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Streaming cable TV
December 5, 2006 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I want to stream cable television from one location to another over an ADSL connection. The "viewing" location has a computer and an ADSL connection to the "streaming" location which also has a computer and cable access. How do I make this work?

I have a few computers I can throw at this, but it probably won't take more than two. The two I'm hoping to use are an AMD X2 Athlon 3800+ with 2GB of RAM for viewing and a old Athlon Tbird 1.3Ghz with 512MB of RAM and an ATI TV Tuner card for streaming. Both are running Pro, but I can wipe the second and put whatever on it.

If it's relevant, the ADSL connection between the locations is direct and not over the Internet or two ADSL modems with the same provider. Usage won't be an issue.
posted by ODiV to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
 
A friend of mine uses Orb to do something similar (although over the Internet). I'm clueless about the particulars, but their website might be a good place to start.
posted by daveleck at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2006


BeyondTV Link or Slingbox should do the trick. I can vouch for the quality of the first, as I am a beta tester for all of their updates.
posted by fvox13 at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2006


Have you looked at the Slingbox?
posted by jozxyqk at 11:51 AM on December 5, 2006


The Tbird might be fast enough, but the hard work in this sort of arrangement is going to be done by the machine providing the stream, so you might benefit from putting the tuner in the fast machine.

Your choice of codec is going to be determined by the bandwidth you have out of your location. If it's ADSL, you are probably lucky to get more than 512kbps pushed out, which probably means you want to go with H.264 to get the best result. That's probably going to be too much for the Tbird at any sort of resolution you want to deal with.
posted by Good Brain at 12:05 PM on December 5, 2006


Thirding the Slingbox, since this is exactly what it's designed to do.
posted by genghis at 12:20 PM on December 5, 2006


The Slingbox is good, but I think the poster wanted a solution that would work with the equipment he has on hand.
posted by reverendX at 12:30 PM on December 5, 2006


I went to the electronics store and they have a Slingbox in stock, but don't really know much about it. I'll have to read up on it online and see what kind of bandwidth it uses and quality it provides. It's kind of appealing because then I won't have to babysit a computer that has multiple components that can fail. The Orb thing looks pretty cool (and unless I'm missing something is free) so I'll have to read up on that too.

Good Brain: Putting the 3800 dual core as the streamer isn't an option because it's my main computer and I play games and stuff on it. I'll have to see how much throughput I have from one location to the other.

Also, I think my tuner card has hardware encoding on it, so that should help.
posted by ODiV at 12:41 PM on December 5, 2006


I've done something like this with VLC and its transcoding option, watching programs on the downstairs TiVo on my laptop over wifi while upstairs. The computer with the capture card near the TiVo captured and encoded the A/V with VLC and spewed UDP packets to the laptop, which used VLC to display the stream.

I could even change channels or switch recorded programs through the web-remote provided by TivoWebPlus on my hacked TiVo.

This page has some good VLC transcoding examples to start from.
posted by xiojason at 2:05 PM on December 5, 2006


Seconding VLC. I use it to stream recorded shows from my ReplayTVs over the web, transcoding from MPEG-2 to DIVX as it goes. It's works pretty well, and is surprisingly light on the CPU (post-2003 models, that is).
posted by meehawl at 2:58 PM on December 5, 2006


Second Orb.
posted by Merdryn at 6:44 PM on December 5, 2006


To paraphrase JWZ, going the build-your-own route for this instead of getting a $180 Slingbox is prudent only if your time is worthless.
posted by intermod at 7:11 PM on December 5, 2006


only if your time is worthless

Or if you are a tinkerer, or like seeing things work way in advance of mass adoption. I was streaming recorded video from my home into work (yes, I was bored) back in 2002. And loading videos onto handhelds. The Streambox SBT3-9100 does HDTV streaming, but I have yet to see one in the wild. But it's been possible (if you have a pipe with ~3Mbps) to do HDTV with XVID for a while now. Quality is excellent.
posted by meehawl at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2006


Ended up buying the Slingbox because my Tbird isn't working all that well and it doesn't look like it'd be powerful enough anyway. I've got a Pentium dual core chip sitting here doing nothing, but a Slingbox is a lot cheaper than the components to build a system out of said chip.

I have the Slingbox working ok at the streaming location now. I just have to forward the ports and see what kind of bandwidth I get to the viewing location.
posted by ODiV at 9:45 AM on December 7, 2006


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