Big Brother Live streaming

Hello! yes I am saying hello to you.
I thought I would do a recap of the events, around the Big Brother Africa 3 live streaming oh and some techie stuff too!
[idiot] what the hell do you know about it?
[me] well I architected and planned it!
[idiot] who cares!
[me] me, it was fun okay so leave me alone!

So in the initial spec for BBA3 was “No live streaming” however being the ever optimist we decided to put the infrastructure in place in the event the powers that be changed there minds (which inevitably always happens).

20 odd days into the production there was a need to stream live footage online.
but but but … Wouldn’t that cannibalize the the paying subscribers on DSTV? Sure! 🙂

The plan was to create a “CROTCH CAM” … I hear you say ” a what?” yes I am not going to re-type it!

Yes a crotch cam online.
Seeing that Nigeria’s legal system prevented M-Net from doing a decent shower hour show with copious amounts of Nudity! Nigeria Vetoed it! Was it because of the nudity?
yes , it’s really just Nigeria’s communist zipper that is hanging down, and we just happened to notice it!

a very regulated country!? Nigeria? never!

That is a bit of an obscure analogy *glances around nervously* anyhow.
But think of it this way, DSTV has loads of nudity on many many other channels but when its “Real People” and loads of publicity and *gasp* a Real naked Nigerian, then the authorities pull in and start laying down the riot act.

So the plan was to have a cam at crotch level, in the shower, filming the participant’s crotches, streaming it on an online, 24/7 and try monetize it.
Well the idea was great, but to my knowledge(I stand corrected) _Koos_ (if you don’t know who this is, try google his name and the holding company) said something to the effect of ‘we cannot charge africans for video content’, so it had to be free.
Woah we cannot give away free porn, that would be just like ..um … (insert free voyeur porn site name here)

So the sex sells idea got toasted!

What about a garden camera! Whoopdeedoo how exciting… and lets make it free!
boom! smallsignofexcitement GONE!

The lets-rather-ask-for-forgiveness-than-permission motto was toasted!

So the tedious task of streaming a wide angle camera of a garden to the world for free.
How do we do it? pleasenotethesubtelboringundertone!

My initial instinct was to stream it using Flash (this was a relatively new concept) Flash is a great tool, We all now that site with all the video which I will not mention its name here at the risk of lifting its SEO rating on …. oh who am I kidding?
They do oodles of streaming video, but they do it on-dee-mah-nd, not live, which is what I am trying to do here!

So Adobe has this great server called “flash media server” which can cater for just that.
New media being the ever envelope pusher bought this product a generation too early when it had a limit to the number concurrent connected users to 100! yes, this model did not succeed. Any guesses why? *snigger*

So with an ever looming live deadline time frame *TVWAITSFORNOONE* and many emails back and forth to adobe to try sweet talk them into giving us a free upgrade to the unlimited (read: more than 100 simultaneous connected streams) version of flash media server.
What? adobe ? you don’t want to get some free promotion on a Tv phenomenon? No worries, Windows Media is Free. 🙂

I must admit though that Adobe _DID_ come to the party, but alas after my deadline on the decision.
So easy decision lets download this free tool, to push our video feed to millions! *insert Dr Evil Laugh here* that will be branded with this funny waving flag that has 4 smaller disconnected coloured flags in primary colours.

So here is how it worked in a nutshell!
– {video feed from garden camera}
– {Osprey video capture card}
– {wintendo media encoder}
– {dual redundant internet connections}[neotell 2 meg][telkom leased 2 meg]
– {terminates at mweb}
– {windows media server}
– {frikinexpensivededicatedinternationalbandwidth.for.now}
– {akamai}
– {Akamai’sContentDistributionNetwork}
– {world distribution} now please replace the word distribution with domination!

So thats the nutshell for live streaming.
Ill save the on demand nut for another blog post when I get time.

On the stats side of things… lets just say that We would have had to have had one heck of of a lot of old Flash media licenses to cope with the onslaught of the connected norway hitting that live feed.

Norway brought the web servers to a grinding halt, which gives me some indication that the web developers need to be a lot smarter when building websites for next years world cup!

If you want to know why Norway brought our webserver to a grinding halt!? Our wonderful BBA producers decided to pull a Big Bro participant out of our house and swap him with a Big Bro participant in a Similar Norway production! Gripping stuff! well apparently it was for Norway!

I could make the next blog more technical and less satirically witty. Any takers?