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norderney
2008-06-25, 15:11
Interesting article here:

http://www.radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.3530.3

The bit that interests me is this part:
"The quality of the radio programmes will see an improvement".

The sound quality with the BBC's Real Audio feed has been a constant issue for me.
What format is the iPlayer using?
Can the iPlayer audio be used by Slim Centre software?
How can I access this improved sound quality?
I also have the Radio Feeds plugin working, which offers alternative BBC audio feeds to the Real Audio ones via BBC Alien.


Here is the full article from Radio Today web site:
The beta version of the new-look BBC iPlayer is released tomorrow, and will fully integrate radio and television in one interface.

The extra good news is that the BBC has confirmed audio on demand and streaming will become available - meaning it is only a matter of time before live BBC Radio stations are available to mobile users such as those with Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch.

The quality of the radio programmes will see an improvement, and a new sleek pop-up radio console will offer additional features such as the More Like This widget and, in time, will grow to provide a personalised radio station.

Erik Huggers, the BBC's Group Controller for Future Media and Technology, says: "Audiences are now able to experience the full range of BBC content some 250 TV programmes currently available each week as well as all the BBC radio networks in a new and more accessible way, and all for free."

bpa
2008-06-25, 15:34
These BBC blog entries also add some insight especially as one mention the need to continue support for non website devices such as squeezebox.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radiolabs/2008/03/streaming_radio_online_your_co_1.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/02/streaming_radio_online.html

robroe
2008-06-26, 05:19
I read on http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/25/bbc_iplayer_update/ (not the most reliable site anymore I know) that the new streams will be 128kbs mp3s.

I'm really hoping they are as the 56kbs (or some low bitrate) wma streams are barely acceptable. Here's hoping :)

bpa
2008-06-26, 05:32
Another blog entry but no details except in a comment to sort of reassurance that wifi devices will be OK but details later.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2008/06/bbc_iplayer_20_sneak_preview.html

There seems to be nothing in the blogs about whether the new features and better quality will be UK only or not. I suspect if it is part is iPlayer then it may be UK only.

funkstar
2008-06-26, 12:32
They have also said that if it works now it will continue to work.

So although non-UK listeners using the RealAudio streams might not benefit from the higher bitrates, they won't loose their radio stream either.

James Cridland
2008-06-26, 16:51
Thanks for your comments. There'll be a full posting on the BBC Radio Labs blog later today, but to answer some points here (for national radio only):

- The Register's wrong; the Flash streams are not just 128k (indeed, some's even higher). This is on-demand only for now; live soon.
- There are at least two further changes to audio quality for on-demand and live between now and the end of the year.
- Our Real Player (and Windows Media) streams are unaffected. As @funkstar says: "if it works now it'll continue to work". Some streams will increase in quality before the end of the year too.

@bpa: Non-UK users (should) get all the new features except the Flash audio.

Hope that helps everyone; thanks for listening.

James (BBC)

robroe
2008-06-27, 08:14
Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on here. It looks like the full posting is now up at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radiolabs/2008/06/under_the_iplayer_hood_for_rad.shtml.

I'd have to say I'm a bit of a heathen and I don't listen to much classical music, but I think its a nice touch that the bitrates off the on-demand version reflect the complexity of the content of the differing stations.

I'm not really sure who this question is to, but which streams would we be able to access through SqueezeNetwork/AlienBBC? Is it just the WMA and realmedia streams or is there any way we could get the protected MP3/AAC feeds?

I guess that question is a) is it technologically possible to get those feeds and play them through the squeezebox (presumably only through AlienBBC), b) are we allowed to do this, and I suppose c) will there be any need to grab the AAC feeds or will the WMA feeds be improved to a good enough quality?

Thanks again,

Rob

peter
2008-06-27, 09:22
robroe wrote:
> Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on here. It looks like the full
> posting is now up at
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radiolabs/2008/06/under_the_iplayer_hood_for_rad.shtml.
>
> I'd have to say I'm a bit of a heathen and I don't listen to much
> classical music, but I think its a nice touch that the bitrates off the
> on-demand version reflect the complexity of the content of the differing
> stations.
>
> I'm not really sure who this question is to, but which streams would we
> be able to access through SqueezeNetwork/AlienBBC? Is it just the WMA
> and realmedia streams or is there any way we could get the protected
> MP3/AAC feeds?
>
> I guess that question is a) is it technologically possible to get those
> feeds and play them through the squeezebox (presumably only through
> AlienBBC) and b) are we allowed to do this?
>

And just a list of URL's instead of fully automated player links would
be a great service to us SB users.

Regards,
Peter

bpa
2008-06-27, 09:29
Part of a reply made by james in response to a user comment in his blog


We're using the "AAC family" term because we wish to offer a range of audio formats - some more suited to aacPlus, some more suited to AAC. Once these additional formats are available, we will be publishing details of how to access them here, and of course I'd like a non-commercial API, but this is a wish and not a statement of intent quite yet.

Triode
2008-06-27, 09:47
Hi James,

Thanks for taking the time to post here.

Hopefully you are looking at high bitrate streams for streaming devices such as the squeezebox, as most people here will have a better audio set up linked to their squeezebox than to their PC and will do most of their listening that way. (And I predict this trend is only going to continue) Unfortunately I suspect the streaming device vendors have less options on codecs than you do if the desktop is your main target. Do you have high bit rate on streaming devices (rather than "internet radio" and "fridges") as one of your targets?

Look forward to developments and hope the feeds & menus used by alienbbc will continue for a while.. Any information you can share on xml or other api interfaces to publically available content would be very intersting.

Adrian

amcluesent
2008-06-27, 15:04
Let's hope that for once the engineering teams win out over the marketing dweebs at the BBC and the 'unbranded' feeds are kept going. I don't want to use the iPlayer with it's undocumented P2P 'features'.

Paul Webster
2008-06-27, 23:56
James Cridland also responded to my query about direct access to the higher quality streams - and the answer was:
"we will have other streams primarily for internet radio devices; and we will ensure that these are better quality than currently available."

I suspect that it will require some an agreement being in place between Logitech and BBC to get that access - perhaps with some form of brokering via SqueezeNetwork (as in done for some other services).
It will be imperative that if something is done via SqueezeNetwork then it must take into account the location of the listener since since it looks like the writing is on the wall for access to music programmes from outside UK.
Maybe a SqueezeNetwork node/proxy in UK - with an assurance from Logitech that it would only be used by devices that appear to be in UK - or a private back-end protocol with BBC that tells them the IP address of the listener.