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DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN (VLC &

By Diego Villa
Created 01/05/2009 - 09:55

Diy diy iptv tv videolan vlc vls

DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN

VideoLAN is a project that was started by students at the École Centrale Paris in France. The
software was first released under the open source GNU General Public License and is now
continuously being developed by contributors worldwide. It originally consisted of two programs
– the VideoLAN Client (VLC) and VideoLAN Server (VLS). They were later merged into one
program, the VLC Media Player.

VLC can be used to do the following applications:

Play back CD, DVD or audio/ video file from the network, hard disk and other storage
Recording of audio and video materials into DVD or other storage media using different
file formats like WMV, AVI, MPEG-2, MP4, MOV, DivX, VOB and others.
Transcoding audio/ video material from one file format into another. (ex. Converting DVD
VOB file from DVD to AVI file).
Streaming audio and video materials into a network for point-to-point application using
UDP unicast transport protocol. (ex. Videoconferencing between two sites).
Streaming audio and video materials into a network for point-to-multipoint application
using UDP multicast transport protocol. (ex. IPTV system)
Video-on-Demand (VOD) application across a network using the HTTP transfer protocol.

We will talk about one of the applications that we did for our office, which is a small IPTV
system. Our signal sources come from satellite TV, terrestrial broadcast and a CCTV camera.
These signals are streamed from video servers that are connected to our network and are
received and decoded in individual workstations or mobile laptops.

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DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN (VLC & VLS) http://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/52063

As seen from the diagram, each signal source has a corresponding video server. To receive
satellite signal, we used a DVB-S PCI card installed in a video server. For the terrestrial
broadcast signal, we connected the audio/video output of a TV tuner to the A/V inputs of a
video graphics PCI card installed in another video server. The same was done for the CCTV
camera which video signal was fed to the video input of a video graphics card in the third video
server. All the ethernet ports of the video servers are connected to the same network where the
client workstations are also connected.

After connecting all the signal sources to the video servers and the network, the next step is to
stream each signal to the network. From VLC’s File menu, select Open Capture Device and
then check the Stream/Save and Settings buttons to open the Stream Output window. In this
window, click Play locally (if you want to view what you are streaming) and the UDP button. In
the IP address field beside the UDP button, input, which belong to the range of IP
addresses designated for multicast protocol. Do the same procedure for the other sources with
the multicast IP address progressing -, and so on.

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DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN (VLC & VLS) http://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/52063

You can select what particular codec and bitrate you prefer in streaming a program. This will
also depend on available bandwidth that your network can handle. Mp4v requires lesser
bandwidth than mp2v and is recommended for small capacity networks. You can also use
sources other than video graphics or capture devices. If your source is from the video server’s
hard disc, select Open File and if its from the DVD drive, select Open Disc.

To view the streamed program in a client PC, you should also have the same VLC media player
installed in the PC. From the File menu, select Open Network Stream and then check the
UDP/RTP Multicast button. In the IP field next to this button, input the IP address of the source
program you want to watch (ex. input to watch the program streamed from that IP
address). To view the next program stream in the same client PC, input and so on. If
you want to create a playlist or a channel list of the available program streams in your IPTV
system, select Playlist from the View menu to open the Playlist window where you will see all
the opened program streams. Select Save Playlist in the Manage menu and create a file name
for your playlist. The next time you open VLC, you can access the saved playlist either from the
File menu or the View menu. If you have a mobile laptop with VLC installed, you can also watch
the streamed programs via a wi-fi access point that is connected to the network.

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DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN (VLC & VLS) http://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/52063

What was discussed in this article is a very basic IPTV system created for the home or small
office application. VLC media player can be also used for bigger systems running across a
WAN network. A Video-on-Demand (VOD) service can also be added by using a SAP server
and using HTTP instead of UDP because a return request from the client needs to be sent to
the SAP server for selection of video content to be viewed. Portable mobile devices (with the
VLC media player installed) can also be used for mobile TV applications. Even commercially
available encoders (with IP output) and decoders (with IP front-end) can be mixed and matched
with VLC-equipped PCs in the same IPTV system. There are limitless configurations that can
be created depending on the requirement and availability of resources. You can check on tips
on the design and implementation of these systems at the VideoLAN Forum.


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DIY IPTV system using VideoLAN (VLC & VLS) http://dev.emcelettronica.com/print/52063

Source URL: http://dev.emcelettronica.com/diy-iptv-system-using-videolan-vlc-vls

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