What technology is required to use the KQED Live Radio stream?
The KQED Live Stream Flash player requires Adobe Flash version 9 or later. This player plug-in is available free from Adobe and is pre-installed in many web browsers (http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/). It is designed for and has been tested with the following platforms and browsers:
MacOS X 10.4 - 10.6
You may also listen to the stream by clicking the "listen via an audio player" link in the gray box near the top of this page, to open our stream in your default audio application. If clicking this link does not open your preferred program, you need to change your system's default player for MP3 files. To make this change, open the preferences or options window within your preferred player application (iTunes, Windows Media, WinAmp, etc.), then find and select the option to make it the default player for MP3 files.
Can I access the KQED Live Stream from my iPhone or iPad?
We have optimized the KQED Live Stream to ensure that it is still accessible by devices that do not support Flash such as the iPhone and the iPad. In these instances, the Live Stream player automatically provides an alternate HTML 5 version of the player.
What kind of hardware and software do I need to watch and listen online?
Hardware: You need a computer with a sound card and either speakers or headphones. Most computers sold within the last five years or advertised as "multimedia" have these.
Software: You'll need Flash for some of our audio content, such as our archival material. You may also need one of the following: iTunes, Real Player, Windows Media Player, QuickTime, WinAmp, or a variety of other players most of which are available for free and can be downloaded online.
To view video, you will need the Flash 8 Player or higher.
Download Flash (at adobe.com).
What is podcasting?
Podcasting is a way of "subscribing" to an audio or video program online. You use podcasting software that goes and gets the latest episode of a show automatically and downloads it to your computer. If it is audio, you can put the files on an mp3 player such as the Apple iPod and take your favorite programs with you wherever you go. If it is video, you can watch it on the newer iPods, take it with you on your laptop, or use one of the other portable video players such as the Sony PSP.
There are many podcast applications and Web sites out there. The most popular is:
iTunes (free software download required -- available for Windows and Mac)
How do I get a podcast feed?
You may find yourself on a Web site that you like and notice that they have a link to their podcast. Often it will be accompanied by an image that says "XML", "RSS" or "POD." These variations and acronyms can make the world of podcasting pretty confusing, but all that really matters is that you know this is a link to a "feed" of the program. A feed is a piece of code that is regularly updated by the creators of the program. Once this feed is in your podcasting software, the software will go and get the new episodes of the show automatically as they are made available.
Apple's iTunes has a very popular podcasting area and you can search it by program name or keywords. Also, if you have the latest version of iTunes already installed, you can subscribe to our video podcasts simply by clicking on the links on our podcasts page. It will take you into the show's page on iTunes and then you just need to hit the "subscribe" button.
However, if a program you want is not in one of these services, you can always add it. To copy a feed from a Web site, right-click the link or RSS button (on the Mac: hold down the control button and click) and you will be given a set of options. Depending on your Web browser, one of these should read something like "Copy shortcut" or "Copy link location." Choose that.
Now, depending on the podcast software you are using, go to the program and manually add the feed. In iTunes, go up to the menu that reads "Advanced" and choose "Subscribe to podcast." On Odeo, once you are logged in, you will find a green box on the lower right of each page that says "Add a feed."
To paste the feed, again right-click (control-click on the Mac) and choose "paste."
What are video podcasts?
Audio isn't the only thing that can be distributed via podcast feeds. Many pioneering content producers such as PBS are creating video podcasts which you can watch on the program's Web site, or subscribe to and watch inside iTunes.
To find these podcasts in iTunes, make sure you have the latest version of the free iTunes software, available for both Mac and Windows. Open iTunes, go into the iTunes Music Store (on the left side of the main iTunes window) and click on the left-hand link that reads "Podcasts." You can search iTunes podcasts for the term "PBS" or find PBS listed as a "Featured Provider" on the iTunes Podcast Directory page. There you will find podcasts of signature PBS series such as NewsHour, American Experience, and NOVA as well as KQED original productions Gallery Crawl and QUEST. You will also discover online-original audio podcasts, such as The Writer's Block.
Be aware that these media files, especially the video, can be quite large. If you subscribe to a lot of podcasts in an application like iTunes, your hard drive can fill up very quickly. If you have a smaller hard drive on your computer (for instance, a machine that is over five years old) be sure that you go through your podcast subscriptions fairly regularly and delete shows you have already heard/seen.
What does "live stream" mean?
The live stream is the online equivalent of the KQED Public Radio on-air broadcast. It is a live, continuous "stream" of digital audio that can be accessed online through the Internet. The live stream is simultaneous with the on-air broadcast and is mostly identical. (There are a few programs that we cannot stream online due to rights restrictions.)
I keep hearing all about the MP3 format. What do I need to listen to the MP3 stream?
MP3 is popular because it is a non-proprietary format that can be played with a whole host of different players. See above for the recommended list of players organized by platform.
I prefer to listen to the MP3 stream directly in my audio player, rather than via the "Play" button on your "Listen Live" page. How should I set up my software?
Click the "listen via an audio player" link on our Listen Live page to open our stream in your default audio application. If clicking this link does not open your preferred program, you need to change your system's default player for MP3 files. To make this change, open the preferences or options window within your preferred player application, then find and select the option to make it the default player for MP3 files.
What is the bit rate for your streams?
Bit rate is shorthand for "kilo bits per second" and it represents the amount of information, or detail, that is being streamed each second. The higher the bit rate, the more detail being provided, the higher the fidelity. Also, a higher bit rate requires a faster Internet connection in order to play them smoothly. As our radio programming is primarily talk (voices) we can squeak by with a lower fidelity (approximately 24-32kpbs) without compromising your listening experience (AM radio quality is 32kpbs). This also means the streams work on either dialup or broadband connections as well as wireless networks such as mobile phones and PDAs.
I can't hear anything -- what should I do?
1. Check to see if you have one of the required players (listed above) for
listening to our stream. We provide two ways to listen:
- a Flash or HTML5 player that plays directly on the page using the "Click to Play" button
- a link which you can launch in the media player of your choice (iTunes, Windows Media, WinAmp, etc.)
2. If after clicking on a live stream link you still can't hear anything, confirm your speakers are on and the volume is turned up.
3. If you are using a computer that is not connected to a firewall, read the help provided in your operating system concerning file type associations.
- To do this in Windows, go to Start > Help; click on the Search tab and type in "file type associations," click "List topics," select the relevant topic and read the advice provided.
- To do this in Mac OS, in the Finder, locate your web downloads folder (often the desktop), select the file "kqedradio.pls" or "kqedradio.m3u," and choose File > Get Info. In the Info window, click to show the "Open with" pane. Choose the application you want to use from the pop-up menu. If you want all documents that have the same file type as this one to open with the same application, click "Change All."
4. If all else fails, try reinstalling or upgrading the player (Windows Media, WinAmp, iTunes, etc.).
5. If you are listening at work, your company may have a firewall enabled to securely protect its internal data. Sometimes your company's proxy settings may be set in such a way that they prevent external streaming sources from occurring. If this is the case, please contact the IT department of your company.
I've changed my browser or have upgraded it, so why did the stream stop working?
Oftentimes when you change something major with your browser, you need to reconfigure it so it recognizes the plugins. Try reinstalling the media player software using your new browser so it may recognize the plugin.
Why does the stream sometimes stop for a while or stutter?
This may be due to Internet congestion, which can be more frequent at certain times of the day and can cause a queue in the audio signal. Current streaming technology makes best efforts not to lose this information and holds or 'buffers' it until the line is clear to receive further information. This is why there is sometimes a stuttering or delaying effect when receiving a stream.
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