What is the best streaming software?

Talk about Audio On Demand or Streaming
Post Reply
rafael
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:18 am

What is the best streaming software?

Post by rafael » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:35 am

I need to install a web radio for a very small church.
For that I need to know the best software for this project.

This radio need to run random musics 24/7, but also has to have an intervention feature to allow operators to sing, speech and other things.

I know Airtime, Shoutcast and Icecast, Steamcast work for this purpose.
What I don't understand well is the dependency between them.
For example, Airtime is built based on Icecast. This makes Icecast the core and Airtime the administration panel?
Other example: after installing Shoutcast I use Winamp to connect to it and play songs; again, is Shoutcast the core and winamp the bridge to send musics to be broadcasted?
If so, what is the best combination of softwares to use?
Show me examples, please.

User avatar
Jay
Will work for food (Administrator)
Posts: 2816
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2002 12:48 am
Location: Next Door
Contact:

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by Jay » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:10 am

There are 3 main components that make a radio station or any broadcast over the internet work.

1) Source: This is responsible for organizing your content and DJ or presenters will schedule audio clips using this tool (In your list of software this would be what Winamp or Airtime does)
2) Server: This tool's main responsibility is distributing the audio sent from the source to the many different listeners throughout the web. (In your list of software this would be what SHOUTcast, Steamcast and Icecast do)
3) Client: This is what is actually responsible for tuning into a server and presenting the media to the listener. This could be an mp3 player like winamp but also VLC, Foobar, or a web browser such as Chrome or Firefox.

As far as what is the best to use, that depends on your goals as a broadcaster, what OS's you are familiar with. How you want to best manage your station and it's listeners, run analytics and handle legal reporting.
- Jay

rafael
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:18 am

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by rafael » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:02 pm

Thank you, Jay, for the objective answer.

I'm not much familiar with any of these streaming servers.
I'll use a dedicated server running some Linux OS (Ubuntu 14, CentOs 7 etc.) to broadcast musics 24/7.

I'm looking for a software with the following characteristics:
1- SUPPORT
I don't intend to underestimate Steamcast, but Icecast and Shoutcast seems to be more widely known. That makes the community and support for it larger and easier to get.
That said I'm looking for a software that has good support and is used widely - because, usually, the more people that use it, the more come out of it.

2- MULTIPLE-STREAMINGS
It has the ability to create new streaming servers (stations?) as needed.

3- FRIENDLY UI &/or ADMINISTRATION PANEL
Administration panel where playlists can be set up, interventions can be started and other administrative tasks.
Ie.: create a new streaming server (streaming B) that will broadcast different musics than the first streaming (streaming A).
Setup playlists to be played on radio station A.

Basically that is what I'm looking for.
What do you think is better for this purpose, Jay?

User avatar
Jay
Will work for food (Administrator)
Posts: 2816
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2002 12:48 am
Location: Next Door
Contact:

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by Jay » Wed Jan 06, 2016 4:43 pm

Well being unfamiliar with the streaming solutions you can really choose any of the options. Today there is very little to differentiate them and quite honestly with what you want to do with it, it doesn't seem that any of them or better than the other. That said, support is a factor to consider. None of them offer any commercial level of support since they are free. However both Icecast and SHOUTcast have thriving communities and helpful people to get you going.

(Mandatory sales pitch train coming)
In terms of capability they are all capable of what you need. I will state, and I realize that I am not the most objective source on this, but Icecast and SHOUTcast aren't user friendly to me. That's why Steamcast exists though. I love SHOUTcast, it's what got me into internet radio so many years ago but both Icecast and SHOUTcast have very huge fundamental flaws and that has to do with how they are configured and managed. Our goal with Steamcast is to make configuring easy and as unobtrusive to you and your listeners as possible. Adding stations and additional streams will be easy and not require any restarting or special signaling. Once the change is saved, it's configured and all this can be done in the web panel.

