Listen Labs

Opus Streaming Trial

Absolute Radio Labs recently read about the Foundation's efforts to finally free the internet world of the potentially litigious and quasi-legal status of audio codecs that are current in use for audio streaming. They have developed a powerful new, royalty free audio codec called the
'Opus Interactive Multimedia Codec'.

We've been avid fans of their open source and open license work in the past by adopting the OGG-VORBIS and OGG-FLAC codecs for streaming but this new codec is really important for a few reasons:
  • The code behind the codec is completely open source and platform agnostic.
  • All the patents involved are under a FLOSS-compatible license. Usage of technology covered by these patents is licensed under the liberal BSD license and is completely royalty free.
  • Technology that has been donated from Skype means very good quality at low bitrates.
  • Technology imported from past projects means superb, near lossless quality at higher bitrates.
Opus is very, very new but already the Internet standards body, the IETF, has approved the codec as a new de-facto standard for next generation internet browsers and devices. The Mozilla foundation, the lovely people behind the Firefox web browser, has also already implemented the codec into the latest beta version of the browser.

So, with all this in mind, we wanted to have a play! Because everything is very beta currently we had to get the gaffer tape out in order to get some streams going so please don't shout at us if it's a bit temperamental! Bear in mind you will be connecting to a beta version of a streaming server that is being fed from a beta encoder using a beta codec library. It's pretty darn BETA! (Have we said it's beta enough yet?)

Absolute Radio Labs managed to get it working and working pretty well if we do say ourselves. We believe this makes us the first radio station in the world to stream in opus, broadcasting 24/7 across its stations.

Currently the easiest way to listen is to download the latest Firefox and click on one of the streaming links below:

Absolute Radio (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Radio (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Radio (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute Radio 60s (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Radio 60s (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Radio 60s (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute Radio 70s (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Radio 70s (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Radio 70s (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute 80s (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute 80s (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute 80s (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute Radio 90s (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Radio 90s (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Radio 90s (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute Radio 00s (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Radio 00s (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Radio 00s (High Bitrate 96k)
Absolute Classic Rock (Low Bitrate 24k)
Absolute Classic Rock (Standard Bitrate 64k)
Absolute Classic Rock (High Bitrate 96k)

How do you think it compares to our low-bitrate AAC+/HE streams or our high bitrate MP3 and OGG streams? Let us know! Use our normal contact pages to get in touch.

Lossless Streaming Trial (OGG-FLAC)

We are currently broadcasting our services without compression using OGG-FLAC technology. This will no doubt be pleasing for all you audiophiles out there but do bear the following points in mind:

  • This is a trial - we don't guarantee it to be perfect!
  • Lossless streaming takes up a LOT of bandwidth. It averages 1 MBit/sec.
  • Broadband only!
  • If you have a heavily contended or just generally ropey broadband connection you will experience buffering
  • If your broadband connection has restrictions (such as download limits) bear this in mind. You may end up using all your allowance very quickly.

Using it

You can find the links to our OGG-FLAC streams on our 'Other Devices' listen page.

We recommend you download and use VLC. It's available for most platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Syllable, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, QNX) and supports OGG-FLAC streaming.

Download VLC

We would appreciate any feedback regarding performace or whether you find this useful. Use our normal contact pages.

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