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View Full Version : No FM radio : why ?



fakarava2
2008-08-30, 09:34
I consider this is a marketing error :
That keeps me from buying one.

The ubiquitous lossy "radio" streams are so poor that I can't listen to them for more than 5 minutes (even with my Transporter).
BTW, can someone really do it without fatigue ?

FM rcvr chips are small and don't cost an arm !

(and why not Software Defined Radio, including the new digital modes ?)

iPhone
2008-08-30, 10:07
I consider this is a marketing error :
That keeps me from buying one.

The ubiquitous lossy "radio" streams are so poor that I can't listen to them for more than 5 minutes (even with my Transporter).
BTW, can someone really do it without fatigue ?

FM rcvr chips are small and don't cost an arm !

(and why not Software Defined Radio, including the new digital modes ?)

HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO, the Boom is a Network Music Player! It is not an all in one boombox with an AM/FM/CDP/Tape player that by the way don't come with Network Music Players.

If you need radio so bad, get XM or Sirrus and use the plug in. Or buy a TV/FM tuner card for your PC and stream to the Boom from your Server.

And if that is the only reason that you don't buy a Boom, you really don't have a reason! I saw an FM only walkman at the dollar store the other day for $4.95. Buy one and use the line-in if you just have to have local radio. The whole world is open to everybody with Internet Radio and you won't buy Boom because of what, a few local radio stations?

Paul Webster
2008-08-30, 10:42
On the other hand ... plenty of the competition for this sort of device do have FM (and at least one also has AM) included
examples include:
Roku Soundbridge Radio
Philips devices
Frontier-Silicon or Reciva based devices

I don't see it as a silly question.

Matt Wise
2008-08-30, 10:53
On the other hand ... plenty of the competition for this sort of device do have FM (and at least one also has AM) included
examples include:
Roku Soundbridge Radio
Philips devices
Frontier-Silicon or Reciva based devices

I don't see it as a silly question.

I actually agree myself... as I understand it, adding an FM/AM radio would have added complexity and cost to the product. It would have been nice though.

One idea I had though was if we could get an USB AM/FM radio for your computer, and then build a plugin that can stream that to the boom, it would actually make all of our products have 'real' tuners. I have no idea how complex that would be though -- and it would likely be limited to specific OS's because of driver support.

dwilliams01
2008-08-30, 11:01
I actually agree myself... as I understand it, adding an FM/AM radio would have added complexity and cost to the product. It would have been nice though.

One idea I had though was if we could get an USB AM/FM radio for your computer, and then build a plugin that can stream that to the boom, it would actually make all of our products have 'real' tuners. I have no idea how complex that would be though -- and it would likely be limited to specific OS's because of driver support.

That would make more sense to me. Support for synchronization, etc. If it added HD FM as well then I'd really be interested because I haven't found a home system that did hd that was designed to be a component in a larger AV system. They are just in cars and stand-alones, from what I can tell. Not sure that I need the format, but all of the ads are having an effect...

bpa
2008-08-30, 11:02
There are already plugins available for TV/FM Tuner cards for Linux and also Griffin Radio Shark.

Many of the existing internet radios with FM/AM don't have great FM reception and so user have to string up a wire antenna which is useless if you move the unit around and ugly if fitted in a kitchen. I think adding FM/AM could have resulted in a compromised product.

simbo
2008-08-30, 11:41
Then you'd have people asking - why no DAB*? It's moving the product further away from its intended audience.

* Taking off well in the UK, not sure about elsewhere. Quality's not as good as internet radio IMO.

pfarrell
2008-08-30, 11:49
simbo wrote:
> Then you'd have people asking - why no DAB*? It's moving the product
> further away from its intended audience.

Why not a built in disk?

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

stigerj
2008-08-30, 12:55
Does anyone know if there exists a HD FM PC card (that will work with SqueezeCenter)? All of the TV/FM cards I am finding do not have HD.
Thanks.

Jeff

ModelCitizen
2008-08-30, 13:10
The ubiquitous lossy "radio" streams are so poor that I can't listen to them for more than 5 minutes (even with my Transporter).
BTW, can someone really do it without fatigue ?

Really? Having a Boom has radically increased my use of Internet Radio (mainly BBC radio and Last.fm) and it all sounds great on the Boom, not fatiguing at all. I am wondering how easy it would be for most people to tell the difference between a 128k mp3 and lossless music on a boom box?

