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Author Topic: how to stream live video on a budget  (Read 1112 times)

ThomasA(lbenberger)

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how to stream live video on a budget
« on: May 26, 2019, 03:14:36 pm »

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

please advise me on how to encode and stream a video signal via existing cat5 (not cat5e or higher) infrastructure over an existing network infrastructure!

The background is: This is a low budget application in a multi-purpose venue, doing conferences and events. They have an existing network infrastructure built in the early nineteen-ninetys, done with unshielded cat5 cabling. Sometimes a customer requests the video-signal from the main room to be broadcast to a breakout room. Network cabling is present and the distances are fairly small, say, 30 metres from the floorboxes with cat5 connections directly to a cat-patchbay and from there another 50m to the breakout rooms floorboxes. no switches are in place.

What they have as input sources are either a camcorder with hdmi output (1080i/50) or the signal from the video mixer which is usually 1080p/50 hdsdi connection on a bnc patchbay.

The output is going to a 1080p/50 capable projector on to a 16:9 screen, width approximately 4.5 metres.

What I would prefer to do would be a point-to-point fibre connection to avoid any hassle with different ground potentials, converting the camcorders hdmi to sdi, sending it to the patchbay, and add an sdi+audio converter here, and an hdmi+audio decoder at the breakout room. How to set this up is clear to me.

However, this being a low-budget project, the 4-figure pricetag (excluding labour cost for the installation) brought up an alternative idea from the venues management, which I find intriguing: They asked me to research the possibility of streaming the content over their existing cat-infrastructure. The additional benefits are to be determined later, but accessing the stream from multiple locations within the building - also at the same time - would be one of them. Broadcasting to the public internet and recording would be others.

So here is my question finally: What do I need to reliably stream content at a quality that is acceptable for the projection size mentioned? Is there a simple way to encode the hdmi, embed an analogue audio input, and access this via - say - vlc player from another room within the same local network infrastructure? I would prefer to have a small box at the camcorders location that does all this, as opposed to a computer setup for the encoding side.

moving this box to the hdsdi patchbay and adding an sdi+audio to hdmi converter is possible for the occasions, where the signal from for example the video mixer is needed.

Thanks for reading my long post. I hope, I laid everything out as clearly as possible for you to see, where we want to go with this. Disclaimer: Ive been an audio guy all my life, but I have a fair understanding of the video side of this. Where Im lacking is the encoding/decoding side, the acceptable compression methods (h.264?) and the network/streaming part of it. For example: If I was to stream to the general public, say 200 clients at the same time, do I need a dedicated server for that? A subscription at a video platform?

Thanks so much for your time and help, it is much appreciated!

Best regards, Thomas

edit: topic title modified
« Last Edit: May 26, 2019, 04:36:11 pm by ThomasA(lbenberger) »
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Luke Geis

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2019, 06:38:45 pm »

I would just get a small mixer that collects all the video and audio and then mixes it down into your program media. You can then use am SDI/HDMI to USB adaptor that can get that mix into your computer which you can then use any desired program to stream, record or otherwise.

If you know you can get all the desired video and audio into one place, then it's just a matter of mixing it. Roland makes a relatively inexpensive video mixer that handles audio inputs as well. Several companies make Balun converters ( HDMI/SDI over cat5 ) that can transport the different formats via a network to the desired location as a point to point solution. The quick answer is that there is no cheap and easy way to do this though. You will need a video mixer one way or another. 
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Erik Jerde

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2019, 10:04:39 pm »

Cat5 is going to be your main limitation here.  HDBaseT would be my usual recommendation but Im not sure itll work on cat5.  It lists cat5e as the minimum cable.  If you buy from a place with a good return policy it would be worth a try though.  You may need two sets to go 80m.  Hard to say till you try.  Thatll get you a hdmi connection between the two locations.

Beyond that there is dsl variant technologies that essentially compress and then transmit across most any two wires.  Itll work on old cat3, coax, speaker wire etc.  Ive never used them just seen them advertised.

Any system which uses compression or other types of re-encoding is probably going to introduce a non-trivial delay.  This is only a problem if the broadcast location is close enough to the live location that you can see or hear both at the same time.

Streaming to a larger audience over the internet is a different and much more complicated situation.
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2019, 05:05:17 am »

I would just get a small mixer that collects all the video and audio and then mixes it down into your program media. You can then use am SDI/HDMI to USB adaptor that can get that mix into your computer which you can then use any desired program to stream, record or otherwise.

