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Streaming the Inauguration In a School? 201

Anonymous Teacher writes "I work in a small school in Washington and we are trying to prepare a way to watch the inauguration in 20 classrooms over a 1.5 T1. As our bandwidth severely limits the ability to individually stream to these rooms, is there an alternative to presenting it to the students? Are there any sites that offer a downloadable copy of the video quickly after the event that can be hosted locally or is reconfiguring the computers to use a proxy server the best solution?"
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Streaming the Inauguration In a School?

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  • Projector (Score:4, Insightful)

    by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:20PM (#26477129)
    1. Gather all the students in an auditorium, gym or cafeteria 2. Set up a single PC with a projector 3. ????? 4. Profit!
    • This should be a no brainer, unless they don't have a gym for some reason.
      • by afidel ( 530433 )
        Or you know a projector capable of displaying to a gym sized crowd, that requires some serious lumens which costs big bucks.
        • by alta ( 1263 )

          Not really, plenty of churches display to chuch size crowds, where are similar to school sized crowds (500-5000.) I live in a non-rich zone/district and the local elementary/mid/high all have this capability.

          And a ginormous screen isn't as imparitive to the experience as making sure they can hear well.

          • by c_forq ( 924234 )
            I'm involved in one of those churches in the hundreds of people, and I can tell you the cost of the bulbs alone we use for our projectors cost more than most schools would feel comfortable spending on a complete projector. Unless the school has received a grant for it I doubt they will shell out for that good of a projector, even then I was at a school that turned it down a grant due to maintenance(mainly replacement bulbs) cost. Another debate for school purchasing is if it will get enough use to buy one
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
              You can easily get a pretty good projector (5000-9000 lumens) in the $6000 range. That's chickenshit money for even the smallest schools (contrary to pleadings of poverty, most schools actually get big bucks in technology grants for computers and related equipment). Most 5000 lumen models (like the NEC NP4000 [amazon.com]) can be had for under $4000.
        • Buy everything needed then request some bailout money.

    • With all the christian prayer that'll be going on at the inauguration, would this count as staff-sponsored captive-audience prayer in public school? Would be interesting to see in court ;)
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
        Well, the man being sworn in is already venerated like he's Jesus. Might as well go all the way.
  • television (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:22PM (#26477145)
    seriously... that's how we did it back in my day. While it isn't as sexy as modern computer tech, it just works.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 )
      And before that it was radio, before that it press, and before that it was in person. The simple fact is that time changes. I am 49 and would love to have kids see this from the net, rather than the TV. The news will be far more impressed by themselves and will be making loads of worthless comments; CNN will prattle on about this being a black man, while Fox will do everything to warn about the evils of a dem (with tones of it being that it is a black man). It would be better for the kids just to get a stra
      • Re:television (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @10:01PM (#26477501)


        • CPAN has feeds in Windows Media and Real. Dunno how this maps to anything or how you can suck down either feed and "rebroadcast it" over your network. My guess is both Microsoft and Real have some gadget that would support this.

          • I think he means, use a VCR.
            • Yeah, I meant (to the troll parent) that, if s/he really hates the networks that much, and wants the raw feed, that s/he could just watch CSPAN.

              The original poster could capture CSPAN on a PC and share it among all the classroom, completely bypassing their inbound network pipe.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by WhiteDragon ( 4556 )

            C-SPAN has feeds in Windows Media and Real. Dunno how this maps to anything or how you can suck down either feed and "rebroadcast it" over your network. My guess is both Microsoft and Real have some gadget that would support this

            VLC will also live convert a stream and multi- , uni- or broadcast it. A T1 connection should be fine for one stream, assuming that you have the local bandwidth. I actually set this up at a previous job. We had some DirectTV feeds going into a computer with a couple of video capture cards, and then re-transmitted it over the company LAN.

            Interestingly enough, I am also helping with getting a school set up to watch the inauguration. Our solution, have all the students go into the auditorium, and display t

            • You could do it trivially with a command like

              vlc http://path-to/stream [path-to] --sout '#std{access=http,mux=asf,dst=:8000}'

              Depending, of course, what format the input is in, you may need to change the muxer (not everything will sit in an ASF container. If your clients are also VLC, I'd use mux=ts for anything that's MPEG.)

