multiple DVB-S Cards PC resources usage

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dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Hi all
this is my first post (yeih!) :)

We are setting a streaming center in Tennessee and will be streaming some 6
FTA channels. For these we are thinking of getting some 6 PCI DVB-S cards.
We are non-profit, so we try to keep our costs to the minimum.

I have a couple of questions and I am sure some of you have answers (you've been there before, done that before...)

The questions:

1) We have several 2.4 Ghz PCs with 512 Mb RAM (Windows based). The PC(s) will be receiving the signal via PCI DVB-S cards and encode it with locally installed software (adobe flash media live encoder). I wonder how PCU and memory intensive is the simultaneous use of say 2-4 PCI DBV-S cards (on one PC). Has anyone any idea?

2) Any other potential problems you see with this approach (as opposed to using, for example, USB DVB-S Receivers)? The PCs will work 24hx7.

3) Also I was thinking of purchasing generic (no namers) cards from Hong Kong, any opinion on making 2-4 PCI GENERIC cards work simultaneously? I have seen that there are issues with PCI cards of different brands: with drivers, combination of different brands, using different TV viewing software, etc.

But most of the threads I've read have to do with watching simultaneously or watching and recording different channels simultaneously. We are just encoding different channels simultaneously.

I thank you in advance for your answers. :)
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
So, you are going to receive multiple FTA channels, and then do what?
Stream them over the internet?


I have some old 2.4ghz P4's and wouldn't expect much from them on 512k of ram.
The good new is, memory is cheap. :)
Don't think I can offer much seat-of-the-pants advice, though.


If you don't get any better answers soon, take a look at these two threads:

- short thread, might give some insight

- kinda long, but skip to Pendragon's comments and see if they are helpful.
 

pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
1,100
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This isn't an easy question to answer because what you're describing isn't a common setup for FTA use. I have been working on a related project to deploy a bunch of PCI/USB receivers under central control for the distribution of programming to multiple viewing locations around the house. That should be easier than it is.

At the moment I have four DVB World 2104 USB receivers and a TechnoTrend 3200 PCI card. In terms of Windows, there are driver issues with the USB receivers that prevent using more than one per system. Each can be independently tuned, but I can only get one to stream data. I can get the TechnoTrend to work with one USB receiver. This is really a peeve of mine. Does anyone know of a DVB-S2 USB or PCI receiver that can be used in multiples on the same machine?

The Windows machine has an AMD X2 5600 processor and 4 GB of memory. It serves many other purposes, and the two FTA tuners have a minimal impact. When I run DVB Dream as the tuner app, it uses about 100 MB for each DVB World tuner instance, but only 30 MB for the TechnoTrend. When idle, each DVB Dream uses around 2% of the CPU and this increases to say 5% when streaming.

I'll probably continue to work to find better ways of getting more tuners to work on Windows. But as I'm currently blocked, I have one USB box on another Windows machine and the other two USB boxes are on two Linux servers for experimental use. I haven't had the time to do this right, but I have written a little code to get the Linux units to function at a minimal level so I can use them in my system. It's not particularly general and if I ever find the time, one possibility is to move all the USB/PCI units under Linux control. At least that way I'm not dependent on someone else to write decent drivers/apps.
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Thank you guys for your answers.

To Anole: yes we will be receiving the signal, encode it in flash and send it to a stream server. We'll do this for 6 signals (5 TVs / 1 radio), and as it looks like, I'll probably use 6 PCs to do this...

To Pendragon: I'd say, we are definitely not planning anything near the complexity you have at home! (I've read the threads Anole kindly provided).

From your answer I gather that PCI cards might be better performing than USB receivers. This is good to know. We may have to go with one PC per receiver, to keep things simple and straight forward. Especially since we are working with legacy PCs.

We will be using Windows because the Flash Media Live Encoder 3 works on Windows, but I have not seen anything written to make it work for Linux (to my knowledge). Also, for support (there will be several supporting), it is easier that way.

I guess at this stage we just have to try with this set up and see how it goes...

Thanks again for your time and answers.
 

RtpiFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 30, 2005
236
6
Montreal,Quebec,Canada
I currently already stream channel over the net not using dvb-s but think can help a little.

With Flash Media Encoder most important is cpu processing power if cpu cannot keep up you will have degradation in quality or drop frames.
You will have to dedicate one pc per stream and use H.264 option for enconding more cpu intensive but lower bandwith consumption.

Upgrade your ram to at least 1GB & i would recommended 2GB best option.
2.4ghz will be okay just do not try go over 21fps or you will run into issues.
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Thank you RtpiFan for your input,
that adds a couple more important bits of information.

We are currently testing with the PCs, and yes we plan to stream H.264 at 20 Fps. In the past I have had problems with the Flash Media Live Encoder 3, I am not sure how it manages memory, but I guess sometimes is a little buggy.

However, I gather you would agree with Pendragon's statements that the sat PCI receiver cards are not severely tasking CPU or memory, right?