If you know you can get all the desired video and audio into one place, then it's just a matter of mixing it. Roland makes a relatively inexpensive video mixer that handles audio inputs as well. Several companies make Balun converters ( HDMI/SDI over cat5 ) that can transport the different formats via a network to the desired location as a point to point solution. The quick answer is that there is no cheap and easy way to do this though. You will need a video mixer one way or another.

Thanks Luke. Thanks Erik.

I'm afraid, I didn't make myself clear, I apologize.

HDBaseT is not an option, neither is a different network cabling solution. The cat5 (unshielded) with a patchbay in-line is a given. Hence, the search for streaming with the useage of a compression protocol, to get the datarate down. Since this is a send to breakout rooms, a delay of up to 10 seconds is acceptable, as long as audio and video are delayed by this same amount.

Erik:

Can you give me a pointer to this 'dsl variant technology', since I'm not sure what to feed my internet search engine with?

Luke:

The video input usually is just a single hdmi from a camcorder. For some events this is not the case, here it will be a single hdsdi output from the video mixer. Analogue audio is to be mixed separately and injected into this hdmi- or hdsdi-stream only for the purpose of streaming/video recording.

As I said before: An all-in-one box would be my preference. However, as an alternative I might consider a computer setup for the encoding part. Which USB Adapter do you have experience with? Which software do you have experience with? What are the differences between streaming within the local cat-infrastructure (point-to-point or with a switch in-line to multiple locations) versus streaming to the internet?

Thanks again! Thomas

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Jordan Wolf

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2019, 10:10:52 am »

Have you looked at the AJA U-Tap? It requires a computer and program to interface, but is flexible (and available with HDMI and SDI).

The Matrox Monarch HD is pretty self-contained, but Im not sure how well it holds up over time.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2019, 10:21:50 am »

Thanks Luke. Thanks Erik.

I'm afraid, I didn't make myself clear, I apologize.

HDBaseT is not an option, neither is a different network cabling solution. The cat5 (unshielded) with a patchbay in-line is a given. Hence, the search for streaming with the useage of a compression protocol, to get the datarate down. Since this is a send to breakout rooms, a delay of up to 10 seconds is acceptable, as long as audio and video are delayed by this same amount.

Erik:

Can you give me a pointer to this 'dsl variant technology', since I'm not sure what to feed my internet search engine with?

Luke:

The video input usually is just a single hdmi from a camcorder. For some events this is not the case, here it will be a single hdsdi output from the video mixer. Analogue audio is to be mixed separately and injected into this hdmi- or hdsdi-stream only for the purpose of streaming/video recording.

As I said before: An all-in-one box would be my preference. However, as an alternative I might consider a computer setup for the encoding part. Which USB Adapter do you have experience with? Which software do you have experience with? What are the differences between streaming within the local cat-infrastructure (point-to-point or with a switch in-line to multiple locations) versus streaming to the internet?

Thanks again! Thomas

So you are looking for an end to end streaming solution that can exist on top of an existing data network?  Correct?  Just want to make sure I understand...  do you have any latency requirements?

There are a bunch of variants of stuff like this out there: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1037095-REG/ocean_matrix_omx_hdmi_2_ip_hdmi_over_ip_extender.html

My understanding, from several people I know who have implemented them is they are quiet reliable, but the latency can vary from spec quite a bit. 


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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2019, 11:47:49 am »

So you are looking for an end to end streaming solution that can exist on top of an existing data network?  Correct?  Just want to make sure I understand...  do you have any latency requirements?

There are a bunch of variants of stuff like this out there: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1037095-REG/ocean_matrix_omx_hdmi_2_ip_hdmi_over_ip_extender.html

My understanding, from several people I know who have implemented them is they are quiet reliable, but the latency can vary from spec quite a bit. 


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Hi Cailen,

This Ocean Matrix System looks interesting. However, from reading the specs, this system would require Cat5e/Cat6 cabling to transmit full-hd content, so unfortunately, it is no contender. As I said before, I'm afraid, I will be looking at compressed video formats to keep the bandwith low.

But thanks for the suggestion.
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Luke Geis

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2019, 11:58:33 am »

10 seconds of latency probably won't be a problem with a local network. Whether a Balun converter will run through a Switcher, I have no idea ( never tried that ), as they are typically a point to point device. Black Magic Designs, Decimator, and several other companies make an SDI/HDMI to USB converter.