              This is obviously a trivial-as-shit implementation, but it doesn't require multicast. If you wanted to do multicast RTP, you could do that with #sout{access=rtp,dst=,mux=ts}, for instan

      • Re:television (Score:5, Insightful)

        by adolf ( 21054 ) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Thursday January 15, 2009 @10:15PM (#26477611) Journal

        I agree, in theory.

        But in practice, your argument just doesn't stand up.

        First: TV is best. It's a broadcast medium, made to transmit a single moving image to thousands (or, in this case, millions) of recipients. It does this job very well. If you want to avoid outlandish commentary and commercialization, obvious channel choices are either C-Span or PBS (in order of preference).

        Second: There isn't enough bandwidth in a T1 to send 20 video streams of any rational (for 2008) quality. Multicast IP would solve this problem, of course, but the M-Bone is all but dead. (Wikipedia those terms yourself if you don't understand.)

        Third: Why do you assume that the coverage on a television channel like C-Span is worse than the coverage which might be available online? No matter what the medium, someone has to produce the feed, and in doing so, they'll almost certainly be adding commentary of some sort.

        Fourth: Internet video for the sake of internet video. Who gives a shit? I know it's 2009, and we're supposed to be in Teh Future and stuff, but for fuck's sake: If, in 2009, this were a solved problem, the question would never have been raised. Think about it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by WindBourne ( 631190 )
          Google for VLS if you do not know that application and do not understand how to set up your own broadcasting.

          If you like, I can direct you to schools that can help with your lack of tech knowledge and other schools (or books) to help with your lack of manners.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by adolf ( 21054 )

            I find the manner in which you attack the person instead of the idea to be very telling. It is a very moronic and nonsensical behavioral pattern, like using brass knuckles to finish off a chess match.

            Unfortunately, I don't know of any schools (aside from church, or perhaps prison) which can rectify such basic and imbecilic logical fallacies as these.

            I don't have any particular advice for you on this matter. These are just my observations.

            But I digress. VLC might be part of the answer, but Google brought

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by pbhj ( 607776 )

          Of course you'll need to make sure you've got a license to present the broadcast! Oh and if you choose to use a PC relaying a broadcast (from the internet or from a TV signal) then you'll need to purchase "secondary transmission" rights ...

          In the US 17USC111 (a)(5) appears to give a publicly funded school a pass on this. But it does say under ibid (a)(2) that you must comply with 17USC110 (2) which at (2)(D)(ii)(I)(aa) [!] requires that any digital copy is deleted before the end of the classroom session. Oh

          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            Uhm. So what, precisely, is your point?

            Either it is legal, or it isn't legal.

            First you say it's legal, with a few restrictions. And then, you say I (me??) need a lawyer.

            I'd write you off as just another troll, but trolls aren't don't generally present such well-researched facts. So what, exactly, are you trolling for?

            • by pbhj ( 607776 )

              IANAL, it was not intended to be a troll but a slightly ascerbic observation on the state of copyright. The variables are too great for me to guess whether the proposals are infringing behaviour. My suspicion is that if the signals can be received over the air (or by satellite, cable) from the providers agents (eg local cable company) that setting up a secondary transmission (eg buffering an internet feed and relaying on the school network) will be a copyright infringement and hence be tortuous malfeasance.

            • by pbhj ( 607776 )

              Sorry, the bit about needing a lawyer .. just because something appears to be legal doesn't mean you can't be sued for doing it. I can't really see a TV station suing schools for showing the inaugaration but strange things happen.

              The UK Police (http://www.afterdawn.com/news/archive/14487.cfm, amongst others, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/7029892.stm [bbc.co.uk]) got in trouble for listening to commercial free-to-air radio at work without a license.

        • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *
          And miss out on the Sean Hannity's "Obama: Will He Hand the Country Over to Osama Bin Laden?" and Keith Olbermann's "Obama: New Messiah or Merely Saint?" segments? No way!
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        And before that it was radio, before that it press, and before that it was in person. The simple fact is that time changes. I am 49 and would love to have kids see this from the net, rather than the TV.