This was one of the initial questions in starting this thread, and the answers I am receiving seem to lean in this direction: the PCI receiver card is not heavy on resources. The software handling the card (be it a viewer application) or in my case an flash encoder application, can be the big users of CPU / memory resources. Thanks for your input.
 

RtpiFan

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 30, 2005
236
6
Montreal,Quebec,Canada
My twinhan use very little cpu ressource unless it's an hd feed but 3ghz based system.
But Pendragon's statements is 100% correct at least in my experience with twinhan and i am rather new to it.

FME(Adobe) is buggy as hell but it works set auto adjust features and set buffer 5 sec's found that it helps alot with disconnect's.
Set option degrade quality not drop frames seem easier for recover and ramp quality back up for it.
Remember fast action scenes will be at disadvantage but it will still perform well.
It will reconnect matter of second's at worst a few minutes with that buffer setting.

Also make sure audio and video are synced as FME as problems with this if encounter this issue let me know and i will point you in the right direction to resolved the issue.

Now make sure your routers can handle traffic 24/7 mine require a reboot every couple weeks.
 
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dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Thanks RtpiFan for the confirmation on the dvb cards. And we will not be receiving HD anyways.

Thank you for the other points as well. We are in a testing phase, so any input will save money and time in the future.

I was aware of the router's issue (with 24/7 continued streaming problems), but not aware of any sync problems with FME Video/Audio. But I will take note of your points and get back if needed.

So, in conclusion, the thread has pretty much settled my choice of going with PCI dvb-s cards (not USB receivers) and using one PCI receiver card per PC.

Whether we will have to upgrade/expand the legacy PC hardware is something that is being tested right now. I'll post further developments of notice, on this thread. Thanks to all, again. :)
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Look at Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder 3 Min. System Requirements here. Just keep in mind, Flash Media Live Encoder supports only raw data from video and audio devices. The supported raw video formats include I420, YV12, YUY2, UYVY, RGB24, and RGB32. This means, you need to decode MPEG2 signal first, and it takes extra processing power. You can unload MPEG decoding & encoding tasks to your Graphics Card Processor, if you use suitable Card and DVB soft. That can make your current setup sufficient for 1 card per PC. You can try even 2 Cards per PC, as TeVii DVB-S/S2 card drivers support multiple cards per a PC.
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Thank you Zamar23 for your reply.

We did run some tests with our machines and at least one encoder per machine was doing fine. We have ordered one DVB-S card to see how things will do. Hopefully fine. I will keep the thread updated to see what happens. :)
 

caraboolee

New Member
Jan 23, 2010
2
0
China
HI,dan0el:
I have the same idea with you! Curretyly I have found a type of PCI DVB-S card which Adobe flash media live encoder can recognise it, but there is no video in the encoder screen. I agree with that AFLE can only accept RAW video stream , maybe the best way is to write a script to foward and then encodering mpeg stream form the DVB-s card to AFLE.

Any news let me know!...
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Hi caraboolee, thank you for your input. We are most likely moving to DVB-S2 technology. And currently are waiting for this decision to be made. Once this is done, we will proceed to testing this.

I will keep everyone posted of progress.
 

Sadoun

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 27, 2005
2,320
1
Columbus, OHIO
dan0el

Welcome to satelliteguys.

I hope you don't mind telling us what FTA channels are you talking about?
Is it going to be streamed to IP boxes?
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
dan0el

Welcome to satelliteguys.

I hope you don't mind telling us what FTA channels are you talking about?
Is it going to be streamed to IP boxes?

Hello Sadoun, nice wintery picture there :)

Actually we are streaming our own family of channels (we are a non-profit ministry). We are currently not on satellite in the Americas at this time (we've been out for a couple of months), but will be back shortly, but as I said, most likely using a higher compression, and hence moving to DVB-S2 for reception cards.

(this was not known at the time I started the thread and we were on the air then on Intelsat).

With regards to your question as to where we send our streams. We will be sending the streams directly to a Flash Media Server, & then offer the streams on our internet sites. Essentially we are "encoding" the satellite signal to the Flash Media Server. The software, as indicated earlier in the thread, is Adobe Flash Media Encoder, which, as has been pointed out, needs a hardware card (like a TV-in card) to encode the video signal, I was hoping to do this with a DVB-S2 card.

3 of the channels are streaming already (but not on satellite in the Americas as I said), you can view them (low quality only, for now, sorry) at:
Global Family Network: GlobalFamilyNetwork.net: TV (english)
Red AD Venir International: señal Red AD Venir (spanish)
TV Famille: TV en direct TVFamille (french)

If you want to know the FTA satellite details for the Americas, I will be glad to post them as soon as I have them.

We've been able to successfully test with downloading live streams from the internet and uplink them to satellite, or re-encode them for further streaming.

In the second case (where we re-encoded or "transcoded" the TV signal), it has required two PCs -- one to receive the signal, and the other to encode it.

