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gcd0865
Topic Author
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:38 pm

RadioTime Database?

Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:19 am

Hi All:

Just about fell off my chair when I read Roku's press release for its three new video players (see http://www.roku.com/Libraries/Press_Rel ... nload=true). Are the new generation of Roku video players really accessing the RadioTime database for audio content? For those not familiar, the RadioTime database (see http://www.radiotime.com) is a very extensive worldwide radio station streaming directory that is used as the supporting station directory for a number of internet radios (including Sonos and Squeezebox - see http://inside.radiotime.com/about) and the Wunderradio streaming audio program (or "app") that has become popular for Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile smartphones (see http://www.wunderradio.com). I've used the RadioTime database as a directory for some time now on my computer, and it is far more extensive and far more up to date than Radio Roku, which a handful of us are trying to update (but we can never even come close to catching up). In other words, if our Roku radios were accessing the RadioTime database instead of Radio Roku, we would enjoy a big jump ahead in the number of stations available and the accuracy of the stream urls. Wondering if Roku's agreement with RadioTime allows accessing the RadioTime database by all Roku products, including our SoundBridges, such that a firmware update could make that beneficial swap for us.
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Re: RadioTime Database?

Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:46 pm

gcd0865,

the RadioTime channel for the Amazon-Netflix Wonderbox-Thingy (TM alanmc) was developed some time ago by forum user "nowhereman" (please see this thread for details). In August, Roku hired "nowhereman", he now is RokuChris and the RadioTime channel became "official" on the video player.

Regardless of licensing questions and technical difficulties the SoundBridges will never access RadioTime's database, because they are EOL and there will be no further firmware updates. If you want a radio using RadioTime, you have to buy a Logitech SqueezeBox. vTuner and Reciva are two other relatively well maintained databases which are licensed to radio manufacturers.

RadioTime, vTuner and Reciva do not only rely on volunteers but also on paid staff maintaining the databases. Furthermore they have established official contacts to a great number of broadcasters which makes it a lot easier to keep the databases up-to-date. As you very correctly stated Frank and the handful of occasional contributors (including yourself) will never manage to catch up with RadioTime, vTuner and Reciva. They have not even been able to stop the decline of the database with several thousand outdated entries and more than 2,000 "zombies" showing up on the SoundBridges.

To cut a long story short: Radio Roku is as dead as the SoundBridge. It's time to look for alternatives.

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
gcd0865
Topic Author
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:38 pm

Re: RadioTime Database?

Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:20 pm

Thanks very much for the comments. I suppose you've confirmed what I pretty much suspected, but was still in denial about. I was perhaps hoping that the additional revenue Roku is probably now seeing as a result of its new video products would allow/cause Roku to go back and re-support the SoundBridge line in some minimum way, such as by a firmware update for the radios (to include Clear Channel stations and flash streams and/or switch over to RadioTime access). You know, now that Roku appears to have gotten through the previous lean times. The big surprise for me was Roku's licensing of somebody else's station database (RadioTime) for its new video players that is kept fully up to date, simply bypassing Radio Roku in favor of a different database while some of us are still submitting Radio Roku entries and Frank is dutifully entering them into Radio Roku. Anyone else feel kicked in the groin here (again) besides me? Frank?

I have three SoundBridges, and have tried to remain loyal to Roku all this time, but this is rather bad. I know several of you have warned of this previously, so no need to remind. Even if the SoundBridges are EOL, couldn't they at least do one firmware update that would switch the station database being accessed to RadioTime (which presumably at the same time would allow the SoundBridges to play Clear Channel and flash streams)? And wouldn't a good amount of that firmware update simply be copying and pasting from the firmware portion on Roku's video players used for playing RadioTime audio?

I have to confess, Logitech's Squeezebox Boom is looking rather appealing, and at least I'd know that my submitted station updates are supported by the company (I plan to update to an Android phone shortly, and Wunderradio would use the same RadioTime station database).
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Re: RadioTime Database?

Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:34 pm

gcd0865,

Anyone else feel kicked in the groin here (again) besides me?

As far as I'm concerned, the kicks happened long ago, so it doesn't hurt any more :wink:

And wouldn't a good amount of that firmware update simply be copying and pasting from the firmware portion on Roku's video players used for playing RadioTime audio?

No, it would require a complete rewrite of the internet radio part of the firmware. The Amazon-Netflix Wonderbox-Thingy (TM alanmc) and the SoundBridge use completely different hardware and firmware platforms.

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
S80_UK
Posts: 1035
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:11 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

Re: RadioTime Database?

Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:50 pm

gcd0865 wrote:
.....couldn't they at least do one firmware update that would switch the station database being accessed to RadioTime (which presumably at the same time would allow the SoundBridges to play Clear Channel and flash streams)?

