What do I need to know to stream a TV station to between 500 and 100 people?
May 3, 2008 9:29 AM   Subscribe

How do I set up a server to stream media ? A client has contacted us about developing a website with a streaming TV station and a streaming radio station.

The stations will run 24/7 with a great deal of duplicated content. Content items will run from 15 minutes to 2 hours. The client wants to set it up as a broadcast, so that if someone tunes in at 8am, he sees the same program as everyone else, just like with regular stations. Because of the need for playlists, it looks like progressive (http) downloads won't work; however, if there are alternatives to setting up a streaming server, I'd love to hear about them.

Right now, I'm getting a handle on hardware and coding requirements so that we can put a team together. We're in West Africa, so the budget is thousands of dollars, not tens of thousands of dollars. We're also looking at a maximum of about 1000 simultaneous users, but hoping to average between 100 and 500.

What kind of hardware should I be looking at for (managed dedicated) servers? And where can we find the Terabytes of bandwidth we'll need?

What do I need to know about compressing media (into Flash)? Best practices?

Anything else I should generally be aware of?

Licensing, content, and profitability are not my problems. Putting together a plan, a budget, and hiring people to do this are.
posted by asnowballschance to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Figure you'll need approx 300kb/s per feed. or about 50Kb/s. So, do the math.

300 x 500 x however many channels. So you'll need at least 15 megs /sec minimum. Streaming will be a necessity (but I"m not sure how you can have playlists, if you're talking about live content.)

Compression will have to be CBR or 1 pass VBR, and preferably with a hardware encoder.
posted by filmgeek at 2:30 PM on May 3, 2008

Well, you can go it alone if you want, but there's no need to re-invent the wheel. Look into farming it out to a an online media company that's already streaming for lots of other folks. They've already solved the hardware, software, and connection issues. You'd just be one more customer.
posted by exphysicist345 at 3:45 PM on May 3, 2008

VBrick. This is designed to do something similar to what you want.
posted by Gungho at 4:32 PM on May 3, 2008

There are a ton of options out there that let you stream your own live content. Even if you decide to go it alone, its worth taking a look at services like uStream, Stickam, Mogulus and the like.
posted by jjb at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2008

Response by poster: Ah! I was unclear, and my apologies. The content is NOT live. The client would like the online station to work like a regular TV station as far as having scheduled content is concerned; however content will all be prerecorded.
posted by asnowballschance at 6:37 AM on May 4, 2008

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