        And every step in that progression you mentioned was an improvement in quality. So you'd rather have kids watch an historic event in grainy, choppy, crappy video where they can barely watch what's going on, rather than in beautiful HDTV where they can see everything? Just so they don't have to see professio

      • Except that TV is a hell of a lot better for broadcast. Why do people assume that computers are automagically better for every possible task? Sometimes, computers are not better. Not yet. Some day, maybe, but not in January 2009.
      • Maybe they should allow the to watch the ceremony, the swearing in and the speech, then turn it off and discuss? Forget streaming. Although the projector idea is good. I would think it is more about the content than the path it takes to get to your head.
        • by pbhj ( 607776 )

          Why not watch one with say 5 minutes of the stations commentary and have a recording of another station and watch same on that. Then you could compare the stations, discuss what was and wasn't shown and highlight how much power the media have to influence us. That would be a lesson and a half.

          No, I don't really think this would work in high school.

    • While it isn't as sexy as modern computer tech, it just works.

      It can work very well.

      HD projection. 1080p 60 fps.

      Multilingual captions. Signing. Second channel audio. Your choice of perhaps a dozen feeds tailored for specific audiences.

      Most schools I suspect began planning for the Inaugural no later than the day after the election.

  • VLC? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tyris ( 1315133 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:23PM (#26477147)
    Could be wrong, but can't VLC (VideoLanClient [videolan.org]) do the trick?
    Get it to recieve one copy of the stream, and then repeat it over the local network (assuming your local network has the bandwidth).
    • I second VLC. It isn't pretty; but it runs anywhere, plays anything, and is quite powerful.

      http://www.videolan.org/doc/streaming-howto/en/streaming-howto-en.html [videolan.org]
    • You shouldn't even need more bandwidth, if your local network is configured properly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      Ummm... TV...

      Dag Nabbit Back in my day classrooms had TV that you can pick up via Radio waves. Near every classroom had a TV, a huge 20" TV. I remember watching the first shuttle launch after the challenger exploded. The results of the first O.J. Simpson trial. Also other big current events that has happened during school hours. For the classes that didn't have a TV we just merged 2 classes together. I can't believe that civilization has fallen so far that this simple concept is no longer possible. And

      • by Chabo ( 880571 )
        For me, 9/11 was the big one.

        Starting at about 10:00AM, every class I was in had either the TV or the radio on, and we did no real work that day. Except band, of course.
  • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:27PM (#26477185)

    VLC might be an option.

    VLC can play back from a file that another process is writing to. So if you can figure out how to write the incoming video stream to a network filesystem, each classroom could use VLC to playback that file and you would only have to worry about a delay buffer of a minute or two to ensure smooth playback.

    While I have not tried it myself, VLC is also capable of rebroadcasting video. So if you can view the live stream directly with VLC, you can probably get that copy of VLC to multiplex it out to other VLC clients on other machines.

  • TV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:28PM (#26477203)
    It'll be broadcast free over the air. Give each classroom a TV. Why deal with the internet?
    • Re:TV (Score:4, Funny)

      by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:35PM (#26477265) Homepage

      What is this "TV" you speak of?
      And does it run Linux?

    • Maybe each classroom already has a computer or ten, but no TV. Why not deal with the Internet?

  • Is this why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:32PM (#26477243)

    ...we don't get much bang for our education dollars? Something that is going to be broadcast on 97 different networks for free, and you need to go through who knows what effort to stream it? Do you have math classes at that school? Get some parents to volunteer to bring in a TV. If you want the kids to see it later, you don't think YouYube will be inundated with copies of it?

    • Seriously! If they already have a projector or something for a large group, all they need is a VCR (or one of those new-fangled ATSC receivers I keep hearing about) to catch one of the OTA signals. Yet again, how did this manage to make Ask Slashdot?
      • Most schools have no reason for owning any sort of TV tuner in every classroom, and are located in steel-roofed buildings that do not get reception easily.

        Last I checked also, projectors weren't terribly common in K-8 schools, and also don't include any sort of tuner.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Albanach ( 527650 )

          Most schools have no reason for owning any sort of TV tuner in every classroom, and are located in steel-roofed buildings that do not get reception easily.


          When I was at school in the UK we would regularly - though not frequently - use video as part of lessons. The BBC broadcast a whole host of TV shows designed to be shown in the classroom with accompanying teaching material.

          Is this some peculiar European teaching strategy?

