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I work in a school. I want to build a video server that I can upload video to from DVDs, VHS tapes and other sources, and have teachers select and play to their classroom projectors. It would need to serve 12 independent streams. Has anyone any suggestions what technologies I might harness? Preferably open-source or cheap.

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I must question the legality of this. You will almost certainly be breaking the law by doing this. –  Zoredache Sep 21 '09 at 19:42
    
In an educational environment he's going to have a lot more liberty to exercise fair use than in a corporate environment. Having said that, Serverfault Is Not an Attorney(tm) and nothing on this site should be construed as legal advice. –  Evan Anderson Sep 21 '09 at 19:47
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Surely Windows Media Services does this? (Here's some OS dependant information)

If you don't have any modern Windows Servers, couldn't you even use Vista/XP Media Sharing and Windows Media Player 11?

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I'd have a look at the VideoLAN project. It's cross-platform, getting quite mature, and very feature-filled. I'm not sure that you're going to find a turnkey solution for what you're looking for using VideoLAN, but you can definitely script something using it to do the "heavy lifting" re: transcoding and streaming video.

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