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VIVA Streaming Video Technical Issues FAQ

VIVA Streaming Service Implementation & Technical Support

What kind of hardware is needed for the Shibboleth software?

The hardware requirements  for the Shibboleth Identity Provider (IdP) software are minimal.  IdP Platform Recommendations may be found on the Shibboleth web site.

What is the Eduperson schema?

Which Identity Management systems work with Shibboleth?

What kind of role and attribute information is required for access to the VIVA PBS Collection?

Where do I get the Shibboleth software?

What are the steps in installing the Shibboleth Identity Provider software?

Who is involved in the pilot project to test the centrally hosted service?

What kind of testing is being planned for the VIVA PBS streaming service at UVa?

What is the best way to test the impact of the service on my campus network?

Where can I find out about bugs and technical issues?

The Shibboleth User's Group discussion list archives is a good place to find discussion about and advice on dealing with bugs, error messages and other technical issues.

Are there metrics to help me determine if the VIVA streaming service will work on my campus?

Where do I get technical help with inCommon and Shibboleth?

Local Hosting Options

What kinds of things do I need to consider in deciding whether to host the videos on my campus?

The first thing to consider is whether your campus has the capacity to manage a streaming service. Unless your library is able to manage its own streaming service and to authenticate users of that service under the terms and conditions of the PBS contract, you will probably require assistance from your IT department if you want to host streaming content on your campus. Even if you plan to host the service from within your library, it is advisable to consult with your IT department. Components required for a successful streaming service include:
  1. A streaming server capable of serving .mp4, H.264 streaming files
  2. Network storage capacity for ~1000 streaming video files, 500 at 300 kbps and 500 at 800 kbps. To host a PBS streaming service, it is recommended that you have at least 1 TB of network storage for streaming files.
  3. Streaming server software which works with .mp4, H.264 streaming files under the RTSP protocol.
  4. At least one staff member who is familiar with the streaming server hardware and software and the operating system used on the streaming server you have chosen. That person will need to maintain the hardware and software, install software patches and ensure that the streaming service is secure.
  5. A mechanism for authenticating and authorizing users with a user id and password. This will most likely involve a script which interacts with your campus identity management system. You may be able to authenticate from the streaming server itself. Alternatively you may need to set up another machine to authenticate users and authorize access to streams from your streaming server.

What kind of hardware can be used for local hosting?

The hardware used for a local streaming service may vary.  The following specifications list minimal and higher end options for a service which uses Apple hardware and QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS) software which comes bundled with the Apple server and Wintel hardware which will work in either Windows or Unix with Darwin Streaming Server software, an open source version of QuickTime Streaming Server.

 This server provides ample capacity to support local streaming of VIVA PBS video titles.  It includes QuickTime Streaming Server software.

Apple Xserve with 2 1TB hard drives  Part Number: Z0E7

Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
4GB (4x1GB)
On-board SATA/SAS Controller
1TB Serial ATA ADM @ 7200-rpm
1TB Serial ATA ADM @ 7200-rpm
ATI Radeon X1300 64MB SDRAM with VGA Adapter
None (with PCI-X riser)
None (with PCI Express x16 riser)
Single 750W Power Supply
Rack Mounting Kit - Square Hole Rack
8x SuperDrive DL DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

estimated cost: $4,699

This server provides growth capacity for a much larger collection of streaming video and also includes QuickTime Streaming Server software.
Apple Xserve with 6TB RAID array  Part Number: Z0E7
Two 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (8-core)
4GB (4x1GB)
Xserve RAID Card
1TB Serial ATA ADM @ 7200-rpm
ATI Radeon X1300 64MB SDRAM with VGA Adapter
None (with PCI-X riser)
None (with PCI Express x16 riser)
Single 750W Power Supply
Rack Mounting Kit - Square Hole Rack
8x SuperDrive DL DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Promise VTrak E-Class 8x 750 SATA RAID subsystem (6TB) Part Number: TQ809LL/A

estimated cost: $17,049

ADD low-end and RAID equipped WINTEL server specs here

What kind of streaming server software can be used to stream the VIVA PBS video collection on my own campus?

Any streaming software which is capable of serving MPEG-4, H.264 streaming files may be used.  Apple QuickTime Streaming Server and Darwin Streaming Server were both designed to stream MPEG-4, H.264 QuickTime files.  However those files may also be streamed from other server software including Flash.  Note: if you plan to use Flash, you will need to develop your own Flash 9 player.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering a streaming service on my own campus?


How do I get the streaming files needed to offering a streaming service on my campus.?

Institutions who are interested in hosting their own streaming service can ship empty external hard drives along with a prepaid return shipping container to JMU.  Files, catalog records and tips on loading the catalog records will be copied on to the hard drives and return shipped to the requesting VIVA institution.

How do I convert content owned by my own school into a format suitable for streaming?

Converting content from one streaming format to another is known as transcoding.  PBS streaming files are encoded in the .mp4 format using the H.264 codec.  If you wish to convert them to another format for local streaming on your own campus you will need to transcode them.  Transcoding can be a time intensive and tricky process. For other files which may be owned by your school, the first thing you need to do is determine whether your school has legal rights to stream those files.  Converting those files may require encoding analog formats  in digital format and may also require file extraction ("ripping") digital files from a source medium into a format which can be transcoded for streaming. VIVA has negotiated a contract with TapHere! Technologies which members may use for file encoding and extraction services.

If I am a public institution, how do I take advantage of the state contract for video transcoding services?

Information about video encoding and file extraction services available to VIVA members.