Live Streaming Videos Over the Network on the Cheap

So I’ve been talking to our facilities manager about how the tv stations are channeled through the building and onto the various wall mounted tvs.


As much as they would like you to believe that this streams information all day, most of the time these things stream TV etc. as well.  No big deal until you consider all the cabling required to connect an antenna to each of these and the multiplexer units required to lay cable TV signal onto those cables.  1 multiplexer per channel, each multiplexer can do 2 channels (at least that’s our ones) and can cost up to a few thousand dollars each.  But what if we also want to occasionally stream an alert to the whole building?  For example during an evacuation.


So what can we do to make it cheaper.  Well, this is half bakery, so while I don’t have a full baked solution to show, I’m fairly certain I have something.  But let’s start with the half baked bit.  Mini computers or even a chromecast (tethered to ethernet) are about $40 these days.  So let’s assume we’re going to stick a computer to these.  Can we control the streams from a central point?

That’s been today’s half-bakery.  Just using VLC player we can stream out video or audio from a central point to multiple screens or endpoints.  Since this is basically all contained here in the VLC manual, I won’t repost.  But I will say that due to corporate firewalling, we had to make use of http streaming as port 80 is always enabled for web.

To pick up that stream once it’s running, we just go to one of our client machines and open up vlc.  Click on File, then Open Network and enter the url of your streaming source.  Don’t forget to set it to repeat the playlist.  Now we can do wondrous things like this…

<Media to come. Sorry, behind a sucky firewall>

So that proves we can multicast out from a single point to multiple endpoints and even change the media out to display different things.

to be continued…



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