Total Noob, need gentle guidance

My father in-law runs a local Class A LPTV station. He is currently Over The Air only and is must carried by our local CATV provider (I’m only about 80% certain I understand what I just said…). Anyway, I am a web/software developer. He has asked me to help look into possibly streaming his station programming over the internet. He seems to think he can deliver his station to the CATV provider this way as well.

I’ll be honest, my understanding of how any of this works is largely limited to some twitch/YouTube streaming and embedding video players in web sites that pull from places like Vimeo.

Anyway, I was trying to get opencaster running at his request. When I found their github repo I noticed how dated that seemed 4 years since last update. Looking for alternatives I found CasparCG.

What he wants is to be able to upload his pre-encoded video files (mpg4) to a server, schedule their playback, deliver this stream to the CATV Provider, and read the stream at his transmitter to broadcast that over the air.

Is this something CasparCG does? I need pointed in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!!

There are some basic facts about streaming to the internet

  1. You need a CDN, some deliver to your content through, For example the best known CDNs are Facebook, Youtube, Twitch or Livestream/Vimeo. When using a CDN either you pay alot or you have to be very careful about copyrights.
  2. When you know what you are going to stream to where, then you need somekind of software to stream to the CDN, most commonly it makes a rtmp-stream. These programs are called encoders and the most popular (Open Source) now is OBS. With it you can take a signal and stream it to a CDN.
    In my opinion CasparCG is a fantastic software but I wouldn’t use it as a streaming software, but as a playout-software you cant find a better one in the same price range…

Are you suggesting the a CATV Provider would receive the broadcast from Vimeo, or some service like Vimeo? This really the part that is hanging me up, I have used OBS to stream to Twitch/YouTube. But the primary targets for this use case are A) our local CATV Provider with whom we are currently Must Cary and delivering Over The Air signal and B) the transmitter that is broadcasting said signal. I’m confident I can handle B. I know next to nothing about how A would work though…

It depends on what your cabletv-provider specifies as a valid delivery. It’s likely something like a mpeg-transport stream. For encoding those, you could use the open source encoders by open broadcast systems ( - not to be confused with obs, which is indeed meant for streaming to cdns.
If there already is an encoder, you could also use that signal and transcode it for web stream use.

Sorry confusion. Thought you asked about delivering a stations programs to internet without the CATV provider not how to make a P2P delivery over IP. Usually it is made with a pair of hardware boxes transcoder and reciver. Usually better and stable the encoding is the more expencive they are. Also there is always the question of latency.

I thought, you wanted to have an all in one solution to replace the existing stuff. But I could be wrong :wink:

You definately want a hardware encoder/decoder set for that. I help at a local class A station, so it is probably a similar enviroment. I am in the process of testing a economical hardware mpeg4 encoder for streaming to youtube and other online destinations. I will update my profile with the hardware models when I have fully tested it.

Does the CATV provider want an mpeg 2 stream, mpeg 4 stream, or will they provide their own encoder and just need SDI or CVBS? Do they require closed caption pass through, or are you small enough or doing enough of your own programming that you aren’t required to do that?

So getting it to the web/YouTube/twitch/etc I know how to do. And he is already broadcasting over the air and is Must Carried by the CATV Provider. What we are trying to figure out is how to also deliver the same programing being broadcast over the air to our CATV provider over the internet.

IF they can use an mpeg 2 stream, you could use a pair of these or something similar.

ASI is an mpeg stream over BNC connection that we use to connect multiplexers, exciters, etc. With FEC enabled, products like those two boxes can send the exact same stream as the TV over the internet, assuming you have the bandwidth for it. There may be something better then those converters, but that is what I have seen used at several class A stations I have helped at to handle station to tower links over ethernet microwave. An additional mux might be required if the CATV provider requires specific PID, program tables, or other info that is different then the TV station. You should ask the CATV provider what their stream ingest requirements are.

Hi Wicked
As the others already pointed out, you need to make sure what your cable tv provider needs regarding signal delivery. As of my experience they most likely want a MPEG Transport Stream. Since you said that you already know (tested?) how to stream to Youtube/Twitch that should not be a problem. So when you have the information from the provider let us know and we try to help as good as we can.
As Markus wrote in his post, CasparCG can help you with playout and graphics.There is a learning curve, but it will be worth it.
If you do have budget, you could also consider a cloud playout system, there are many providers and it could fit your needs, and there is support as well.

Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m trying to understand your problem as it might be the same as mine.

  • Your father-in-law has a TV station that is already broadcasting over the air. As you say it’s an LPTV then you’re talking about a VHF or UHF broadcast.
  • Because of must carry regulations, I assume this over the air broadcast is used by a local CATV operator which rebroadcasts the over the air signal.
  • What your father-in-law wants to do is that, alongside the over the air broadcast that is already being done, it also streams its content via internet streaming.
  • With that in mind, he thinks that this internet streaming might also be used to carry the station’s broadcast to the CATV operator, instead of using the over the air infrastructure already in place.

Am I correct or I’m missing something? I’m making a lot of assumptions, but this might help to clarify the issue and the possible solution as well.

Most cable companies have the means to reverse feed (channels T7-T13 or fiber) especially if you provide a community service program. Just connect via HD-SDI to the gear they provide. Ours placed single mode fiber to the high school and football fields.