In fact, now I come to think of it, Last.fm and 128k Shoutcast streams sound surprisingly good on my Transporter and SB+ too (admittedly not quite as great as lossless stuff though).

MC

surly
2008-08-30, 13:24
The problem is when you have an oldscool Broadcaster (ARD Germany) that doesen't care about internet Radio (44k stream is like not caring) but has a good local radio Station that also sends via FM. So if you want to hear local news and traffic service via that Station at breakfast for example you have no option than to tune in via an analog oldscool radio receiver.

I think i have to look into the streaming abilities of my TV/Radio Card in my Mediacenter/Squeezecenter Machine!

Greetz surly

simbo
2008-08-30, 13:32
So if you want to hear local news and traffic service via that Station at breakfast for example you have no option than to tune in via an analog oldscool radio receiver.
That's actually a good point, I notice Virgin Radio only give national traffic updates via their internet service, rather than the local ones on FM.

However I think the onus is on the service providers (the stations) to keep up with technological advances, especially as (I'd imagine) our governments will be keen to sell off the analogue frequency ranges as soon as they can get away with it.

surly
2008-08-30, 13:53
Especially if the Broadcasters of The Old can charge you for Internet capable PCs that may be used for their sub par web offerings. Believe it or not in Germany every user who has a PC with internet capabilities is charged with a subscription for the National non private Bradcasters, even when he uses this PC in an Office environment where it is/can never be used for receiving Radio or TV via Internet.
And then you are left with 44k broadcasts that sound like "/=!

Greetz surly

sander
2008-08-30, 14:11
There are already plugins available for TV/FM Tuner cards for Linux and also Griffin Radio Shark.

I've searched periodically for this, can you tell me some links or what to search for? The ability to tune in to FM/AM and stream them in unison across my house would be invaluable.

I do think there's an angle with streaming radio as a gateway to get people interested in wifi streaming devices. Logitech is flanked by Apples's DRM as sadly everyone who I know as a good candidate for SqueezeCenter has itunes drm'ed tracks. Receiva and Tivoli are taking this track, with limited success I believe, but it doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do.

bpa
2008-08-30, 14:38
Updates for Sc 7.x to these plugins have not been published but they are minimal so it would not be hard.


The Dan Aronson plugin for use with tuner card on Linux using V4L interface

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=18904

Ralphy talks about his RadioShark solution here
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?p=329212

My RadioShark plugin and peterw's solution are in this thread.
http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=36535

All these solution are for Linux systems.

I've had thoughts about doing a Windows version but a solution using tuner card required DirectShow & DirectX development and using a RadioShark requires WinUSB driver development.

jgs
2008-08-30, 16:44
I consider this is a marketing error :
...
FM rcvr chips are small and don't cost an arm !

Me too. (Which is all I wanted to say but it's less than 10 characters.)

Paul Webster
2008-08-30, 16:56
It will be interesting to see how it fares against the competition.

I suspect that it will be competing more with the all-in-one devices than SB2/SB3 have been in the past (i.e. sitting in the kitchen or bedroom rather than what I suspect is the usual SB location close to the hi-fi in lounge).

For those who do not have a Squeezebox already but are in the market for something like the SB Boom then I think that they might be looking at lower cost (and lower spec) internet-only radios plus similar priced (and higher priced) combo devices.

A few examples just to illustrate (sorry for the big pictures - but I couldn't find a size parameter for this BBCode implementation):
(price comparisons are UK-based)
Logik IR100 (http://www.dixons.co.uk/martprd/product/seo/901880)
Internet only - much lower price
http://www.dixons.co.uk/images/901880_01_huge.jpg

Tangent Quattro (http://www.tangent-audio.com/00003/00011/00050/)
FM/Internet - lower price
http://www.tangent-audio.com/graphics/interface/pic_97.jpg

Pure Evoke Flow (http://www.pure.com/products/product.asp?Product=VL-60896&Category=Kitchen)
FM/DAB/Internet - lower price - on display at IFA - due out end of September
http://www.pure.com/images/products600/VL-60896.jpg

and as I mentioned above - Roku Soundbridge Radio (http://www.roku.com/products_soundbridgeradio.php)
FM/AM/Internet - similar price
http://www.roku.com/images/soundbridge-large.jpg

I think that SBB beats all of the above in terms of flexibility, screen quality (compared to most) and almost certainly on sound quality and others can probably rattle off other criteria as well - but I do think that it will be compared more with a radio than a hi-fi component where it will lose a few battles.
However, I also think that it is a market that will grow and the best all round offerings will establish the reputation needed for the relatively early adopters who search the internet before buying.

