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Martin77
2011-04-05, 00:16
I've been in the market for a long time for a new alarm clock.

The radio stations I tend to listen to are moving more towards the Internet rather than direct broadcast.

I'd like to buy a Squeezebox Radio, but it just seems fundamentally broken/flawed for what I want.

In order of feature importance: I want a reliable alarm clock first and foremost. I'd be happy to have one that plays BBC World Service via Internet (without use of a server on a PC). If the Internet is down I'd like it to stream some other noise or as a last resort buzz loudly to wake me up. Then I'd like one with a really big snooze button and auto-dimming display. Then reasonable sound quality. The rest I don't find that important: not even the 7 day alarm.

I'd be prepared to pay decent money for this product (e.g. price of the Squeezebox Radio)

Why don't there seem to be any products anywhere that do these simple things reliably?

I've been looking for ages, and every single review comes back with the same issues with poor reliability of the alarm function, or no snooze button, or no Internet radio.

I mean how difficult can it be?

Is there any Squeezebox device out there or planned that can do this.

garym
2011-04-05, 05:09
I've been in the market for a long time for a new alarm clock.

The radio stations I tend to listen to are moving more towards the Internet rather than direct broadcast.

I'd like to buy a Squeezebox Radio, but it just seems fundamentally broken/flawed for what I want.

In order of feature importance: I want a reliable alarm clock first and foremost. I'd be happy to have one that plays BBC World Service via Internet (without use of a server on a PC). If the Internet is down I'd like it to stream some other noise or as a last resort buzz loudly to wake me up. Then I'd like one with a really big snooze button and auto-dimming display. Then reasonable sound quality. The rest I don't find that important: not even the 7 day alarm.

I'd be prepared to pay decent money for this product (e.g. price of the Squeezebox Radio)

Why don't there seem to be any products anywhere that do these simple things reliably?

I've been looking for ages, and every single review comes back with the same issues with poor reliability of the alarm function, or no snooze button, or no Internet radio.

I mean how difficult can it be?

Is there any Squeezebox device out there or planned that can do this.

My SqueezeBox BOOM alarm has been rock solid for going on 3 years. And from what I read, the RADIO alarm seems to be working for most people now after upgraded firmware. Don't believe everything you read on the forums. Happy users don't report that everything is OK.

edit: p.s. I have two radios as well, but don't use them for alarm clocks. But the radios work very well. In both cases I keep them synched with another player (transporter in one location and a touch in another). And they work perfectly, day in, day out, either streaming internet radio or my own music.

Soulkeeper
2011-04-05, 05:15
Yes. It seems the Squeezebox Boom is the safest bet for you. (Although the Radio may work fine for you too. This forum is problem- and solution-oriented, and hardly representative for the rest of the world.)

Steve Baumgarten
2011-04-05, 05:41
> I'd like to buy a Squeezebox Radio, but it just seems fundamentally
> broken/flawed for what I want.
>
> In order of feature importance: I want a reliable alarm clock first and
> foremost.

My primary concern as well. If your Internet or Wifi connection flakes
out, the Squeezebox Radio uses an internal alarm sound that will get the
job done (i.e., wake you up). So unlike some of the earlier Squeeze
products it does have an internal clock -- it's not entirely dependent on
a connection to a server somewhere. (My kids on the other hand have a Boom
and there have been mornings where their alarm hasn't gone off due to lack
of a Wifi connection, so they now have a low tech back up alarm clock as
well. That's one of the main advantages the Radio has over the Boom, that
internal clock and alarm sound.)

SBB

Martin77
2011-04-05, 06:14
Yes. It seems the Squeezebox Boom is the safest bet for you. (Although the Radio may work fine for you too. This forum is problem- and solution-oriented, and hardly representative for the rest of the world.)

Edit: Just read Steve's post about the lack of an internal clock on the Boom. Good info!

Thanks for the tips, I'll check it out.

Squeezebox Boom........
Alarm function: tick
Snooze button: tick
Wake to Internet radio: tick
If Internet is down play an alternative tone: tick
Auto-dimming display: tick
Alarm goes off if no server reachable: Nope. Doh!

