Friday, 27 March 2015

Definition: Stream reliability

The reliability of a streamed signal can be influenced by several variables. On the listeners' end, there's speed and consistency of Internet access and type and age of hardware and software. The studio confronts those issues as well, and also more esoteric matters of format and compression. To determine which end a problem is on, try streaming several different stations at comparable bit rate and format. If many rebuffer constantly or present other problems, the issue is on your end. If it's just one station, chances are good they've changed something in their delivery routine, or are experiencing some kind of technical failure. Locating a more recent stream URL, or just waiting a day or two, may resolve the problem; if not, a message to the webmaster, engineer, or station manager is in order.

NRB rates stream reliability as follows:
  • Stream is rock-steady on our technology, seldom dropping out, skipping, rebuffering, or garbling.
    NRB stream reliability rating: Excellent
  • Stream is usually stable, but drops out occasionally or has minor or intermittent signal quality issues.
    NRB stream reliability rating: Good
  • Stream has significant sound quality issues or is susceptible to rebuffering or drop-out; scan-capable software frequently skips to other stations when streaming this station. Stream may go entirely dead or uncopyable, but a message to the station typically restores it to former reliability or better.
    NRB stream reliability rating: Fair
  • Stream is highly unreliable, susceptible to drop at any minute, or outright disappear for long periods. Station doesn't answer or act on listener feedback; it may publish no contact information.
    NRB stream reliability rating: Poor

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