So I’ve had the opportunity to try out a few free streaming radio sites, and I must say out of the few I’ve tried AOL Radio and 1.FM are two of the best.

 Advantages to AOL Radio

  • Works both in Internet Explorer and FireFox
  • Tons of Radio Stations
  • Has XM satellite radio channels

Disadvantages to AOL Radio

  • You need to install a plug-in/active x control
  • Not compatible with mobile devices
  • Not always anything good playing

Advantages to 1.FM

  • Works in Windows Media Player
  • Works on Smart Phones
  • Normally good music
  • Has 32K and 128K stations for Dial up and High Speed Internet

Disadvantages to 1.FM

  • You need a player that’s compatible with ASX (Media Player streams)
  • Not a lot of channels

At the moment I’ve switched from AOL Radio to 1.FM as I can use it in Media Player and unlike AOL Radio, it’s not blocked at my University.

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Streaming for mobile devices

Streaming to mobile devices is practically the “new thing” these days. Everyone wants access to all their favorite media on their mobile device so they can view it on the go and share it with the world (not like it isn’t already accessible throughout the world already).

I too desire the ability to stream music on my mobile device considering I have an unlimited High Speed EVDO data plan, I mean what else would I use it for? Unfortunately for me I’m on one of the most unreliable CDMA networks (not of my own choice) here in Manitoba. The sad realization of this came to my just this morning around 3am as I finally created my own RTSP server to try to stream music to my phone.

Let me give some reasoning as to how I came to the conclusion that it’s my network. Previously I’ve attempted to try to stream other content from major providers such as Youtube to my phone with no success. Normally the media player opens, looks like it’s about to load the video and then does nothing. Now the provider I’m with says that they’re aware of the problem with Youtube (yet deny problems with everyone else). So I wrote off the problem is my cell provider’s retarded-ness. However as time went on and I tried using other Java streaming programs and websites, I found that none of them worked (wtf?). So I ran a few traces to my phone from home, work, and the university to find that the last two hops to the phone were > 400 ms! Sounds stable enough to stream using UDP right? Not.

Now as I was unfamiliar with streaming media to phones, I wrote that off as “normal” and that perhaps the Java applications weren’t working because of a problem with the phone. So I decided that I would try to rule out any Java problems or Youtube problems by creating my own 3GPP streaming server using one of my two 10Mbps connections. After hours of hard work I finally was able to get the streaming server up and working (streaming from computer to computer), yet when I tried streaming to my phone it ended up doing the same thing it did with Youtube (nothing essentially).

That was the 2nd last piece of proof I needed to show that my cell provider’s network sucks. The last proof was a comparative trace to several Rogers (GSM) phones from work.

And guess what? The highest latency out of the phones I tested on Rogers network was around 50-60 ms. Wow… 60ms VS 400ms, I wonder which I would be able to stream content with?