Squeezebox Radio........
Alarm function: tick
Snooze button: Nope. Doh! But you can use the big knob on the front. "When the alarm sounds, tap the push-button knob."
Wake to Internet radio: tick
If Internet is down play an alternative tone: tick
Auto-dimming display: tick
Alarm goes off if no server reachable: tick

BBC World Service: tick sort of, but very unclear. You can listen to "9 BBC stations" but they don't say which ones. And you need an account to download the app to check it out.

Quote from another forum: "I have been unable to receive the BBC World Service on my Squeezebox Boom since the major software update last fall. When I contact support during that time and again in January 2010 I received the response that they were aware of the problem, but there was no timetable for this to be corrected. Is there a plan to bring the BBC-WS to those that have lost access? Can we rollback the software to a much earlier release to regain access???"

Quote: BBC (not all streams supported outside of UK)

So what about the BBC World Service? Sorry to be so specific, but that's all I really care about. The other 1000+ streams don't interest me much at all.

Works without PC switched on: unclear to me I'm afraid, because of this World Service issue.

As you can probably tell, I get so frustrated by this.

"Connects to your home network to access music stored on your computer via Logitech® Squeezebox™ Server , or Internet radio and music services via mysqueezebox.com"

Squeezecenter: nope don't want that. I turn off/standby my computers
Squeezenetwork: Looks OK. I leave my access point switched on.

So I can use Internet radio via mysqueezebox.com. tick I can live with that.

Auto-switching between the Squeezecenter & Squeezenetwork if one source isn't available and I want to change in the future: nope. You have to do it manually. Shame but I can live with that.

So I'm 95% convinced, but neither is perfect.

So I still have one very specific question that remains unclear to me even after all this research:

Can I pick up the BBC World Service from a Squeezebox Radio connected via a Dutch Internet provider if I am located outside of the UK without turning my computer on (i.e. not via AlienBBC on a PC), because they've just turned off the MW broadcast on 648KHz.

Will this stream work with a Squeezebox?

MP3: Listen http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/meta/tx/nb/live/ennws.pls

It works on my PC (in the Netherlands) with a simple player without any fancy/nastydrm software.

Thanks very much for your help and patience!

bpa
2011-04-05, 06:52
Outside the UK you can listen to the same content as on SB Radio as BBC iPlayer. So just like Iplayer, you can listen to all BBC streams except Radio 3HD and those program which are not licensed outside the UK such as BBC 5Live sports events - cricket etc.

The standard Sb Radio using MySB.com will play the WMA streams. IIRC The World service issues was the wrong URL was entered somewhere. In these situation you can enter the correct URL as a Favorite as a stop gap until the URL is fixed..

You can find BBC live national radio stations using the Internet Radio Search which is "powered " by RadioTime.

There is a Logitech App - which creates a BBC Menu for the same live national stations.

If you want Listen Again, better quality audio AAC rather than WMA or BBC Local & Regional Radio - then install the 3rd Party BBC iPlayer Applet.

If you want BBC radio as an Alarm station - I think you need to use the WMA stream.

Soulkeeper
2011-04-05, 07:01
Alarm goes off if no server reachable: Nope. Doh!

I can clearly remember hearing my Boom's backup alarm. It's a series of annoying beeps.


Will this stream work with a Squeezebox?
MP3: Listen http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/meta/tx/nb/live/ennws.pls
I don't have my Boom at hand, but I'm listening to the stream on my Squeezebox Touch (connected to Squeezebox Server) right now.

kc5f
2011-04-05, 07:07
My Boom has always provided the backup alarm if there is no internet connection. (I use WiFi and msb.com, not a local server.) I do remember reading that it will only remember the next alarm when it loses connection. I've never been without internet for 24 hours and have never had a chance to verify this, but it makes sense. The bad news is that you can no longer get a Boom from Logitech...

Martin77
2011-04-05, 07:24
Well I took the plunge. Online web booking and then cycled to the nearest webshop which is 10 minutes away (some things are well organized in the Netherlands!)

Bought a Squeezebox Radio. Re-flashed it with the latest software and I was up and running within 5 minutes.

I can confirm already that the BBC World Service is available in the Netherlands without any external software or other applications, simply using the built in menu. Not only that but BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 (I know 5 Live is rights limited, especially for the Sport)

So I'll now test the alarms without connectivity and see if that works and report back. [I hate it on forums where someone asks a question and never takes the time to report back]

Edit: Yep works exactly as I wanted. First tries to stream the playlist, and if it can't do that it switches to a back up tune.
The alarm also works properly if you remove power for a minute and then let it reboot.