The All in one box solutions will be WAY out of your price point. The TriCaster Mini is a $10,000 solution!!!!! Albeit the best solution available possibly, there are not too many others like it that cost much less, let alone a cost that keeps things in a 4 figure price point.

My suggestion if you already have the Cat cables in the wall and going to a single point, you could disconnect them from the switch, run then Baluns as needed, use a small video mixer to get the video and audio sync'd up and sent to a computer, or other video over network adaptor that deals with your streaming. I do not think you can do your streaming and video signal delineation over the same network run. You will need to have two separate instances to do it. One dedicated to moving the signal around your network and another setup to run the stream.
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2019, 11:59:17 am »

Hi Cailen,

This Ocean Matrix System looks interesting. However, from reading the specs, this system would require Cat5e/Cat6 cabling to transmit full-hd content, so unfortunately, it is no contender. As I said before, I'm afraid, I will be looking at compressed video formats to keep the bandwith low.

But thanks for the suggestion.

With IP based solutions - the cabling is less important than the network infrastructure.  These units all compress the video - even on cat 5e its a gigabit only solution....

There is (and Ill look for it) and hdmi over IP solution that only requires 18 mbps of bandwidth for a 1080p stream.  Thats easily accomplished on a 100 mb network. 


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Cailen Waddell

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2019, 12:07:47 pm »

With IP based solutions - the cabling is less important than the network infrastructure.  These units all compress the video - even on cat 5e its a gigabit only solution....

There is (and Ill look for it) and hdmi over IP solution that only requires 18 mbps of bandwidth for a 1080p stream.  Thats easily accomplished on a 100 mb network. 


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For example (not the one I was looking for but this has lots Of options) https://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/video_over_ip/maevex/

This even allows you to set a transmit bitrate...


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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2019, 12:20:30 pm »

Have you looked at the AJA U-Tap? It requires a computer and program to interface, but is flexible (and available with HDMI and SDI).

The Matrox Monarch HD is pretty self-contained, but I’m not sure how well it holds up over time.

Hi Jordan,

thank you very much! This is exactly what I'm thinking about. Especially the Matrox unit, being a self-contained box, rather than needing a computer and audio interface as does the AJA U-Tap.

So, question to all: Lets say, we go the Matrox route. What other requirements are there for making it all happen?

Can I receive the stream on a local network, without going through an online-platform like youtube? What do I need at the receiving end?

Do I need to have my own server to stream live on youtube?

What alternatives to the Matrox Monarch unit are there, which you have personal experience with? An internet search with 'hardware video streaming encoder' lists a lot of products of this type. Who has used one before? What can you recommend?

Thanks a lot!

Regards, Thomas

edit: clarification: I meant the matrox monarch unit, not the one posted later on in the discussion.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 01:59:17 pm by ThomasA(lbenberger) »
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Erik Jerde

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2019, 02:12:03 pm »

Thanks Luke. Thanks Erik.

I'm afraid, I didn't make myself clear, I apologize.

HDBaseT is not an option, neither is a different network cabling solution. The cat5 (unshielded) with a patchbay in-line is a given. Hence, the search for streaming with the useage of a compression protocol, to get the datarate down. Since this is a send to breakout rooms, a delay of up to 10 seconds is acceptable, as long as audio and video are delayed by this same amount.

Erik:

Can you give me a pointer to this 'dsl variant technology', since I'm not sure what to feed my internet search engine with?

Luke:

The video input usually is just a single hdmi from a camcorder. For some events this is not the case, here it will be a single hdsdi output from the video mixer. Analogue audio is to be mixed separately and injected into this hdmi- or hdsdi-stream only for the purpose of streaming/video recording.

As I said before: An all-in-one box would be my preference. However, as an alternative I might consider a computer setup for the encoding part. Which USB Adapter do you have experience with? Which software do you have experience with? What are the differences between streaming within the local cat-infrastructure (point-to-point or with a switch in-line to multiple locations) versus streaming to the internet?