SBB is on my wish list (but with 2*SB2 plus 2 internet radios already, the challenge is to know where to put it).

Great feedback from early adopters in forums and Amazon will certainly help promote it.

danaronson
2008-08-30, 17:07
if there is enough interest out there I could be persuaded to update the plugin. I (obviously) no longer am actively using it.

--dan

Dylan Rhodes
2008-08-30, 17:08
simbo wrote:
> Then you'd have people asking - why no DAB*? It's moving the product
> further away from its intended audience.

Why not a built in disk?

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

I'm at IFA this week. Yesterday I saw a single-piece device that encompassed an AM/FM tuner, DAB radio, PC streaming, an Internet radio tuner, an iPod dock AND a CD slot. The retail price was 699 Euros. It was the kitchen sink effect taken to the extreme. As network music players become more common, we'll continue to see Internet radio functionality combined in even more interesting permutations.

I think an earlier poster said it best -- we specialize in network music players. None of our products so far have included FM tuners.

As for the comment about many streaming versions not sounding as good as their terrestrial counterparts: I think this is an issue that will go away over time as the online listener base grows. High quality streams are another way for FM stations to compete in a sometimes tough market, and customer demand will play a big part of this. If anybody reading this is disappointed by the sampling rate of their favorite FM station's stream, I recommend sending the station a friendly email asking them what their plans are for improving the bitrate, and informing them that you'll listen more if they can provide a higher quality stream.

Pale Blue Ego
2008-08-30, 19:03
It seems like the sound quality would be about the same. You could have the Boom, which can play local or international radio stations as a low-bit stream, but which has a nice stereo audio system built in

OR

Get a cheaper unit that has an AM/FM tuner but has a worse-sounding and possibly mono audio system.

The signal from the tuner might be superior but then you're playing it through a low-quality amp and speaker.

Paul Webster
2008-08-31, 03:03
I think an earlier poster said it best -- we specialize in network music players. None of our products so far have included FM tuners.

"We" as in SlimDevices hadn't done loudspeakers before - but Logitech clearly had
But "We" as in Logitech has done a product with FM (and AM and iPod dock).
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/172/2669&cl=gb,en
even won a design award
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/172/2928&cl=gb,en
and the Logitech Pure-Fi Elite (http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/speakers_audio/ipod_mp3_speakers/devices/3660&cl=gb,en)
http://www.logitech.com/repository/560/jpg/5032.1.0.jpg

has AM/FM with some interesting parallels with SBB:
* 1.5 cm high-definition, soft-dome tweeters: Get precision and clarity from even the highest notes.
* 10.1 cm high-power, long-throw woofers: Fill the room with deep, powerful bass.
* DSP-controlled, dynamic, digital EQ and filtering: Minimises distortion to create true-to-life sound.
* Bi-amplified transducer design with digital electronic crossover: Enjoy studio-quality audio that plays louder and sounds better.
* StereoXL™ technology: Dramatically widens stereo image, creating an immersive audio experience.


Don't get me wrong though - I'm not saying that the lack of regular radio is a huge problem - just that I think it was an odd omission. Perhaps it is in the plans for the future.

florca
2008-08-31, 07:30
Although not quite as nice sounding as a good FM tuner, I'm still happily using my DVBSHOUT + ICECAST-based solution with a Hauppauge Nova-T card to stream all of the National BBC radio DVB-T (Freeview) stations to my Squeezeboxes. Much better quality than DAB, and able to concurrently stream different stations to different clients, unlike the FM tuner card approach. This should also work with DVB-S (Satellite / Freesat) cards (eg Nova-S Plus) to give reception across much of Europe with a decent dish.

More details here http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=29703

Brgds
Phil

Michaelwagner
2008-08-31, 07:40
simbo wrote:
> Then you'd have people asking - why no DAB*? It's moving the product
> further away from its intended audience.

Why not a built in disk?

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

Why not a pony?

It's one of those discussions.

