TuxTV – Part 2

The more I think about this project, the more I want to do it.
I’ve decided that the best option is to complete it in two parts. The main reasoning of this is to test the functionality before I go the whole hog.

First off, I’m going to setup two servers that will power the backend. These will handle the incoming streams from the aerial, through a number of DVB-T tuner cards.

I’m not too sure on the cards I’m going to get yet. Depending which server I fit them to, I might just get USB instead of PCI. Cost is also going to be an important factor, for standard definition freeview I’m going to need one card for every multiplex. For those who don’t have an engineering degree, a multiplex is a collection of channels that are all being digitally streamed on the same frequency block. In theory, when you change the ‘channel’ on your freeview or satellite box, you are in fact just changing the multiplex that the tuner is tuned into. Viewing BBC One is infact streaming the whole of the BBC multiplex down to your box, and then the software on the box just ignores the streaming data for all the other channels, apart from BBC One, which it passes onto the screen. Due to this, we can exploit the software functionality, by asking it to split each of the channels on the multiplex into a different digital stream, which we can then pass over the network to as many VLC clients as we want.

So to stream each of the 30 channels, and 20 radio stations, we need a tuner for each multiplex. This will allow us to watch and record any channel at any time, regardless of whether someone else is watching it. Currently there are 6 multiplexes for FreeView TV an a DVB-T2 multiplex for FreeviewHD. This means we need 6 DVB-T cards (or 3 cards that have dual tuners) and 1 DVB-T2 card for the HD. In theory, DVB-T2 cards will let you receive standard definition channels. If you can afford it, get 7 DVB-T2 cards. At the time of writing, these cards aren’t that cheap, so buying 7 would be costly, but would future proof the system.

I’ll write more later…

  4 Replies to “TuxTV – Part 2”

  1. James Davies
    January 23, 2012 at 18:54

    Hi Rob,

    As per my other comment, your ideas are great but I had really no experience of coding etc. Could you produce a step by step or better still video tut?

    • January 23, 2012 at 19:23

      Hi James,

      Yes a tutorial is defiantly on the way once I’ve finished it all 🙂

  2. Aygun
    January 29, 2012 at 20:47

    Rob , tryied that allready with 5 USB hybrid Dongles ( Analog and DVB-T ).
    Used VLC but de USB bandwidth is to low for multiplex streaming.
    Trust e on that.
    I had to make in IPTV station on some hotels .
    The point is that you have to manage the USB bandwidth but in the same time the ethernet or wireless bandwidth.
    An Wi-Fi N will be enought just for maximum 10 users with an decent quality of video and audio. BTW , when is creating the cache you will see an suttering and slow fps but when the cache wil be full everything can go smoother.

    I wonder if you will go so far with the project and create also EPG and an channel list that can be downloaded on any device .

    Right now I’m working on an project to strem over wi-fi from one computer with analog usb dongle to my transformer tf1o1 .

    • January 29, 2012 at 21:59

      Regarding the USB bandwidth, I’ll be using PCI or PCIe cards. Most likely dual tuners to avoid issues with running out of slots. I’ve got two boxes that I’m going to use as servers for the cards. One will act as a master running TVHeadend, and then another as a slave just being used to process inputs from the cards. Both will be linked to the local SoftCAM server running on the master server. Wireless and connectivity wont be a problem. I’ve got a 1gbps backbone network, and a seperate Cisco access point that I can use just for streaming, in those areas where I can’t run off the main switch.

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