In a word, No. Accessing a database is only a small part of the problem. Since you mention Flash embedded streams as an example - they would require substantial additional software to be written. It just isn't going to happen for the SoundBridge. For what it is worth, most of the internet radios which access Vtuner's and Reciva's portals cannot currently handle Flash either.
Roku M1000, M1001, M2000, R1000, Roberts WM-201, Stream 83i
 
gcd0865
Topic Author
Posts: 201
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:38 pm

Re: RadioTime Database?

Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:41 am

Was reading up on some of the other available internet radios, and found that Logitech's Squeezebox Boom apparently cannot play as many stream formats as the newer Squeezebox Radio. Wouldn't firmware updates make the radios' stream format receiving capabilities identical? Unless there's something to the hardware that enhances the ability to receive additional formats, but I couldn't really understand what that could be. I'd be most interested in something universal that handled flash streams, Clear Channel streams, AAC, etc., while at the same time, allowed login to subscription-based streams and tapped a good fully-updated international station database. Apparently, the Clear Channel streams did not work for a while earlier this year on the Squeezebox Boom and/or Radio, but were added back (by either a firmware update or a new license agreement) a few months ago. Flash might not still be fully supported though, from what I read. If the information about the Squeezebox Boom is correct, maybe the time is not yet ripe (maybe newer radios will appear shortly, especially with touchscreens like the new smartphones). But in general, am I correct in saying that the addition of receivable stream formats for a given radio should solely relate to having sufficient license agreements in place and suitable firmware updates to handle the stream formats? Or am I wrong, and something in the hardware is also involved?
 
dupondt
Posts: 1653
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 6:46 am
Location: Germany, European Union

Re: RadioTime Database?

Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:29 am

gcd0865,

I'd be most interested in something universal that handled flash streams,

I'm not aware of any standalone audio streaming client which can handle Flash audio. This is most likely due to the fact that Flash requires a lot of processing power.

However, most stations offering audio via a Flash player on their website do not stream Flash audio, but simply use the Flash player to play MP3 or AACplus streams which many radios can handle.

Clear Channel streams, AAC, etc., while at the same time, allowed login to subscription-based streams and tapped a good fully-updated international station database.

Reciva based radios meet these requirements (with the exception of certain AACplus streams, mainly provided by StreamTheWorld and LiquidCompass; Reciva and STW are cooperating to resolve this issue). All Clear Channel and iHeart Radio stations are available in Reciva's database and usually up-to-date because Reciva and Clear Channel are working together. Furthermore Reciva cooperate with many broadcasters including for example NPR in the U.S. so parts of the URL database are updated automatically.

Addendum: Depending on where you live Reciva based radios also allow you to use Live365, Sirius Satellite Radio, Pandora, MP3Tunes and Aupeo (see here for details).

am I correct in saying that the addition of receivable stream formats for a given radio should solely relate to having sufficient license agreements in place and suitable firmware updates to handle the stream formats? Or am I wrong, and something in the hardware is also involved?

It's a combination of licensing the codecs, using appropriate hardware and writing a decent firmware.

Given the multitude of audio formats and streaming parameters the most reliable internet radio device these days is a Netbook with a decent player software.

Greetings
dupondt
SoundBridge M1001 and M1000 • Clint L1 (retired) • DNT IP-dio (retired)
Google Chromecast • Amazon Fire TV • Amazon Echo and Echo Dot
 
FrankB
Posts: 279
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:16 am

Re: RadioTime Database?

Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:25 am

gcd0865 wrote:
Anyone else feel kicked in the groin here (again) besides me? Frank?


Quite honestly? I bought my first Soundbridge before RadioRoku existed. I don't remember the order of the next 5 but I feel like there is no better replacement for my musical needs than the 5 Soundbridges I use and the 1 spare I keep. So in most regards, RadioRoku is a bonus for me in many respects.

I don't get the excitement over radio directories. They are OK, but honestly I am quite self sufficient in being able to track down streams that I care about. And if necessary I don't mind entering them into the presets on the Soundbridge directly if RadioRoku were to drop off the internet.

You also have to recognize that every product on the current market has a short life. Cracks are appearing in any product that has been on the market for more than a year or two. Companies try to leverage platforms but the sad truth is things are changing too rapidly at this point. Then look at how long of a lifespan the Soundbridge had. Quite respectable in my opinion.

It's easy to find similar products that have been completely abandoned with no opportunity for community support. At least we are in a position to keep some part of the Soundbridge ecosystem updated.

I have no intention of leaving the Soundbridge family. I seriously believe I'll see IPv6 problems take them out before their usefulness is replaced in my household. I wake up to one every day. And it sounds really really good now that I've replaced the sub woofer in it, and revived the power supply.

Now, if you want to talk about kicking in the groin, what is up with the Soundbridge power supplies? Is there ANY Roku product with a reliable power supply?

Frank

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