Joggler Squeezeboxes (part iii)

After quite a lot more experimentation, I’ve completely failed to get seeking within iPlayers WMA-based “listen again” streams to work. Although I’ve yet to prove it definitively, it seems that the Squeezebox Server code doesn’t support seeking within such a stream – flagging my transcoding command line as being capable of seeking, and then using the GUI to attempt to actually seek in the stream doesn’t result in the Squeezebox Server passing the seek location to my transcoding command.

More research into WMA streaming seems to indicate that passing the seek command from a client to the server is not trivial on non-Windows platforms, and appears to be based on a collection of proprietary and less-than-well-documented dataflows.

So my (completely unsubstantiated) suspicion is that Squeezebox Server running on a non-Windows platform (like mine) doesn’t support seeking within WMA streams.

However, there is always another way. And in this case, it transpires that not only do the BBC stream their iPlayer radio streams as WMA, but also as AAC, which is a codec that is significantly better documented and supported on Linux. So by simply changing the preferences within the iPlayer plug-in it’s possible to switch to using the AAC streams, which are supported by both my Jogglers and my Classic player. Better yet, it’s possible to also seek within the “listen-again” versions of those streams. In short, it all now “just works”.

Although I’m now using AAC streams for iPlayer access, the work that I put into getting WMA streaming to work with the Jogglers hasn’t been wasted, as there are other Internet Radio stations out there that do only broadcast in WMA, and this transcoding solution allows me to access them too.

And finally, unlike the Jogglers build-in Internet Radio application, the Squeezeplay application buffers enough content (irrespective of codec) to completely avoid skipping and audio drop-outs. Perfect!

6 thoughts on “Joggler Squeezeboxes (part iii)

  1. Hi, Richard, great job!!!
    Are you going to test these methods with SBS built on joggler original OS? It’s only one step further.

    • I’d not intended to. Given I already have an existing always-on server with SBS on it, it doesn’t make much sense for me.

      However, these techniques should be directly transferable to SBS running on the original Joggler OS, as that (like my home server) is just linux. The Joggler is certainly powerful enough to do the transcoding – it’s actually more powerful than my home server.

      The only difficulty would be ensuring you got the pre-reqs right, as the Joggler doesn’t come with any kind of package management system. If you’re running the GForums P’n’P hack then it’s easy to add the SBS, but I assume you’d still need to add mplayer manually, along with any pre-reqs, which might take some effort. After that, it ought to be plain sailing.

  2. How do you change the iplayer settings to AAC on the Joggler? Mine appears to show BBC radio stations as playing, but no sound coming out. Other non BBC channels do work.

    • Go into the web interface for the Squeezebox Server. Select Settings. Select the Advanced tab, and then from the pull-down, select BBC iPlayer.

      On the resulting screen I simply deselected the “Prefer WMA streams” setting, and ensured that the “Use Flash AAC streams” was selected.

      Hope that helps.

      • tried this and it still doesn’t want to work. A lot of other stations work, but BBC live or BBC listen again both appear to work, but no sound comes out. the show name etc scrolls happily. Any ideas on why this won’t work?

  3. Pingback: Joggler Squeezeboxes (part iv) « Richard's Blog

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