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     "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."  -Revelation 7:2-3

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How to Setup a Small Group/Church Site for Live Internet Streaming

How to Setup a Small Group/Church Site
for Live Internet Streaming

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     Watching a live event at a remote site can be an exciting, rewarding, fun and new way to share your faith. Whether you are a large church congregation or a small home study group, nearly everyone can join in these types of events.  Even though you are not physically at the event there is a "live" factor, a sense that the viewer is part of a bigger picture, a sense of belonging that is sometimes not found in smaller local events.  These events can easily be followed up in various ways with the ultimate goal of bringing people to decisions for Christ.

     This guide will cover all necessary aspects to help you setup a remote church or home site for live internet video streaming to a projector, LCD or plasma screen, monitor or TV.   We have made this guide as simple as possible, but if you still find it hard to understand you might want to consult with someone you know locally who can assist you with your setup.  Some locations may have challenging or difficult situations related to your site that are beyond the scope of this guide.  One of the most important things to stress here is that you do not want to put off your site preparations until the day before the event.  This can be a source of frustration and disappointment for everyone involved.  We would recommend that you begin your setup at least 2-3 weeks prior to the event, and test your setup at least 1 week prior to the event.  This is especially important with a new internet connection.

High Speed Internet Connection

     To watch a live internet video stream you will need a "high-speed" internet connection.

  • Existing Internet - You will need to have at least a 256Kbps connection in order to watch our medium level video stream.  To watch our high quality video stream you will need at least a 500Kbps connection, but we would highly recommend a 1.5Mbps connection or better to avoid "buffering."  If you do not know what your internet connection speed is you will need to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • New Internet Installations - If you need an internet connection you will need to contact one of your local Internet Service Providers listed in your phone book.  A DSL or Cable modem connection is usually the most economical, while satellite internet can be more expensive.  You can also get high speed internet nearly any place on the planet thanks to satellite technology.

Simple Wireless or Wired Network

     Once you have your internet connection installed, (or maybe you already do,) you are going to need a way of connecting to the high speed internet connection from the location where it enters the building to the location where the computer/laptop is going to be located.  This can be achieved by either a relatively simple wireless or wired connection.  Both of these options will work and both have their strong and weak points.

  • Wireless Connection- A simple wireless router or wireless access point can be used in places where cables can't or won't go.  There are 2 parts to a wireless system, both of which are covered below.
    • Wireless Router or Access Point - Unless you have a newer wireless "G" or preferably "N" router or access point you may have problems with weak wireless signal or interference, both of which will cause your video to drop out or possibly lose your connection entirely causing you and your group annoyance and the need to reconnect.  Most newer wireless "N" routers and access points have a very strong signal that should be acceptable for this type of application.  Wireless routers and access points can be purchased from your local electronics store for a relatively inexpensive price.
    • Wireless Card - You are also going to need either an internal or external wireless card, both of which will work.  Some laptops have an internal wireless card as well and you may want to check over the equipment you will be using carefully.  Wireless cards can be purchased from your local electronics store for a relatively inexpensive price.  If you are installing a wireless card for the first time remember that you will also most likely need to install drivers as well.
  • Wired Connection - A wired connection can be the most simple and reliable way to connect to your high speed internet connection, but if not professionally installed, it also be a bit unsightly and/or pose a tripping hazard.  Both of which you will want to take into account.  With this type of connection you simply purchase the length of category 5 (or 5e, or 6) cable you need and plug it into your high speed internet connection on one end, and a network card on your computer or laptop on the other.  It's basically that simple.  You may need someone to install the ends after running the cable, but the tools are available in most areas locally.  You may just want to have a qualified electrician come out and do a professional installation if this appears to be too difficult at your location.  This type of connection is not prone to interference or dropouts like wireless systems, but it's not as flexible as far as locations.

Computer or Laptop

     After you have set up your internet connection, you will need a computer or laptop to play the live internet video stream.  The computer will need to be relatively fast, be able to connect to your internet connection, and have connections for external video out to a projector or tv, and a headphone audio connector.

  • Newer computer or laptop (minimum 3-4 years old)
    • Windows media player version 9+ (11 recommended)
    • Internet Explorer, Firefox or equivalent browser
  • Network card or wireless card for connecting to internet
  • VGA, HDMI, DVI, or S-video connection for connecting to Projector, LCD, Plasma, or LED Screen, Monitor or TV
  • Headphone audio connector for connecting to PA system or a set of small high power computer speakers

     Consideration also needs to be given to the computers physical location.  One of the biggest factors to consider is whether you are going to use a projector or monitor and how far away it is from the computer.  In a large church or auditorium, your computer should ideally be near your PA system.  However, if you lack long projector cables you may want to keep it close to the projector or monitor and choose to run longer audio cables.  See the section about the PA System for more details on this subject.