          All our classrooms has access to a TV and an aerial socket on the wall. Th

          • This is something mainly specific to the BBC (I've also lived in the UK, though I never attended school there)

            American educational TV does exist, though much of it is distributed via VHS, DVD, internet, or filmstrip. It's far more convenient to allow teachers to decide when and where they want to show the film.

            Also, much of the US has pitiful broadcast reception. Whereas I could receive 20+ channels of crystal-clear digital broadcasts in my middle-of-nowhere village in Scotland, I can barely receive 1 or

            • American educational TV does exist, though much of it is distributed via VHS, DVD, internet, or filmstrip. It's far more convenient to allow teachers to decide when and where they want to show the film.

              Also, much of the US has pitiful broadcast reception. Whereas I could receive 20+ channels of crystal-clear digital broadcasts in my middle-of-nowhere village in Scotland, I can barely receive 1 or 2 analogue networks from my house located barely an hour outside of New York City.

              Most schools that I have been in have either cable tv or satellite. Especially with cable, signal strength is almost never an issue. A lot of educational programs are on cable, as part of the community access program.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by adolf ( 21054 )

            Around 1992 when I was in school in Ohio, there was a big effort to put televisions in every classroom. Nothing terribly fancy; just wall-mounted 21" Zenith TVs with a factory modification so that they could be turned on centrally. Larger classrooms got more than one. There was a fairly elaborate head-end system with automated tape recorders which would record educational programs (apparently broadcast during middle-of-the-night off-peak hours for free). The regularly-scheduled use of this system was fo

    • Re:Is this why... (Score:4, Informative)

      by NNKK ( 218503 ) on Thursday January 15, 2009 @09:44PM (#26477363) Homepage

      The fact that they're running off a single T1 would seem to imply that the "Washington" being referred to is Washington State, not D.C. (since the latter is unlikely to have anywhere in it that it's not far easier and more economical to go for DSL or another more modern solution, yet there are many such places in Washington State).

      That being the case, some small schools, particularly in eastern parts of the state, may have difficulty getting any sort of television signal. Check out a map, we've got an awful lot of empty space up here.

      • I find it hard to believe that they have a T1 line - and no cable.

        But then, there has been an effort to run fiber to all the school districts in Washington. Here on the Peninsula they are running fiber to individual schools as part of a county wide fiber optic backbone.

  • Grab a Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro, and slap Linux on a laptop. Plug in, tune in a station with Kaffeine, and note it down. Then get VLC configured to multicast that channel to the classrooms.

    No need to kill the T1, when you can get digital TV of it for free.

    The only other way is to have VLC multicast a smaller stream that won't choke the T1.

    • by GiMP ( 10923 )

      I agree, although I wonder about licensing rights? Can they do this legally? Assuming they can, there are many sorts of variants of this theme. Is this why you can't just use televisions, or are you hoping to make use of large-scale projectors that won't accept a TV input? Why weren't you in an auditorium again? Well, okay, lets assume you do this with technology... grab a cable feed and stream it on your LAN, it won't touch your T1. The only reason you would need to touch the T1 is if you don't have

      • by Forbman ( 794277 )

        He did say he was from a small school district in eastern Washington, which is largely rural (except perhaps Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Yakima, Spokane, Richland, Kennewick and Pasco). If it was a school in any one of those towns, chances are they've got the free cable TV feed and can probably set up TVs in some/most of the classrooms.

        Will they show all the pomp and circumstance, or just Pres. Obama's speech and swearing-in?

        Indoctrination? Yeah, whatever.

  • As title says, Real has a nice streaming server called Real Helix and a producer (tool that creates the stream and sends it to the server for other people to view from server) called Real Producer.

    There is a free version for both Real Server and Real Producer Basic.

    Here's the page:
    http://www.realnetworks.com/products/free_trial.html [realnetworks.com].

    I believe you're not allowed to use the software commercially. As you use it for school and for noncommercial purposes you should be fine.
    It may also be worth to send an email t

    • Also, don't forget VLC [videolan.org]! It can capture, encode, stream, and play all in one package (and do so on virtually every platform under the sun).