The signal was received by the PC (via internet), sent out via a "TV out card", received by the other PC with a "TV-in card" and sent further to the Flash Media Server via internet. This has worked well, but a PC with a 2.4 Ghz processor was too slow for the encoding PC (the second PC).

We found out that if one sends out multiple streams with the Flash Media Live Encoder software, a 2.4 Ghz PC is just not powerful enough to handle the encoding. This independently from using any DVB cards at the moment.

So we still have to test with a DBV-S2 card and see what happens.

If we can't capture the signal with a DVB-S2 card on the Flash Media Live Encoder software, we will have to use our "2 PC" solution described above. Where the first PC receives from satellite the signal (with a DVB-S2 card) and then passes it to a second PC for encoding. If at all possible I would want to stay away from such a solution (loss of quality, multiple PCs)... but we shall see.

I will let the thread know once we are that far... Any input is always appreciated :)
 
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zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
dan0el

Did you research the issue of using a PC's GRAPHICS CARD for video encoding? What did Adobe support suggest you about it? The idea is to offload repetitive massive calculations required for signal encoding to a specialized processor designed for that very purpose. ;) Many PCs have stand along graphics cards, others have graphics chipsets on their MoBo. You can buy an adequate graphics card for this task for cheap, provided you know what model and how to make it work for this task.
 

dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
dan0el

Did you research the issue of using a PC's GRAPHICS CARD for video encoding? What did Adobe support suggest you about it? The idea is to offload repetitive massive calculations required for signal encoding to a specialized processor designed for that very purpose. ;) Many PCs have stand along graphics cards, others have graphics chipsets on their MoBo. You can buy an adequate graphics card for this task for cheap, provided you know what model and how to make it work for this task.

Thanks Zamar23 for your input. Actually the Flash Live Media Encoder is really designed to work with live video input (your webcam or professional cameras) as a source. This "live input" can be a TV signal "imported" through a TV-in Card, and I would have hoped it could also be a TV signal "imported" through a DVB-S2 card.

I am not sure as to why Adobe has limited their software this way. Other encoders (for windows media video) can take MPEG2 as a format (for eg). However at the time of this writing, this seems not to be a common feature for either software encoders or hardware encoders for Flash format. They are all geared to taking a live feed (i.e. input from real video cameras).

Industry is moving towards integrating flash better with TV signals and it is widely hoped that with the new flash player (flash 10.1) a superior integration will be achieved.

With regards to doing "encoding" with a graphics card, I am not sure I understand your point. We receive the signal via satellite and then need to "process" it to make it available to the streaming server for distribution to the world. This "processing" is done with the Flash Live Media Encoder (freely downloadable via Adobe).

The inherent limit of this sofware is that it accepts only "raw video", posing a potential problem with usage with DVB-S2 cards (if these cards transform incoming signal into something else than raw video). However, at this stage, it is too early for me to say whether it will work or not. We really have to try on our end and see if we can make it work with a DVB-S2 card. It all depends on whether the software will accept the DVB-S2 card as a source for video input.

It might (I hope!), and whatever the outcome, I'll be glad to post it here. :)
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
You certainly understand that any program, including Flash Encoder, employs PC hardware to do calculations. ;) In a typical fashion they would usually be done by the main processor. If you want to process several such streams in parallel, it may be a challenge for an older processor. There are other processors employed in a typical PC in addition to the main processor. Example - a specialized video processor on a so called Graphics Card. Some models can decode MPEG stream by itself and possibly even encode it to Flash then, if you know how to employ its services. ;) Usually a TV Software would auto build a Video Processing Graph that says the PC what sequence of installed software modules to use to process that video stream. Often you can edit that Graph to your liking.

Even if this Flash Encoder can accept only raw video, it possibly can direct it back to the Graphics Card to encode into Flash. Why don't ask Adobe or look through forums to find out, if such "reversed" solution exists? There's no guarantee though, but at least you may be able to off-load sat stream decoding to the Graphics Card.

Just to give some general idea about hardware accelerated video processing, look at [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectX_Video_Acceleration"]DirectX Video Acceleration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nvidia_PureVideo"]Nvidia PureVideo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] Wiki articles. What I mean, now you're using a separate PC to encode to flash, and still complaining it's slow. What will happen, when the same PC will decode sat signal and then encode it to flash? Are you sure, it will be faster? :)
 
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dan0el

Member
Oct 2, 2009
12
0
Texas
Thank you zamar23 for the informative reply.
We will check into this, although, chances are that this is not really optimized for the Flash Media Live Encoder. However it is worth a check.

My initial complaint for the slow PC is because we were using legacy PCs with a 2.4 Ghz processor (memory does not seem to be an issue when running the software). We are now looking for faster processors, but not necessarily top range. :)

We'll keep everyone posted on findings.

With regards to the DVB-S2 card, I am not sure as to what to expect. With the TV-in cards, we've had no problem at all, they were very quiet on resources. My guess at this stage is that if we gear up the hardware for the Flash Media Live Encoder. This should also cover the DVB-S2 card. But we will see. :)
 
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