Internet Radio

Whilst I was at Cardiff University last year, one of the only things that kept me sane whilst I sat in the computer room finishing of assignments was the good quality Welsh radio stations such as Galaxy and Red Dragon which I’d listen to constantly to keep me amused as well as a selection of songs stored on my laptop.

Now that I’m back in Paignton I miss these radio stations and so was pleasantly surprised when, upon visiting their respective websites I discovered that they offer the ability for you to tune in via the Internet to listen in live.Listening to the radio online is one area that I can see excelling when high speed Internet access becomes more widespread; rather than just listening to the limited number of channels in your local area you could tune in to a station based in New York and listen to their selection of music free of charge.

Just to give you an example, head towards www.reddragonfm.co.uk and click on the ‘Listen Live’ link at the top right of the page.This will launch a small window and after around 30 seconds of loading you’ll be able to hear the music several thousand Welsh residents are listening to now live.This requires no additional software and is just one method of listening to music across the Internet – It’s just a case of going to a search engine such as Google (www.google.co.uk), typing in the name of the station whose website you want to visit and then looking for a link on their page to allow you to listen live – even our very own Gemini FM (www.koko.com) offers this facility.

The other method of searching for radio stations across the Internet is to use a dedicated player such as Windows Media Player.The latest versions of Windows Media Player give you the ability of search for particular genres of music across the Internet and to locate radio stations based in a particular country or county.Unless you’re using Windows XP I’d recommend that you upgrade to the latest version of Windows Media Player first by going to the website www.microsoft.com/mediaplayer in order to benefit from the additional features relating to Internet Radio Stations.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed the updated program just click on the ‘Radio Tuner’ button – this will allow you to search for and select radio stations to listen to.Typically, after discovering a radio station you’d like to listen to, just double click on it, wait around 30 seconds or so whilst Media Player creates a buffer of the music to be player to avoid it skipping if your Internet connection slows down for whatever reason and then the music will begin to play through your computer as if you were listening to a conventional radio.

In terms of sound quality, most Internet radio stations sound quite poor over a 56k modem connection as the sound data has to be very heavily compressed to allow you to download the music at the same speed that you need to listen to it at.If you have a faster connection such as ISDN, cable or ASDL then the is usually the option to download the music at a higher quality.If you’re on a slow connection then it is usually best to avoid using the Internet for any other purposes whilst listing to the radio as this will mean that there is less capacity for the sound data to be transmitted down your phone line meaning that the music may start to break up.

Give it a try, search for radio stations local to the town you were born in, those in a city that you’d like to visit or even just use it for listening to Gemini if you don’t happen to have a radio in the same room as your PC.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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