Petter Reinholdtsen

Frikanalen - Complete TV station organised using the web
3rd March 2013

Do you want to set up your own TV station, schedule videos and broadcast them on the air? Using free software? With video on demand support using free and open standards? Included a web based video stream as well? And administrate it all in your web browser from anywhere in the world? A few years now the Norwegian public access TV-channel Frikanalen have been building a system to do just this. The source code for the solution is licensed using the GNU LGPL, and available from github.

The idea is simple. You upload a video file over the web, and attach meta information to the file. You select a time slot in the program schedule, and when the time come it is played on the air and in the web stream. It is also made available in a video on demand solution for anyone to see it also outside its scheduled time. All you need to run a TV station - using your web browser.

There are several parts to this web based solution. I'll mention the three most important ones. The first part is the database of videos and the schedule. This is written in Django and include a REST API. The current database is SQLite, but the plan is to migrate it to PostgreSQL. At the moment this system can be tested on The second part is the video playout, taking the schedule information from the database and providing a video stream to broadcast. This is done using CasparCG from SVT and Media Lovin' Toolkit. Video signal distribution is handled using Open Broadcast Encoder. The third part is the converter, handling the transformation of uploaded video files to a format useful for broadcasting, streaming and video on demand. It is still very much work in progress, so it is not yet decided what it will end up using. Note that the source of the latter two parts are not yet pushed to github. The lead author want to clean them up a bit more first.

The development is coordinated on the #frikanalen IRC channel (, and discussed on the frikanalen mailing list. The lead developer is Benjamin Bruheim (phed on IRC). Anyone is welcome to participate in the development.

Tags: english, frikanalen, nuug, video.

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