     Video Quality - Most web video streams are currently not comparable to DVD quality, so don't expect it.  That being said you can do several things that will make the video quality appear much better.  Our current highest quality internet video resolution is about 428x240 (16:9).  Your computer desktop resolution can make all the difference in how much the video has to be stretched.  For example, a desktop resolution of 1920x1080 is going to have to stretch that 428x240 video a LONG ways to get it to full screen, but a desktop setting of 800x600 won't have to stretch the video nearly as much.  Lowering your computer's desktop resolution is the best way to increase the apparent video quality, especially on a projector.  If you want to check the difference just try any of the videos at our web site and play with your desktop resolution settings.  Lower settings are better in this case.

     Projector Output - One thing of mention is projector output from the computer.  This is probably one of the most misunderstood functions of a computer we have seen at presentations.

  • Laptop - If you are using a laptop you will want to make sure you have enabled the external monitor output port.  On most laptops there is a "FN" key, which stands for "function."  You need to press this key in conjunction with a key that will have a little picture on it like a monitor.  On most laptops this is F5, but it varies with various computer brands.  Switching the external monitor port on and off can take 5-10 seconds so be patient!
  • Computer - Using an external monitor with a computer is a little different from using a laptop.  Most computers will not have a "FN" key.  What you need to do is open your display settings (found in the control panel) and enable the extra monitor or projector.
  • Cloning vs. Extending- These options are present on most systems, and depending on the system you can use them to your advantage.  You can either clone your desktop or extend it. 
    • Clone Your Desktop - If you clone your desktop, everything you do on your computer monitor will be seen on your external monitor or projector.
      • Pros - Simple, this is the easiest option.
      • Cons - Can be difficult to lower resolution for better streaming video quality due to possible resolution capabilities between your computer and external screen or projector.
    • Extend Your Desktop- If you extend your desktop, only your desktop background will be seen.  Anything you want to display on the "extended desktop will need to be dragged there, THEN set to full screen.
      • Pros - Only necessary to lower the resolution on the external output or projector to get better quality video.  No desktop resizing the the laptop or computer is necessary!
      • Cons - Can sometimes be more difficult to setup.  User must also remember the two desktops are side by side (virtually) and sometimes have difficulty understanding dragging the browser and video player from one screen to another and then setting them to full screen.

     Before you go to the next step it would be advisable to make sure that the computer you are planning to use can connect to the internet and play a video.  There are hundreds of videos at our web site to use for testing and they will help to simulate the same connection as our live video streams.  If everything looks good then proceed to the next section.  If you are having problems you may need to troubleshoot them further, or try another system.  If you are having a specific issue and are not sure how to proceed contact us.

Projector, LCD, Plasma, or LED Screen, Monitor or TV

     Ok, you have the internet connection and the computer is working.  Depending on how many people are viewing at your location, you may want to setup a projector, large LCD, plasma or LED screen, monitor or TV.  There are a lot of options out there, but we will cover the basics.  In every case there will be a cable to connect from your computer to the projector, screen or TV.

