Merry Christmas RadioProgramming notes, requests, dedications and all other conversation related to Merry Christmas Radio -- click here to listen to our stream of year round Christmas programming. MCR is completely user driven by our forum members and is led by our notorious music fanatic, JayIsh and his growing staff of radio, music and audio merrymakers.
I had a chance to turn it on for a couple hours yesterday, roughly between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. ET. I loved what I heard and the clarity was great, but I had technical difficulties. (On an iMac running Snow Leopard on an Ethernet connection on DSL.)
I tried a couple different links and got spotty results. The WinAmp link would open in iTunes and play beautifully, and the connection was great for a little less than an hour. Then it would frequently stop with the error message of "Rebuffering stream." Some of the time it would come back on its own after a short pause, other times I had to stop it and restart it, only to get the "Rebuffering stream" again a little later. I was working with some home financial software at the time, but even when I closed that later I was getting dropped frequently. iTunes doesn't let you adjust the size of the buffer anymore, so I couldn't try that for a fix.
I also tried clicking the QuickTime link and opening it with QuickTime, and the results were odd: The "You're listening to Merry Christmas Radio" was fine, but once the music started, it was garbled, similar to when you fast-forward through a CD.
Doesn't seem like anybody else is having these problems, so I guess it must be something in my system.
(Edited to add: Intended as feedback, not complaints!)
Part of the reason for looking for something beyond Live365 was the issues we suffer with streaming there. When I listen to Live365 I frequently get dropped or suffer buffering issues like what you describe. I have been playing with different server hosts since February trying to figure this out.
The first host I had I couldn't even upload music to. The second one I tested for more than a month and it worked, I figured, about half the time. Since I was the only one listening to the stream I figured that wasn't worth it. Then, I found a third host, a company that actually serves a couple of our websites, who was selling dedicated server space. I decided to give them a try because when i have issues I have confidence in the people I'm talking to.
So for a full month before I told you all about the stream I've been listening to it. And it hasn't been perfect but it has been very good.
In talking with the server guys they tell me there are a lot of issues that go into stream audio and video. And a lot has to fall into place for flawless delivery. It is usually, I am told, not the end user's system that causes problems but the delivery route. Because it is a "stream" it has to be constant and because the data is so large in music and video interrupts are more likely than just serving a web page.
Usually, he said, it is an ISP problem on the user end that causes the bottle neck.
All that being said, you should also know that I get emails from the server every time it goes down or suffers a problem. There were issues on Saturday night. At one point we hit 21 listeners and that's when the emails started. The server actually shut down for a while. I haven't sorted it all out yet, so I don't know what this means for us in ways of adjustment, if any. But in the spirit of full disclosure I offer it because the issues you suffered might not have been on your side last night.
As I said before, this is a test. Last night notwithstanding, I'm pretty pleased with how it is working. The sound quality is head and shoulders beyond Live 365. But the real proof in the pudding comes down the road as we add more and more listeners to the stream. We'll just have to see what happens.