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Radio 3 cuts Real Audio quality for international listeners

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:47 pm
by Ken Josenhans
UK listeners, and non-audiophiles, can skip this.

This week Radio 3 cut the bit rate on the international Real Audio streams from a good-sounding 64K down to 44K.

I have been in correspondence with Radio 3 interactive. They confirm this was an intentional move and they try to nudge me to using Windows Media. Only problem is, the Windows Media streams either (1) aren't available, or (2) aren't working.

I hope this is chaos due to the middle of an upgrade. My read on it is that the BBC is trying to push people towards Windows Media (blah) but that product isn't ready yet.

In the meantime, this brings a (temporary?) end to a glorious era of improved Radio 3 sound quality, which ran roughly July-Dec. 2008. Sound quality is now back to where it was a couple of years ago. Boo. :(

Charlie, as I mentioned I have been in a dialog with R3 Interactive using the e-mail addresses you furnished earlier, so there is no need for you to forward this to the Radio 3 techies.

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I wish there was some mechanism where I could pay an amount equal to the BBC license fee and get access to the podcasts and high quality MP3 streams.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:33 pm
by RussellC
I am not technical enough to know why the bit rate was reduced but can't believe there was a financial saving for the BBC.

The BBC may be wanting to reduce the number of grounds those opposed to the licence fee/PSB principle can criticise them. But the option to pay the equivalent of the licence fee for overseas web-users is interesting. The current licence fee is UKP £139.50 for all BBC broadcast services. The radio element of the fee would have to be hypothecated nowadays as it is assumed to be 'free' within the TV licence fee. Last time they stated an amount I think it was UKP1.50 - so it would be a bit of bargain.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:25 pm
by Ken Josenhans
I suspect the real problem with allowing us colonials, even those willing to pay a full TV-and-everything licence fee, full access to the BBC, is the issue of territorial rights licensing. I kind of doubt that one will ever get resolved...

Today on a whim I punched up Radio 3 and I see the streams are back to their old 64K quality. *That* was unexpected. I don't know if this is a reversal of policy or just a short term holiday present. (I remember one time a few years back when the BBC raised the stream quality for the Queen's Jubilee and, when the festivities were over, set it back down again. So there's precedent for a short term quality boost.)

(Or a mistake... maybe I'll keep my mouth shut on this one...)