As was said above, I think a better approach would be to find and support a USB (or other similar) fm tuner. That way, I'd only have to plug the tuner into my antenna or cable connection once, in one place in the house, and it would stream via WIFI or ethernet everywhere in the house.

Paul Webster
2008-08-31, 09:30
find and support a USB (or other similar) fm tuner. That way, I'd only have to plug the tuner into my antenna or cable connection once, in one place in the house, and it would stream via WIFI or ethernet everywhere in the house.

Which is the set-up that I have (although DAB rather than FM) - but, I still think that there will be more more sales of this sort of device to customers who will have it as their first device and who will be comparing it with others that are marketed as "internet radios" - for whom built-in broadcast radio will be high on their wish list.

ASS-Ware
2008-08-31, 10:11
I consider this is a marketing error :
FM rcvr chips are small and don't cost an arm !
And where do you want to put the antenna ?
I don't think you can really hear the difference between broadcast FM and an MP3 stream of a radio station.

ASS-Ware
2008-08-31, 10:12
I consider this is a marketing error :
FM rcvr chips are small and don't cost an arm !
And where do you want to put the antenna ?
I don't think you can really hear the difference between broadcast FM and an MP3 stream of a radio station.
Or do you want FM through the cable and se an ugly cable going to your device ?

Paul Webster
2008-08-31, 11:34
And where do you want to put the antenna ?
On the back of the device - like most small FM radios and micro systems - possibly a telescopic one (as I have on one of my internet radio with built in FM).


I don't think you can really hear the difference between broadcast FM and an MP3 stream of a radio station.
Really depends on many things - but that is not the only criteria.
e.g.
* bandwidth use
* "sync" with other FM radios playing in the house (according to folks at BBC tech support desk, the biggest single criticism from new DAB users was that it is a few seconds behind the FM signal)

The audience for internet radios is not necessarily the same as that for home media streaming - and I think that the Boom is up against a different class of devices compared to the prior models.

Anyway - I won't keep harping on about it any more. Hopefully it will fly off the shelves.

fakarava2
2008-12-27, 09:56
Sorry, I don't have followed this stream for a while. But I was very pleased with all these different posts.
I'll try to redefine my "profile":
- I am a classical FM addict, and sometimes listen to local news and weather forecast on stations that are not streamed.
- To my own ears, FM is far superior to streamed radios, although it is broadcast to transmitters in MPEG2 format (this is the case of the Radio France network).
- I have 3 hifi setups :
A "big" one in the living room with a FM tuner and a Transporter,
The second in the (large) kitchen with a Kenwood combi (now obsolete but like the K-711) and a SB3,
...and another analog system with one more good FM tuner, connected to the PC via an ESI Juli@.

- Believe me or not, sometimes it is not enough, as I would like to be able to listen to the radio or the HDD everywhere like in the workshop or the garden.
This is why I was interested with the Boom.

- So there are 2 solutions:

* Stream only one FM station via the PC and sound card. I don't exactly know how to do it.
* FM included in the Boom : AFAIK a FM chip is not expensive (and there is already a dial, for instance), and the antenna could be a cheap telescopic one.

Season's greetings,

simbo
2008-12-27, 13:09
* Stream only one FM station via the PC and sound card. I don't exactly know how to do it.
You could use the WaveInput plugin (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=35718) to stream from your FM-tuned PC to your Squeezebox.

cme10ae
2008-12-27, 13:10
I recently bought a BOOM. I love it but my husband thinks it's stupid as he can't sit and scan through all the local stations. It's just what he likes to do. It would be perfect if I could do what I do with it (music library, internet radio, Pandora, etc) and he could flip from station to station (all local, and yes traffic/weather reports in between the music would be nice).

bpa
2008-12-27, 13:53
* Stream only one FM station via the PC and sound card. I don't exactly know how to do it.


There are already a number of solutions for Linux based PCs.

You could buy a Griffin radioShark USB AM/FM tuner and use the SharkPlay plugin. This works on Linux & Windows.

In the new year I will have a plugin that works for Analogue TV/FM Tuner cards (e.g. Hauppauge) on Windows and Linux. I had it just about ready for 7.2 and then 7.3 was released.

fakarava2
2008-12-29, 12:30
You could use the WaveInput plugin (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=35718) to stream from your FM-tuned PC to your Squeezebox.
Of course, but I would be restricted to the one station my tuner is on ;-)
It is not very convenient...