TuxTV – Concept

Flicking through the channels this afternoon has got me thinking (oh dear!). Currently, I have Freeview in my room, with a 500GB recorder, and SkyHD downstairs with a 500GB box.

All of the other rooms just have standard Freeview, with no recording facilities.

The thing that annoys me is that if someone else is using the Sky downstairs, I can’t watch anything that I’ve recorded earlier. There’s no physical way at the moment to get it off of the SkyHD box, which sucks because I might want to view it on my iPad.

Also at present, we can only ‘watch one, record one’ on the Sky box, and I can only watch what I’m recording upstairs, which is really annoying. At least with the HDD recorder I can burn it to DVD, but that’s still crap if I want to watch it on my iPad.

After some Googling, I’ve found a few tutorials to watch TV on your PC. Yes, that’s very cool, but that still doesn’t help my problem.

Basically, I want to be able to watch any channel, from any TV, PC or iPad (connected via wifi) in the house, at any time, regardless of whether someone else is watching it elsewhere in the house.

How am I going to do this? Linux.

Objectives:

  • Broadcast all 32 Freeview TV Channels, and all 22 Radio Channels to any connected device in the house.
  • Allow individual devices to record any channel, at any time, regardless of who else is watching the stream.
  • Build up a ‘central repository’ of commonly watched TV recordings on Network Attached Storage. (Maybe some integration here to find out what each family member ‘likes’ on Facebook, then automatically scan the EPG for this program, and tune in and record at the correct time.)
  • Remove the need to have any form of TV aerial and tuner in every room.
  • Central ‘box’ running Linux that distributes the channels across a 1Gbps backbone network.
  • Streaming should be done using multicast, so that bandwidth does not increase when more users are tuned in.
  • Send emails to users when a new recording is avalible.
  • Possible web portal to allow users to login and set new recordings, list recordings, view 7 day EPG, delete recordings, and organise into folders?

Hardware:

  • So far, I’ve got a few desktop machines kicking around which I can use as servers for streaming.
    • Might need to chop them up and mix them about to get a good spec.
  • Multiple network cards needed on streaming hub. (Maybe 2x 100MB/s cards?)
  • A few DVB-T PCI Tuner cards.
    • 1 for each multiplex needed.
    • Or a dual tuner card for two multiplexs. (Half number of cards).
    • Maybe look into a DVB-T2 card for FreeviewHD channels? Depends on price.
  • A few Raspberry Pi’s (Model B) to act as clients.
    • One connected to each TV in the house.
    • Might need wireless cards for those in areas not connected with Ethernet yet.

I think I’m going to have to look into this more, but from what I’ve seen around, this is definitely possible.

Just might take a bit of work getting the Sky subscription decoded, and I know this has been the centre of attention for a while for many people wanting to record SkyTV on their PC, let alone broadcast it round the whole house.

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