Saturday, December 10, 2011

Play KROQ on your Android

Wow, this took me a while. I think I spent about 3 hours total on how to get this to work properly.

The most obvious solution would be to look up KROQ a radio app, like TuneIn Radio on the Android Market and you will see that it says it is restricted by the content owner. Which wasn't a shocker. So I assumed that whoever owns the content, CBS, probably provides their own apps. So back on the android market, I google KROQ and find 2 apps. and Yahoo Music Radio. Long story short, it seems like KROQ's stream has some DRM on them. And the and Yahoo Music Radio doesn't know how to decode them! Ha! Pretty hilarious! It just plays garbled music. On top of that, even if it one day is updated so that it knew how to decode it's own stream, it would play it at very low quality. Worse than AM quality. In a nutshell, it is just fail after fail on all levels. Go to these apps, and you just see 1 star review after another. Don't they want people to listen to their station? I don't get it.

A quick solution is to go to on your android browser, and then it will play a nice high quality stream. The player on the page is flash based, but it is no problem for Android devices. The problem is when the phone's screen turns off, your browser goes to sleep. A wasteful solution is to make sure the browser keep the phone awake. Unfortunately, the screen is the most power hungry thing on your android. A tough price to pay for listening to radio. And even if you can plug yourself in to a power source, keeping your AMOLED screen on when you really don't need it is basically wasting the life of the beautiful screen. You wan't your screen to keep nice and bright for 2+ years right?

I was able to find a low quality stream on a forum. But how can I play it? The best solution was to find something like a shoutcast client that keeps the audio stream open when the phone goes to sleep. I found an app called XiiaLive Lite. There wasn't an obvious place to put my own streams in at first. Searching for KROQ didn't yield any results. But the feature is there under favorites. Now that I had KROQ playing on my phone with the screen turned off, I was still disappointed with the quality. Just finding this one low quality stream was no easy task and took quite a while to dig through google. But the interesting thing was the low quality stream link pointed to something called streamtheworld. That sounded interesting. I googled "streamtheworld kroq", and jackpot.

Just add this to XiiaLive:

Looking at the stream information, it looked like it is going to be a very reliable source as well as there are about 20 backup streams that it can failover to. Now I have a high quality audio stream of KROQ playing on the android device when the screen is asleep. I imagine that streamtheworld tries to offer streams of any radio station. Now all this could be avoided if the app worked the first time, and it allowed high quality streams. Hopefully that will be an option in the future. A note about WINAMP player that also plays shoutcast streams. It probably will not play the stream above because the WINAMP player is not capable at the moment to play high quality AAC streams.

For some reason, when I kill the app, then go back, it won't start up the AAC stream above. If I play the low quality stream first:
Then switch to the high quality stream:
Then it starts playing the HD stream again. Strange. Best to have both of these favorites in there in XiiaLive.

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