  • Choosing the Right Cable - Choosing the right cable can make a very big difference in the viewing quality.  The type of cable is typically determined by the video output ports on your computer, and the device you are trying to connect. Sometimes you will have multiple options.  We will list the various types of cable connections below and how they rate compared to others. We have also listed the various conversion adapters that may be necessary when connecting your equipment.   Some terms below are click able for more information and pictures.
    • HDMIHDMI- This is a new type of connector that is now beginning to appear on laptops, projectors and HD TV's.  This type of cable can carry what is called 1080 HD and will be the best connection you can use.  This is a pure digital HD connection.  It can be run over 50' without loss and looks to be the standard cable for high definition video.   Not all computers/devices have this available yet.
      • Conversions & Adapters
        • HDMI to DVI adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
        • HDMI to VGA adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
        • HDMI to S-Video or Composite is not recommended although it can be achieved through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
    • DVIDVI- Newer computers, laptops, LCD monitors, and projectors may have this connector.  This type of connector is also very high quality and compares with HDMI.  This is a pure digital HD capable connection.  Cables typically do not exceed 10 feet.  , DVI to HDMI are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
      • Conversions & Adapters
        • DVI to HDMI adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
        • DVI to VGA adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
        • DVI to S-Video or Composite is not recommended although it can be achieved through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
    • VGAVGA - This is by far the most common connector currently available at most churches and larger facilities.  Most computers, laptops and some LCD monitors a few years old will have this type of connector.  This is a basic analog connector and has been around for many years.  While it is capable of high definition type resolutions it can also have unwanted side effects such as "ghosting" and other interference. VGA cables can be purchased in lengths up to 150'.
      • Conversions & Adapters
        • VGA to HDMI or DVI conversions are not recommended.  VGA is analog, HDMI and DVI are digital.  Conversion is possible through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
        • VGA to S-Video or Composite conversion is not recommended although it can be achieved through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
    • S-VideoS-Video- This type of connection has been around for about 20 years.  It used to be the most common connector on laptops and projectors.  It is being used less and less as newer types of connections are available with much better quality.  Cable lengths can reach 150', but with a great loss to color, brightness and picture stability.  Special adapters called "baluns" are available to run S-Video up to 1,000' with only minor losses.
      • Conversions & Adapters
        • S-Video to VGA, HDMI or DVI conversions are not recommended.  S-Video is analog, HDMI and DVI are digital.  Conversion is possible through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
        • S-Video to Composite adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
    • CompositeComposite- Composite connectors have been around a long time and are fairly common on a lot of the equipment out there.  Although fairly common, this type of connector has the poorest picture quality and should only be used as a last resort.  Cable lengths can reach 150', but with a great loss to color, brightness and picture stability.
      • Conversions & Adapters
        • Composite to VGA, HDMI or DVI conversions are not recommended.  Composite is analog, HDMI and DVI are digital.  Conversion is possible through special conversion devices that are fairly expensive.
        • Composite to S-Video adapters are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

PA System or Powered Speaker System

     Ok, everything is working except the sound.  The quality of your audio is always just as important as your video.  Lack of proper volume and quality sound can be serious contributing factors to how successful your event is.  If people can't hear it, or it sounds bad they are not going to come back.  If you are using most laptops and even computers and speakers included can be dismal at best.  While laying a PA microphone on your laptop speaker is always a last resort it can be just downright painful to listen to, and at worst you may experience feedback issues.  Please take the time to get some proper connectors for your computer to PA system.

  • Headphone jack (1/8" stereo) to RCA/line (PA system) adapter cable - This is the best option.  It will provide the cleanest sound.  You will want to have the computer within 10-20' from the PA system/speakers.  Longer cables can be run, but if you need to run more than 20' you should consider the next option.
  • Headphone jack (1/8" stereo) to XLR (line in (NOT MIC) on PA system) microphone cable adapter - You may want to use this option if you have to locate your computer somewhere that is not near a PA system.  The computer is directly connected into your PA system using one of your long mic cords (connect to line in on PA.) Due to long lengths involved you may experience some noise with this option.  You can order these adapters onlineorder these adapters online, visit your local music store, or if your out of time and can't find one, you may need to find someone who can create one for you.  Individual parts are readily available at most Radio Shack stores. IMPORTANT NOTE! DO NOT USE PHANTOM MICROPHONE SETTINGS ON YOUR PA SYSTEM FOR THIS OPTION UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OR YOU WILL MOST LIKELY BURN OUT THE SOUND CARD ON YOUR COMPUTER.  It will send 48 volts from the PA system right into your computer sound card.
  • Powered Speaker System - If the options above sound like too much hassle or you are out of time, you can always pick up a high quality, self powered computer speaker system at your local computer store.  Be prepared to spend about $100 for a good one.  This option eliminates the need for connecting to your sound system directly, but is one more thing to setup and take down, and can involve several more cables to trip over.
  • Projector Speakers - As a last resort this option usually works, but can involve running cables depending on the location of the projector.  Projector speakers are usually very inadequate for a large group and typically sound "tinny" at best.

Testing & Educating

    By now you have probably done a fair amount of testing, but it is highly recommended that prior to the first meeting you test it all again.  Plan on arriving early the first night to make sure everything is working correctly.  If you can watch and hear any video at our web site then it should work.  Once you get a video playing simply click on the full screen button located in the play bar of every video and it should go full screen.

     One other aspect to consider is education.  If you have set this system all up at your location, but are not going to be able to be there every meeting then you might want to consider educating your assistant(s).  Go over the basics of start up and shutdown with them.  A few minutes spent in this area can avoid a panicked phone call later.  If possible, also leave a copy of this guide with them and have them review it.