      • That was what I was going to post, use one computer to grab it inbound then rebroadcast with VLC player, should be pretty easy to set up, and free.
      • I personally find VLC to be quite buggy on Windows. In fact, if I test now to create a stream and send it to a broadcast server, I'll either have no sound or VLC would crash with runtime errors after a few minutes.

        Especially about 2 years ago when I last did broadcasts with Real Producer, everything was a breeze, I don't think VLC even had streaming features then..

        I've successfully used Real Producer then with great success and also in more recent times using Adobe Live Media Encoder coupled with Ustream.tv

  • Or the PA system? Do you really need to see a speach? Sure, everyone wants to be watching when another president gets shot, but the chances of that are slim.

    Perhaps you could capture an AVI or MOV file from the live broadcast, burn or copy it to a bunch of cd's or memory sticks and deliver it to classes.

    Yes, I'm suggesting a sneakernet.

  • Why don't you just do whatever you did to stream the inauguration 4 years ago? Oh, wait.
  • Multicasting could have solved this problem. Too bad the MBONE [wikipedia.org] died.
  • Chucking... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stanislav_J ( 947290 ) on Friday January 16, 2009 @05:25AM (#26479767)

    This old fogy is getting a good laugh at the thread. Some (very few) have already touched on it, but what the hell is wrong with watching TV on a TV? Borrow someone's huge-ass plasma and set it up in a large classroom. You don't even need cable or satellite as the broadcast networks will be covering the inauguration stem-to-stern in beautiful 1080i HD.

    But no, the parent is hellbound to do this via computer. (And most of the responses seem to be troubleshooting and spitballing the idea.) Why? Because it's "cool" or the latest thing? Because he has some anti-TV bias? Or because he's so caught up in that "it's newer, so it must be better" mentality and literally did not even think of good old broadcast TV?

    Sometimes the best and most appropriate technology is the good ol' tried and true. There are many applications in life where previously existing and "old fashioned" solutions are good enough. (And much simpler.) Often it's also cheaper, and it's almost always a hell of a lot less convoluted and headache-inducing.

    Alas, so many are caught up in this "newer must be better" mentality. And the companies who develop and more importantly sell the stuff feed the frenzy by insuring that there's always something new out there to shell out the big bucks for. Today's new, neat-o technological breakthrough will be "obsolete" next year (hell, maybe next month) and of course you are encouraged to upgrade or replace what you already have that still works perfectly well for the newest, biggest, fastest, sharpest, shiniest, coolest thing. Feel free. I sit here with my old computer, relatively tiny picture-tube TVs, $29 radio and CD player, books and printed newspapers, and enjoy the hell out of all of them with no diminishment of my quality of life because all of these things are "old-fashioned." And I laugh.

    Now, turn down that music and get off my lawn, you whippersnappers...

  • CNN, VLC (Score:3, Informative)

    by gatkinso ( 15975 ) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:03AM (#26481165)

    Watch it on CNN.

    Or, download it and UDP stream to your.sub.net.255.


  • by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:47AM (#26481595)

    I graduated HS in 96 from Arkansas. That was 93-96 in HS and 90-93 in junior high. We had what was called "channel one" almost daily from junior high to the end of HS. What the heck was channel one? About a 5-10 min news program aimed at kids and broadcast to schools through out the nation. They had about a 5 minute local segment where the local school could insert their daily news program if they wanted from the A/V kids if they wanted. I had the impression at the time that it was paid for by a grant or bond or something. Now if we had that in Arkansas back then, I'd assume that every one else had similar educational tools growing up.

    If there was any content that the school wanted piped to every one, they'd make sure to tell the teachers and then they'd run it though the tv. They could centrally turn on the tvs play it and then turn them off. (It took effort of a teacher manually turning the things off if they wanted to do something during that period of time.)

    I'd really be surprised that in 2008 that there are schools without those sorts of resources. Oh on commentary, what the heck do you think we did for the next 5 minutes after channel one was over? It was discuss/debate what ever the heck was running and wait for the teacher to quieten the room down. We learned more from each other and discussing than from the teacher at that point. The teachers generally thought that it was cutting into their class time and didn't want to waste any time discussing most of the content anyway. It was wait for lunch if you wanted to talk about it. Like we'd have really cared to bring it up by then any way. ;)

  • Just do the same thing the school did when they showed Bush's inauguration to all the students.


Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp