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How can I stream from my windows 7 desktop to TVs in multiple apartments in my building on a dedicated cable channel. Is it possible? If so, how can I go about it? The stream must play if someone switches to that channel.

I am trying to achieve something simple. I own a hotel and I want to broadcast hotel conferences/local tech programs/local sports events live to all rooms.

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Perhaps something that else that might be more helpful is if you mention what you are trying to accomplish through this channel. There may be alternate options that could more cheaply accomplish your goals. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 20:51
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2 Answers

While what you are asking about is technically possible, it wouldn't be easy or cheap. It would in fact be very expensive. To use a channel, you would need to form your own cable network within your house and play different sources for each channel into the system. These are the kinds of systems that hotels buy to do their own cable network in the building and they can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. You would also probably need some pretty expensive licensing from the cable company to rebroadcast their channels so you would need to basically pay for everyone's cable bill.

For the interactive portion (having a stream start when they go to the channel) you actually need a set-top box for each TV as well. Broadcast networks like cable can only play a signal on a channel to everyone. They don't normally support starting a video when someone tunes the channel unless the set-top box can communicate back and control the source. Alternately, the more modern way of approaching it is to have an on-demand type setup where the content isn't streamed in the traditional broadcast manner, but rather is stored on a media server and sent as a digital signal on demand and encoded for a particular set-top box. This is generally implemented more like Netflix now with a digital stream being sent over a data network allocated to part of the cable network, though some older systems do it as a hidden channel that only that set-top box knows to tune to.

If it is something you still wish to pursue, I suggest looking into manufacturers of different "hotel cable systems" or "private cable systems." Some quick searching found these guys as one possible option, though I know nothing about them or how good of an option they may be. They are just the first option I found to give you an idea of what you are looking for.

Update: If you are in a comcast area, it looks like they may also have an option that they can provide to help work it into an actual service agreement which might be cheaper upfront. See here.

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I guess I will need to intercept the signal when it enters the building. Then have the hardware to add my own signal to it. What would I need to do to intercept the cable tv signal and then add my own signal? How can I convert a video stream from my desktop into a cable tv signal and how can I add this signal and re-broadcast it? –  John Qualis Aug 29 '13 at 16:08
You don't intercept it and add your signal to it. You actually rebroadcast it all on your own network. You break out the actual channels as individual signals and then put those signals on your own channels. You would have to be running your own private cable network. The signal from your computer would be run in just like any of the other channels, though some specialized hardware may be able to take care of remapping the channels for you internally. You then need the bi-directional hardware to control the computer's playback. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 16:09
Alternately to using the computer for playback, you could probably use a pre-built on-demand video system that you could upload the files to and have it handle it. That would be easier to integrate most likely and may even be cheaper. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 16:12
Can suggest some hardware that I can look into? Can I also broadcast using an IP camera mounted on a desktop the same way? –  John Qualis Aug 29 '13 at 17:16
@JohnQualis - it's not going to be a plug and play device, it's going to be a system that will need to be customized to your particular needs and the format and requirements that your local cable operator has. Calling up your cable provider might be a good starting point as they would know what service providers in the area handle things like this. Tell them you are looking at putting a private cable network in to your building and they should be able to help. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 17:33
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I think you are confusing broadcast vs. streaming. Traditional broadcast is not in the same frequency band as Wi-Fi or 4G, it's also in a special format and not broken into packets as in video streaming on the internet.

One might consider the FCC licensing for broadcasting on standard television broadcast bands as well. These are not free or up for grabs.

I think the only thing you can do is stream via internet and let your apartment friends know the URL you are using. If their TV has an internet connection they should be able to pick up your show otherwise they will need Wi-Fi for the TV and a internet interface on their TV, like getting a NIC card for your PC.

UPDATE: this model is simple. Content on internet, say your own vimeo of youtube channel, distribution via streaming through a browser to a 'smart TV' that has internet access and a browser or like tool or app. Youtube has an app for smart TVs that would allow your audience to stream your channel to them. Here are several streaming services:


If you wanted to a live stream, then you will need a streaming video site account here is an example of such a service.


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I think you missed the point of his question. He is asking about private cable systems like they have in hotels. He wants to be able to setup his own internal cable service for an apartment building. It is entirely possible to do this, but it is also not cheap in the slightest and requires special licensing with the cable provider since the network has to be entirely internal to the building so as to avoid broadcasting regulations and avoid interfering with the cable provider's network. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 1:53
I agree that I did not cover cable systems even though technically these are a type of broadcast. However, AJ Henderson the question does not once mention cable systems, that's your interpretation. –  filzilla Aug 29 '13 at 20:41
True, it just mentioned wanting to share something with all the apartments in his building, which could have been a broadcast thing, but that wouldn't support the bidirectional communication needs for starting when someone tuned the channel. I was mostly just referring to the bit about Wi-Fi and 4g though because that seemed to have no relation to what was being asked whether broadcast or cable. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 20:50
I have to say that your coverage of cable is well done and creates awareness of alternate albeit a more traditional approach. I think the answer for John Qualis is going to come down to what type of TVs his apartment dwellers have, older cable based TVs vs. modern Smart TVs. –  filzilla Aug 29 '13 at 21:15
likewise your coverage of IP solutions is solid, I just wanted to clarify that my comment wasn't about the later half of your post at all, just the first paragraph which seemed out of place to me based on his question. I think the rest of your answer gives a great option. –  AJ Henderson Aug 29 '13 at 23:41
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