What To Do if you Lose your Connection

     First, DON'T PANIC.  Occasionally things can and do go wrong.  Diagnosing what has gone wrong quickly can make all the difference, especially for a large viewing group.  Live streaming video can be interrupted at several different places along the broadcast past.  In this segment, we will start testing with your local site and move up.  Looking intelligently for the cause can save you a lot of time (and sometimes embarrassment.)

  • Internet Connection Down, Cable Disconnected, Wireless Interference or Bad Weather
    • Internet "Hiccup" - Sometimes as the video streams traverse across the world at quite literally the speed of light there can be temporary interruptions.  The first thing we always recommend doing is to simply try to reconnect to the video stream. 
    • Test the Internet Connection - Test the internet connection by visiting another web site, for example, www.Google.com  If you can view other web sites then most likely the problem is not on your end.  See: Streaming Hub or Broadcast Site Down
    • Check Your Local Wired or Wireless Connection - If you cannot bring up any other web site then you are going to need to carefully check your internet connection.  Depending on whether you are connected via wired or wireless will depend on what you need to check, but a general rule is to start at the computer and work your way to your high speed cable, DSL or satellite modem. 
    • Weather Affects Satellite - If you are using a satellite internet connection system, you may be experiencing bad weather, or in some cases the satellite transmitter site may be experiencing bad weather.  In either case it can cause intermittent or no internet type conditions.  Remember, even a light rain can quickly cause satellite signals to degrade.
  • Computer Problems
    • Check the Computer - Several things can interfere with video playback, these can include pop-ups windows and notifications, firewalls, screen savers, incorrectly set power settings or simply a laptop that was accidentally not plugged in and the battery ran down.
  • Projector Won't Turn On After Power Plug is Accidentally Pulled
    • If the power is disconnected to your projector for any reason while it is running it instantly causes an overheat situation because the fan stops, but the heat from the light and electronics inside is still present even though the power is off.  Most modern projectors have a thermal safety cutoff inside of them.  The only thing you can do in this situation is to unplug the projector and allow it to cool down.  Unplugging is important as some models will NOT reset unless left unplugged for a while.  How long is "a while?"  The time is takes the projector to cool off and the thermal safety to reset can vary wildly from brand to brand.  Usually 5-10 minutes is enough, but it can be as much as 20-30.  If you are desperate you can get a fan and try to cool it down, otherwise be patient, it's just going to take a while.  Plug it in periodically and try to turn it on.  If it will not turn on yet, unplug it again and try again in a few minutes.  Yes, we know this can be frustrating.  Look on the bright side, if you have your audio connected to anything other than the projector, you can still hear the live program.
  • Streaming Hub or Broadcast Site Down
    • If you have check all the above, and everything looks ok, this may mean that your internet service provider may be experiencing a problem, general internet traffic may be exceptionally high, the video distribution servers may be having a problem, or our broadcast site may be experiencing technical difficulties with any number of things.  The key to dealing with this (and most) problems is to just keep trying.  Remember that we check the quality of our broadcast in several different ways and are usually aware if there is a problem on our end and are working to correct it before you even experience it.

     Important Note - When experiencing difficulties, many mistakenly assume the problem is at the broadcast site.  While this is convenient to say, this is not usually the case.  We have invested thousands of dollars on high quality, broadcast standard equipment and very high bandwidth streaming.  Currently, we can easily handle several thousand simultaneous viewers and are expanding our capacity all the time.  Our streams are sent directly from our live location to our servers just outside Las Vegas, Nevada where they are distributed on 10 Gigabit fiber optic to the backbone of the internet worldwide.  All of this process can take from 10 to 30 seconds, depending on internet traffic conditions and your location.

Final Thought

     If everything goes right you should feel like you are part of a group of people around the world, all learning more about God's word and sharing a common experience.  The goal of this common experience is to bring people to decisions for Christ and to grow in grace and love.  Remember that someday we WILL all be together at the same church service every Sabbath and ALL AT ONE TIME!  What an experience that will be!

     "For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me," says the LORD, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD." -Isaiah 66:22-23

     "Although God dwells not in temples made with hands, yet He honors with His presence the assemblies of His people. ..." {PK 50.1}

     This guide was written and maintained by Sealing Time Ministries.  We hope that it helps you setup your remote streaming site as well as answer many of the questions that come up about the live internet streaming events that are becoming more and more popular.  If this guide has been helpful or if you have a question not covered, please let us know by visiting our contact page.  You may also want to consider supporting this ministry so we can reach more and more people with God's last day messages.

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If you are interesting in live streaming for your Adventist church or ministry we also offer live streaming and hosting services.

We also offer complete video production services for Adventist events.

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