ORANGE community station FM107.5, although run entirely by volunteers, is keeping up with the times.
With the internet seemingly taking over our lives with shopping, paying bills and reading books and newspapers, you can also listen to the radio by streaming.
It’s listening to music or watching a video in real time, instead of downloading a file to your computer and listening or watching it later.
For instance, if you listen to a radio station online you will stream the music, since you’re listening live and can’t download all the songs they play.
Instead your computer connects to the radio station and receives a continuing audio feed, or stream, with the radio station’s programming.
When you stream a file, you’ll be able to listen to it, but won’t have the file on your computer to do things with later.
Streaming is a relatively recent development because your broadband connection has to run fast enough to show the data in real time.
Files encoded for streaming are often highly compressed to use as little bandwidth as possible and if there’s an interruption due to congestion on the internet, the audio will drop out.
To minimise the problem, the PC stores a buffer of data that’s already been received and if there’s a drop-out, the buffer goes down for a while but the audio is not interrupted.
If there’s no more data in the buffer, it will usually stop and display ‘buffering’ while it catches up.
Streaming has become common thanks to the popularity of internet radio stations and various audio services, including Spotify and YouTube.
But you can now listen to Orange community station FM107.5 online.
If you want to join the internet listeners, go to myradiostream.com /1075 and everything you need will come up.
Most people know that downloading files uses up their bandwidth allowance, which may be capped at a fixed number of gigabytes a month.
But what they don’t know is how much bandwidth they use while streaming.
Listening to music can consume about 0.5-1.0 megabytes a minute.
It can be more or less, depending on the quality.
There’s free programs that will measure bandwidth use, including NetMeter, Codebox Software’s BitMeter II and FreeMeter Bandwidth Monitor For Windows.
Some firewalls and some internet service providers will also tell you the amount of data used.