I thought this was worth a mention…

Surprisingly enough, even though I work at a “Media” museum it’s surprisingly hard to get a TV picture anywhere in the building. Apparently it’s because we’re in a dip in the landscape, and can’t pick up terrestrial. That said, the four 6′ satellite dishes on the roof should be able to help us in some way, surely?
Well, it turns out the only person that helps is me and my trusty little edit suite on the top floor. Only I have the power to tune into digital satellite channels, as we simply don’t have the infrastructure to pump a 800MHz signal around the building. So, as you can imagine, I had more than one person today asking me if they could watch Barack’s inauguration ceremony … what could I do?

Luckily I’ve recently twisted our IT department’s arm who have allowed me to add a Windows streaming media server to their network. After a bit of digging around in some old boxes I found an dusty Viewcast Osprey card and shoved it into a PC. After an hour of messing around with drivers and Windows Media Encoder 9, I eventually had what seemed to be a working, full SD video stream. There was no time to test – with only minutes to spare – so I emailed everyone in the building with the news. This was to be the first time we’d ever streamed full SD video to everyone in the museum …

… and what do you know: it worked! The server peaked at 25x2Mbit streams, which is impressive. As far as I can tell every office in the building had access to feed, which was just as well as our locked-down network doesn’t play nicely with the BBC’s iPlayer.

I like it when a last minute plan comes together ;o)

Categories: Digital Media


Shaz · 21 January 2009 at 7:50 pm

Thanks from a happy viewer!!
As you say getting a live picture in there is verging on the impossible! So nice to be able to witness history in the making rather than the 20 second news ‘bits’ on the news later!

Phil · 21 January 2009 at 10:31 pm

I remember when you streamed the Test Match for us… although that wasn’t strictly a “public” project ;o)

Ooh, I hope Rich doesn’t come along and read this. I don’t think he knew about it… I can only begin to imagine the response we would have got from abusing the museum’s sacred network for such purposes!

Rich B · 22 January 2009 at 4:36 am

LOL…too right, it wouldn’t have happened in my day….hold on…seems it did, I was obviously too busy wrestling with Janet Qureshi over OSX admin rights or trying to avoid Steve Cummings to notice….either that or in the pub with Tennant for lunch.

(They’ve locked down iPlayer? Unbelievable…!)

Oli · 22 January 2009 at 9:39 am

Ah yes … I remember that. We could only stream to a maximum of 4 PCs though. This time I’ve upscaled things slightly ;o)

Rich, they’ve not locked down iPlayer … but whatever “improvements” they made to the network about 12 months ago means that 8/10 attempts to play an iPlayer stream results in a browser crash. And dont even get me started on the fact I have more than 5x the internet bandwidth at home that I do at work… :o)

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