport stream.

However, VLC being the Swiss army knife it is means we can convert open virtually any video file and encode it on the fly as we are broadcasting. Open your video file, and use the advanced options in VLC to stream the output onto the network as UDP, using a multicast address such as 235.5.5.5 to a random port (such as 10201).

You can test if the stream is being correctly outputted by opening the same network stream with another copy of VLC on another computer on the network. Do this for as many channels as you require. Once they are broadcasting, the set-top box will be able to tune into the multicast stream just as VLC does.

The more advanced way to provide live broadcast TV (such as Freeview) over an IP network is to convert MPEG-2 video received from a DVB receiver (a TV tuner card, for example those made by Hauppage) into multicast format, which is known as IP encapsulation.

The painful way is to code your own encapsulation program using the vendor's SDK, and the expensive way is to buy industrial hardware that does it for you (for example, Exterity, Anevia etc).

5. Preparing VoD content

Making DVD quality video across your network is split into two separate parts – getting the video files into the right format, and secondly, setting them up to stream from a video server.

The bad news is that there isn't a free or open source VoD server that you can use to exactly simulate what would happen in a commercial service. Your video material will need to be pre-encoded in the same way the live multicast video is.

Software encoders from vendors like Elecard, MainConcept Cyberlink and Nero will easily compress video from most formats (MPG, AVI, MOV etc) into MPEG 4 H.264 AVC, but they will additionally need to be encapsulated in an MPEG-2 transport stream for delivery over the network. The free open-source Media Coder program produces excellent results.

Video is very temperamental and requires state control, unlike typical web protocols such as HTTP. RTP (real-time protocol) and RTSP (real-time streaming protocol) were designed to provide VCR-like controls for IP networks, and most, if not all commercial VoD servers use these technologies for delivering quality-assured video.

A lot of set-top box manufacturers have adapted their hardware to be able to simulate VCR-like features using HTTP so video can be streamed directly from a web server like Apache. We will use a combination of both to stream files ending in .mpg.

The main choices for serving video on-demand over our IPTV network are the open-source Helix Server and Darwin Streaming Server, both of which come in Windows flavour, but can also run on Linux. We also have a trial of the Elecard RTSP server that can also be run on either OS. If your own network is set up to use Windows Media, you can happily and easily unicast and/or multicast video from a Windows Server PC running the free Windows Media Server.

Once the video files have been pre-encoded, they need to be placed in the directory on the video server that has been allocated as the storage folder, as well as mirrored in the Apache web directory allocated on the web server. Almost all the RTSP servers have a web-based configuration panel and will need to index/identify each file for streaming.

Once these are in place, test the RTSP capacity of the server by opening a network stream to them in VLC, and once any problems are corrected, your IP set-top box will play them using its inbuilt API.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.