THANKS GUYS!

Steve Baumgarten
2011-04-05, 07:26
> My Boom has always provided the backup alarm if there is no internet
> connection. (I use WiFi and msb.com, not a local server.) I do
> remember reading that it will only remember the next alarm when it
> loses connection.

Huh. I'll have to check that. Apologies if I've provided misinformation. I
can test it with my kids tonight and see -- maybe it just isn't loud
enough to wake them!

> I've never been without internet for 24 hours and
> have never had a chance to verify this, bit it makes sense. But the
> bad news is that you can no longer get a Boom from Logitech...

That's a shame. The sound quality is excellent -- much better than the
Radio, though the Radio does sound pretty decent. But it's obviously based
on that obsolete display technology, I guess all those products are end of
life at this point.

SBB

Martin77
2011-04-05, 07:55
>
That's a shame. The sound quality is excellent -- much better than the
Radio, though the Radio does sound pretty decent.
SBB

Don't worry Steve. Appreciate your help. I was specifically looking for a reliable Internet Radio Alarm Clock to listen to the BBC World Service, and that's exactly what I've got within a couple of hours of my original post, so I'm very happy. The World Service stream is anyway only 32kbps mono, and it's already far better quality via Internet than when I was listening via the 648KHz medium wave radio broadcast that has now been switched off!

kc5f
2011-04-06, 07:13
My Boom has always provided the backup alarm if there is no internet connection.
Dang, I shouldn't have said anything! This morning, for the first time in the year and some I've had it, the Boom alarm didn't go off. I was listening when I went to bed, so it had connection since the last alarm cycle. But when I woke up it had all the lights on as it does when it's lost connection, but the alarm icon wasn't on and the alarm hadn't sounded.

As usual, when I turned on my Duet Controller, as soon as it booted up to the menu the Boom reset correctly, with just the Power button lit, the alarm icon on and tomorrow's alarm scheduled. Oh well, thank goodness for cats who know when it's time for breakfast!

bluegaspode
2011-04-06, 08:36
Some clarifications about Boom and Radio alarm:

- both have an internal timer for the next alarm, so go off, when your server fails to send a signal at alarm time
- only the Radio actively (and very aggressively) checks, whether a stream is playing. So while a Boom might get a signal from the (working) server 'please play this stream', it will fail the alarm, if the stream does not properly connnect (or stops inbetween).
The Radio checks every 10 seconds if there is an active stream and will sound the fallback alarm. Only a 'silent' stream makes the Radio think everything is fine, while there is still no sound from the speaker.

Also the Radio will sound the fallback alarm when it lost connection to the server. This is because it does not trust the server anymore once it has lost the connection.
Typically a server sends a 'right now nothing is playing' signal when it is restarting (as it doesn't know that there is still some alarm after a restart), thus silencing a maybe still running alarm on a Boom.

So if something is flaky - the Radio will sound the fallback alarm quite often (which in turn might also annoy people).
Boom does not sound the fallback alarm as often - but in reality has less measures to prevent you from not waking up.


Last common problem with alarms: These fallback mechanism ONLY work, when the Radio or Boom does know about the next alarm.
Many people find it convenient to change alarm time via the web-interface, iPhone/Android/iPad remotes, whatever. When doing this, you will never know, if the alarm arrived on the Radio/or Boom.
Typically this doesn't give problem - at alarm time the server triggers the alarm anyway. But on the rare occasions when the server is not sending the signal due to problem, the Radio/Boom never knew the time when a backup alarm should sound - and won't wake you up.

So to have a reliable (fallback) alarm, one needs to setup alarm time directly on the Radio (as then one would realize if the Radio/Boom probably does not have a connection to the server).

Martin77
2011-04-29, 02:30
Still a happy Squeezebox Radio (alarm clock) user. Up until now the back alarm has sounded once (presume the stream was unavailable, or my local wifi was busy) but at least it woke me up.

Call me old, but please note that I use the radio 100% stand alone, and I don't use any of the web site features on http://www.mysqueezebox.com or any local streaming Squeezebox server.

On a general note, sound quality is absolutely fine for speech (I bought this for World Service) but is is only mono, and I wouldn't expect too much performance for music compared to what is clearly technically possible with streaming.

Thanks everyone for your help.