Multi-Source streaming Setup

Streaming more than one input source can probably be done in several ways. I will try to two different ways to stream the input of several PCs using one central “Streaming PC”. The first option can only be used if all input creating sources are located near the streaming PC and can be connected using a video cable, as in my example HDMI cables with a splitter combination. Option two can be done local but also over the internet. The streaming PC will grab the sources off a server, enough bandwidth assured, which can also run on the streaming PC. In this case all sources have to be able to create a rtmp stream themselves. I use PCs in both examples but you can exchange them with other devices for option 1. For option 2 this is limited by the rtmp streaming capabilities of your sources. (Consoles would each need their own streaming PC for example)


Local setup (using Video connection and splitters)


As you can see in my example picture this setup is actually quite simple. Assuming each PC that is used to create content has a HDMI output which is free for usage you dont even need the mentioned splitters. The usage of HDMI -> DVI cables is also possible, but then you will have to do a workaround to receive the sound of each machine. In this case an Audio Mixer might be worth looking at.
Now it depends if you want to use your inputs at the same time or switch between them. In the first case you dont wanna use a switch like in the picture, but grab a capture card that allows several inputs, or use more than one capture card in the streaming PC. With a switch you will only need one capture card of course but will only be able to show one of the inputs at a time. Also be aware, capture cards that offer several inputs can be costly.
One problem you might encounter when using a switches: (thanks to mrasmus for pointing it out) If you switch away from Device1 to Device2 on your switch, the PC connected as Device1 will think there is no more Monitor connected to it and will likely temporarily blacken the screens (also the gaming Monitor for example) while Windows turns off this Monitor. And when  you switch back it has to reactivate the Monitor and the Windows on Device2 will deactivate its.

Network/Internet setup


For this setup you can probably use all kinds of media servers like wowza/red5/nginx/fms, you just have to assure the easy viewing of your input sources on the Streaming PC. The content creating PCs need to be able to stream their content to this server. So bandwidths for all PCs have to be assured, especially on the internet.
The Streaming PC needs to be able to receive those streams, for example watch them through vlc or a browser window. It needs a download speed that is able to receive the number of streams you want to include while the download only has to suffice for one “final” stream.
You could use a Virtual Machine for the server part and do this on the Streaming PC as well.
Nginx for example is a good Server software which can be compiled with the rtmp module to work as a streaming server. In a Virtual Machine or as an extra PC it would receive all streams and you could grab them and include them to one stream.

These are not Studio grade setups, but they will work if you set everything up correctly. So if you ever wondered how to stream 2 or more sources, this could be a cheap way for you to do it.
I will probably not be able to answer all server related questions, but if you have setup related stuff, just post your question below. And if you found a mistake or know of a different way, also post it below or message me.

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