Not only that but our first priority is browser based playback. You can see it in action already at http://www.steamcast.com

Frankly the reason why these systems are so behind is due to lack of investment from the community. No one pays for these software packages so they are dis-incentivized to be better. Steamcast is largely in the same boat, I don't make a dime on Steamcast so development has never been consistent. I am working on balancing things to make that better but I am not going to make promises I can't keep. We just released 1.0,2 on the 30th and it's as stable as I have ever seen it though and it will run on either Ubuntu or CentOS.

(Back to being objective)
Where Steamcast is weakest is we aren't done improving it. There are still some quirky things about how things work that just aren't as user friendly as we want them to be. Our user base is nascent. Steamcast is more of a curiosity to broadcasters and always has been. So tool support is lowest but we attempt to work around this by implementing expected features from Icecast and SHOUTcast. We are basically in the chicken and egg problem. (Without much of a user base there is no reason to worry about third party tools supporting Steamcast, without direct third party tool support broadcasters don't feel the most comfortable using Steamcast.

I highly recommend SHOUTcast as my second choice. But it has some quirks as well. It takes a bit of effort to make it work seamlessly in a browser. Careful thought must go into what your end user experience will be from the ground up. Special scripting must be built to make things work right and to make your stream seem professional to the end user.

Icecast 2 main branch is quite frankly terribly poor. This has to do with their priorities. However many people have been using Karl's builds over at https://karlheyes.github.io/ I would choose his fork any day over the official Icecast builds. Not only do they perform better than Icecast2 they support many of the features that make it easier to integrate your stream into a web player.

On to your final requirement Airtime seems to be perfectly suited to meet those needs however I have no personal experience with this project. You can also check out SAM CLOUD which is a hosted broadcast solution by Spacial Audio (I work for Spacial Audio so again maybe not the most objective recommendation, but you should check it out at least.) http://spacial.com/what-we-do-features/ It's turn key so you don't have to install anything to get it working and is specifically built to allow multiple DJ logins and complete hosted station automation solution.
- Jay

coloradofree
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:44 pm
Location: Southern Rockies
Contact:

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by coloradofree » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:40 am

Simple answer is if you want to run your own server I had great luck with Sam3 and 4 back in the day I used it for some time when I ran my own servers. Unfortunately in my area there is a lot of lightning and I just got tired of losing routers and babysitting my servers during the stormy season so I moved ever thing to online providers. In that case Centovacast is nice but a bit complicated but it beats out anything else I've used this is course if your using shoutcast as the root, I've never used Icecast.
Image

mrkrotos
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:42 pm

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by mrkrotos » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:11 am

Okay I can add to this as I have used all of the above and created my own home brew stations.
Airtime is a great product but... the free version (community) hasnt had any support for ages as the team are focused on the paid for version "Airtime Pro".
Airtime is actually built on top of LiquidSoap, if you know some coding you can use LiquidSoap to run things.
I run our current rig on Debian using Airtime (but both versions are out of date as the current Airtime (Free) wont install.
You could pay for the Airtime Pro and push the audio from that out to shoutcast or icecast servers.

NYEngineer
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:02 pm

Re: What is the best streaming software?

Post by NYEngineer » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:25 pm

I have three components for my web radio stations. One I have a computer that stores all of the music and runs RadioBoss. That is the automation software that runs the playlist. ZaraRadio which is free will do the same thing basically minus a few things that RadioBoss does. The second thing is a stream encoder. I use Radiocaster. This sends the "signal" if you will to the server. For a server I presently use Shoutcast on a virtual private server where I can send the stream out to thousands of listeners. You could do this on a cable internet connection, but do not expect to be able to reach out to alot of people. Besides, some ISP's frown on you running servers on your connection.

I currently have a service up and running hosting two licensed radio stations and a few internet radio stations....FMI to get an idea..(www.midatlanticengineeringservice.com/s ... rvice.html)
You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want as far as the setup goes. I have a mic, mic processor, audio console, RadioBoss with the audio processing plug ins, feeding another machine with Radiocaster and audio processing plug ins to a shoutcast server...fairly elaborate. Others can be as simple as a playlist loaded into Winamp and a plug in for a shoutcast server. It all depends on what you are wanting to do.

Post Reply