Thanks again! Thomas

https://altinex.com/product/anywire/

No idea how well it works.
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Erik Jerde

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2019, 02:15:09 pm »

I was just thinking that if the cat5 predates cat5e then its possible it exceeds specs enough to work for HDBaseT or gigabit Ethernet.  It could be useful to get the cables in question qualified to see what they are really capable of.  You may actually have more than you realize.
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2019, 03:16:39 pm »

https://altinex.com/product/anywire/

No idea how well it works.

hi eric,

thanks for the link!

interesting concept this anywire product. might be considered, if we can not get the network streaming to happen. although, i might just add an sdi splitter and run some co-ax to the breakout rooms then, which would give me better signal quality for about the same money, that the altinex runs for.

but thanks!
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2019, 03:30:19 pm »

I was just thinking that if the cat5 predates cat5e then its possible it exceeds specs enough to work for HDBaseT or gigabit Ethernet.  It could be useful to get the cables in question qualified to see what they are really capable of.  You may actually have more than you realize.

true, erik. always expect the unexpected... :-)

thanks.

im still pursuing the live streaming route for the added benefits of providing content to the general public, and recording the videos for archiving or other purposes.

so, of anyone can chime in with opinions on the matrox monarch or similar units, please go ahead.

opinions on computer setups with capturing devices and software (obs?) are also very welcome!

regards, thomas
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2019, 03:31:41 pm »

true, erik. always expect the unexpected... :-)

thanks.

im still pursuing the live streaming route for the added benefits of providing content to the general public, and recording the videos for archiving or other purposes.

so, of anyone can chime in with opinions on the matrox monarch or similar units, please go ahead.

opinions on computer setups with capturing devices and software (obs?) are also very welcome!

regards, thomas

We have had OBS be unreliable.  We find wirecast more reliable.  Both take considerable CPU power. 


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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2019, 03:52:46 pm »

We have had OBS be unreliable.  We find wirecast more reliable.  Both take considerable CPU power. 


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Thanks Cailen!
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2019, 06:20:09 pm »

Thanks Cailen!
Just be aware of what you may do to the venues internet connection.... for example, a machine pushing up at 5 mbps and then 3 downloading... will put a 15 mbps toll on your download pipe.  If you have fiber or a robust internet connection that may be just fine, if not - think about the potential impact before implementing.


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Jordan Wolf

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2019, 12:03:30 am »

There are a bunch of standalone streaming boxes out there:

Matrox Monarch boxes (as previously mentioned)

Extron Streaming Products

BlackMagic Web Presenter

Teradek

A lot of HoW use streaming interfaces, so check those blogs and forums as well.
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Jordan Wolf
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2019, 03:39:49 am »

There are a bunch of standalone streaming boxes out there:

Matrox Monarch boxes (as previously mentioned)

Extron Streaming Products

BlackMagic Web Presenter

Teradek

A lot of HoW use streaming interfaces, so check those blogs and forums as well.

Hi Jordan,

thanks for the links.

The Extron smp 111 for example retails for over 3000,- euros. That's way too much for this application.
The Blackmagic unit only goes to 720p, and needs a computer setup.

The Teradek Vidiu pro or the Matrox Monarch HDX might be a possible solution,
as well as another product I found out about, the Cerevo LiveShell X.

If anyone has any first hand experience with these products, please let me know.

Thanks for all the replies so far,

Best Regards, Thomas
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2019, 01:42:49 pm »

It sounds like the venue has insufficient infrastructure to offer this service regardless - either the equipment is too expensive or the cheap stuff is ineffective/incapable of delivering the signal quality needed.

Either this need to be a service with an additional fee to cover the costs of new hardware or cable/fibre installation, or the venue simply needs to say "we don't provide that service."

If the customers really want/need this, they will pay for it. 
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ThomasA(lbenberger)

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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2019, 02:06:57 pm »

It sounds like the venue has insufficient infrastructure to offer this service regardless - either the equipment is too expensive or the cheap stuff is ineffective/incapable of delivering the signal quality needed.

Either this need to be a service with an additional fee to cover the costs of new hardware or cable/fibre installation, or the venue simply needs to say "we don't provide that service."

If the customers really want/need this, they will pay for it.

Tim,

thanks for your input. I would agree with you to the extent, that the customers need to pay for the extra service of providing a feed to a breakout room. This is independent from the technical side of things how we achieve this, and it will take place.

Whether or not the infrastructure is insufficient is still to be determined. A Cat5 cabling infrastructure with no other traffic on it should be good for a decent quality compressed 1080p stream or multiples of that.

To find out if this can be accomplished on a budget, I started this thread, to get first hand opinions.  So far, I have one participant who discouraged me from using the (free of charge) obs software, but no first hand experience on the stand-alone streaming boxes in the price range up to 1500 or so.

I would say, my quest is not over yet. Im still hoping for other dear collegues to chime in with their experiences.

Thanks,

Thomas
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Re: how to stream live video on a budget
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2019, 02:06:57 pm »


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